When I was a boy many people did not have television, so most children, (if they could coax the price of admission from their parents) would attend the cinema on Saturday afternoons.
There was usually a newsreel, which no child had any interest in, then a cartoon, which was followed by a “Preview of Coming Attractions,” then the main feature would be shown.
The Preview was of great interest to us, as it allowed us to find out what would be coming to our cinema in the coming weeks. We could then plan to attend whenever a good film would be playing.
As we all observe the Great Unravelling, the slow slide into the second half of the storm that some of us regard as the Greater Depression, an increasing number of people, particularly in Europe and the US, are asking how this will all play out. Only a few years ago, those who were considering internationalising would seek (a) an understanding of what was happening to their country and why, and (b) information as to where they could go to escape if the need arose. As we approach the more severe events of the Great Unravelling, those who are new to the discussion are proving much more anxious in this regard than their counterparts of only a year or two before.
Increasingly, they are also asking a third question, “How will I know when it is time to get out?” The answer to this is readily available, but it will take a little dedication to observation of events, plus some objective assessment to reach an objective conclusion for you, personally. (For each person it will be different.)
Begin Planning Now
The very first point of advice would be that internationalisation generally does not occur all at once. It may begin with the creation of an overseas bank account. Or it may begin with an application for residency in another country, or the creation of overseas-based income. Regardless of what your personal starting point is, it is already late in the game and the time to begin, if you have not already done so is, emphatically, now.
If you live in one of the affected (you might even say, infected) countries and you believe that your country is tumbling downhill at an increasing rate, it would be essential to plant your flags as soon as you can possibly do so. If you do, then you will not find that you have begun the process too late and be caught inside the system, should the exit door suddenly slam shut.
As to the question “How will I know when it is time to get out?” we return to the Preview of Coming Attractions. Unless you are presently living in Greece, you will have a series of warnings as to what is coming your way. Greece appears likely to be the first domino to topple. Which domino will be next? That is still unclear. The country with the greatest debt? The country with the greatest unemployment? We must wait and see; however, at present we can use Greece as a bellwether, and, as events play out, we can assess the rough order in which they occur and imagine when, if we were living there, we would choose to exit.
As an example, recently, Eleni Spanopoulou, 58, the leader of the Greek journalists' social security fund, addressed her members at a public meeting. The subject was what could be done about the losses on their retirement savings, as a result of Greece’s economic collapse. She suggested that members may wish to help to save themselves by doubling their contributions to six percent of their salaries.
The mood at the hotel meeting room was heated, but, as Ms Spanopoulou completed her address, she received, first, verbal abuse, then physical violence, punching and kicking her and tearing at her clothing. She was gotten clear by a body guard, but was again attacked outside the hotel. She was then taken to hospital.
As we sit back and observe this occurrence from our position of relative safety, it is easy to retain objectivity and think of the similarity between this incident and the early stages of, say, the French Revolution. We might even reflect further and compare the increasingly frequent riots in Greece to those of the French historical event. In doing so, it is easy to say to ourselves that, whilst Greece has not reached the point at which the heads have begun to roll, nor has a Robespierre arisen yet from the crowd, the Spanopoulou incident is a harbinger of things to come.
If we are to view such events as Previews of Coming Attractions, we would see there will come an incident in Greece that will cause us to say, “I would have gotten out before that happened.” If we were to take that thinking one step further, we would also ask ourselves, “Well then, at what point would I have exited?”
It is at this point that we objectify what our own plan would be. If we are to exit our own country at some point when the events in our own country mirrored those that have developed in Greece, then we should plan accordingly. If we decide that an event such as the Spamopoulou incident defines an escalation to the mania stage – a point of no return - then we should plan our exit accordingly. If we decide that an even later development, say, the killing of a leader should be the trigger to cause our exit, then we should plan accordingly.
No one can tell the reader what his personal breaking point should be, or even if he should decide upon a breaking point. However, if the reader does believe himself to be at risk and thinks it likely that at some point he may need internationalisation, he would be well-advised to prepare for it now, and to define a breaking point.
History evidences that it is perennial for any people of any country, in any era, to watch as events worsen and keep hoping that they have seen the worst, so they can avoid the decision to make a move. History also evidences that, whenever there has been an economic and political trend as significant as the one we now find ourselves in, it invariably ends badly.
Rather than hope for a reliable timeline, we might rely on an “event-line” of sorts. We would define the point at which Greece becomes unliveable by our own definition, then back up to a particular event (or events) that we then define as our personal red flag. Then, should we see that flag re-occur in our own country, we would complete the process of our already-prepared internationalisation.
If this makes sense to the reader, a simple way to begin the process would be to look up the timeline of the French Revolution (or any number of similar historical crises) and examine the events as they occurred. Pick the event that most resembles the present condition, then move down the list to the event that would be beyond the pale for you personally, then back up and choose the ”trigger” event that you would use to finalise your own move, to assure that you had not waited until events were too serious to allow an exit.
If the above is done, the question “How will I know when it is time to get out?” will be eliminated. The answer will have been resolved, unemotionally, in advance, and, should the “Coming Attractions” arrive in our own country, we will know what to do and, more importantly, will already have planted the necessary flags to allow us to expedite our plan.