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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

US decline + Tea Party gatherings « Previous | |Next »
September 7, 2010

China’s astounding economic development of the last generation poses a huge problem for American hegemony. Giovanni Arrighi in his Adam Smith in Beijing argued that the outcome is clear: the American Century of global dominance is in terminal crisis. China is bound to resume its historic place as the eastern pole of (economic) civilization and America’s day in the sun is sure to be eclipsed, both by virtue of China’s deep well of human and cultural resources and by the geographic logic of historical capitalism.

One symptom of this decline is the effect of the financial crisis in the US on the economy---a recession and a a jobs crisis. And so we have the political backlash:


The bottom has fallen out of the economy, Americans have continued to lose their jobs and houses in droves and they face declining job security and dwindling earnings. There a public mood of fear that feeds into, and reorders, the culture war so that it becomes about the role of government and the very meaning of America.

Paul Krugman opens his 1938 in 2010 with this account:

Here’s the situation: The U.S. economy has been crippled by a financial crisis. The president’s policies have limited the damage, but they were too cautious, and unemployment remains disastrously high. More action is clearly needed. Yet the public has soured on government activism, and seems poised to deal Democrats a severe defeat in the midterm elections.

Obama's stimulus program was too small and too short-lived. The stimulus raised growth while it lasted, but it made only a small dent in unemployment — and now it’s fading out. Krugman says that it’s slightly sickening to realize that the big winners in the midterm elections are likely to be the very people who first got us into this mess, then did everything in their power to block action to get us out.

Krugman points out that austerity is self-defeating: when everyone tries to pay down debt at the same time, the result is depression and deflation, and debt problems grow even worse. Added to that is the hollowing out of the middle class. Consumers no longer have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services they produce as workers.

The traditional response, acquiring more education to respond to a world with more technology, is being undercut by more debt-fueled education to prepare Americans for millions of jobs that only require moderate on-the-job training. These are low wage jobs.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:53 AM | | Comments (2)


Is it just me, or is the US looking more and more like Weimar?

things look grim. Nobody is saying that dictatorship is what is required to get through the crisis.