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Re: <nettime> Is the US declining too fast?
Felix Stalder on Thu, 18 Sep 2008 05:40:08 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Is the US declining too fast?


Keith Hart wrote: 

> My bet is that the US economy has the best chance of recovering
> storngly from this crisis. That was the conclusion of the OECD only last
> week when they revised their growth forecast for the US. And before the
> latest dip, the dollar improved dramatically against the euro.

I think the mid-term implications are really severe. George Soros called it 
the end of a 60 year cycle of credit expansion and it comes on top of 
giant fiscal and trade deficit, two wars running with no end in sight and 
a deep neglect in public infrastructure. Now, by taking on massive amounts 
of debt, the federal government will further reduce the resources which it 
could use to get things on track. 


> I recommend the Times' economics writer, Anatole Kaletsky, whose latest
> effort in the wake of the Lehman Bros crisis today is fairly typical of
> his line:
>
> http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/anatole_kaletsky/art
>icle4753649.ece

I can recommend a series of TV interviews conducted recently, which go into 
great detail about a) how deep this is and b) how it connect to the real 
economy. The idea that this is just restructuring funny money is not 
adequate, they argue and I think they are right. 

http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2008/9/8/1/a-discussion-about-the-
takeover-of-fanny-mae-and-freddie-mac

http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2008/09/15/1/a-discussion-about-the-
crisis-on-wall-street

Furthermore, the international institutions which embodied the values of 
the US -- the UN, the Worldbank/IMF -- have been severely weakened, while 
new ones built expressively as alternatives to the US-dominated one, such 
as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Leonard in "What does China 
think?" explains the SCO very clearly as an element of an international 
political framework that does not include the US, or, if does, not on it's 
own term.  

Now, I'm no fan of US dominance of the international scene, but the idea 
that the international institutional framework get replaced by one shaped, 
from the its inceptions, by the Chinese and the Russian government, it no 
reason to be optimistic. 


> In Europe, Britain, Ireland and Spain have been going the same way as
> the US but with a time lag; and the Eurozone in general has not yet felt
> the full brunt of the crisis. The euro has not had to survive a massive
> downturn before and, when it does, the institutional rigidity of the
> single currency and the political paralysis of EU institutions will
> constitute severe handicaps.

You are right, the fact that the US is in deep crisis does not 
implicate that the EU is any better of. Europe has been riding on the coat 
tails of the US since WWII, but the EU is hardly capable of acting and this 
is likely to get worse, rather than better.

> On the triviality of the coverage of the US election, try this
> two-minute video by Michael Tomasky:
>
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/michaeltomasky/video/2008/sep/11/uselec
>tions2008.usa
>
> Here he argues that the two sides are not just in a war between forces
> for change and the forces of reaction, but that their political methods
> are similarly placed between the old and the new society: one trying to
> manipulate the TV news, the other trying to mobilise from the ground up.
> The announcement that Obama raised $66 millions in August, as opposed to
> the $84 millions McCain got from the Fed for the whole campaign shows
> the stakes of this war between methods and social visions. The rest of
> the world knows the consequences of a victory for either side. Whatever
> you believe in, 

It will be interesting to see, if this really shapes up to to be "internet" 
against "tv" and if this is really the case, and Obama wins, whether that 
will affect his style of government. 

I guess we are seeing some real chance happening. The historical moment of 
the US as lone superpower is over. 

Felix

--- http://felix.openflows.com ----------------------------- out now:
*|Mediale Kunst/Media Arts Zurich.13 Positions.Scheidegger&Spiess2008
*|Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society. Polity, 2006 
*|Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Ed. Futura/Revolver, 2005 


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