“Happy Birthday” is a 1981 single written, produced, and performed by Stevie Wonder for the Motown label. Stevie Wonder, a social activist, was one of the main figures in the campaign to have the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. become a national holiday, and created the single to make the cause known.
The song features Wonder lamenting the fact that anyone would oppose the idea of a Dr. King holiday, where “peace is celebrated throughout the world” and singing to King in the chorus, “Happy birthday to you”. The holiday, he proposed, would facilitate the realisation of Dr. King’s dreams of integration and “love and unity for all of God’s children”.
Wonder used the song to popularise the campaign, and continued his fight for the holiday, holding the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981. United States President Ronald Reagan approved the creation of the holiday, signing it into existence on November 2, 1983. The first official Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, held the third Monday in January of each year, was held on January 20, 1986, and was commemorated with a large-scale concert, where Stevie Wonder was the headlining performer…
Is it an irony or coincidence that Stevie Wonder’s song “Happy Birthday”, suggests there should be a Martin Luther King day celebrated in the USA (and worldwide), yet the significance and origin of the song is completely lost as it’s played at infants’ birthday parties? As the Euro celebrated its first ‘milestone’ birthday yesterday, the tenth anniversary on Jan 1st, there were no decade celebrations to be seen or heard, there was no tribute song, no fireworks just an ’embarrassed’ silence and shuffling of feet with naval gazing being the preferred party trick amongst many of Europe’s elite politicians.
The euro doesn’t have a personality, isn’t the force of nature that Dr. King was, but surely the continued; peace, prosperity, social cohesion and overall unity heightened by the shared currency’s introduction within the continent should be a cause for celebration as relevant as Dr King’s achievements? Above and beyond the growing pains currently experiencing can any economist or market commentator credibly argue that the Euro hasn’t been anything other than a tremendous success?
The current practice and vogue in media outlets, of overlooking or dismissing out of hand the massive feat of fiscal and monetary engineering involved to launch such a massive project, should be ignored. Instead ‘fully inclusive’ Europeans should fix their mindset on how, despite the furore during 2011, the Euro as a shared nation currency hardly budged in value vis a vis it’s major peers. The Bloomberg weighted correlation index has the currency down 3% vis a vis it’s major peers in 2011.
The Euro has been as low as 83.52 versus the dollar in 2001 and as high as 160.38 in 2008, at 129.50 today it sits fairly close to the median level/range experienced since 2001. Despite all the hype and all the hysterical attacks from an ill informed, ignorant and compliant media, the currency and the union has withstood the barrage. Could the only way be up in 2012, despite the ‘malice aforethought’ of the currency’s opponents will the zone and currency stage a fightback?
It would be ridiculous to suggest that the continent will suddenly undergo a renaissance, another ‘economic boom’. Indeed most economists recognise that even a modest recovery can only be engineered by the ECB finally becoming the banker of last reserve and creating a fresh huge pool of liquidity to allow socially unless banks to cool in. However, the zone and currency can survive and continue to thrive despite the long drawn out period of economic stagnation Ms Merkel predicts, which is surely the lesser of two evils versus huge rounds of quantitative easing which many economic hawks are clamouring for?
As European leaders took it upon themselves to broadcast New Year messages perhaps the best New Year ‘message’ came not from a political leader, but from European Central Bank policymaker Christian Noyer who predicts that the euro could eventually become the world’s leading currency in the next decade if leaders of the single-currency bloc succeed in tightening fiscal integration. European Central Bank policymaker Christian Noyer, who is also governor of the Bank of France, said in an article published in the Journal du Dimanche. Noyer to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of the euro on January 1;
If we implement all the decisions taken at the Brussels summit we will emerge stronger. In 10 years, maybe the euro will be the world’s number one currency. It has protected purchasing power, improved trade and competitiveness and made workers increasingly mobile. In the past decade, the euro had become the world’s second reserve currency after the dollar, and the only eurosceptics were outside the monetary union.