Why America still matters

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 14.08.38.pngWhy is America still important? Below I copy the answer I gave in 2011 in the last chapter of The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the World Economy. (For those not familiar with the economic meaning of my Minotaur allegory, read this.) Today, as the Trump Presidency looms, I fear that that conclusion is even more pertinent… 

[Excerpt from Chapter 9]

The omens are not good. Never before have so many powerful people understood so little about what the world economy needs in order to recover. Never before have history’s actors been so painfully absent. Our only hope is that history often forges new possibilities at a time when none seem present. So, let us allow optimism to shine through the darkness around and pose the question: If the Global Minotaur is to be replaced by a well designed, collectively agreed, global surplus recycling mechanism, who might act as the agent of this birth? Who will emerge as history’s actors this time?

Previously, I argued that this time historical agency might spring out of the emerging economies. However, I must make a confession a few sentences before the book’s end: I do not believe it will. With Europe out of contention, and the emerging nations buffeted by both the Crisis and a lack of tradition in mould-breaking at a global scale, once more it is the United States that must provide, perhaps for the last time, the missing agency. Put simply, I just cannot see how genuine progress toward building a wholesome global surplus recycling mechanism can be made otherwise.

Of course, the pre-requisite for this is that America’s policy makers grasp the meaning and irreversibility of ‘their’ Global Minotaur‘s demise, and are energised by the dystopian prospect of a permanently stagnation-prone world economy. Then and only then is there is a chance of a collective future that will prove rational, stable and pregnant with an iota of some hope that our latest Crisis will be allowed to unleash its creative potential.

While emerging countries like China, Brazil, India, South Africa etc. must contribute important building blocks in the construction of this brighter future, America must nevertheless lead. If it does, perhaps centuries later, its own Minotaur‘s death will inspire the poets and the myth-makers to mark its demise as the beginning of a new, authentic humanism. If it does not, then our generation’s postmodern 1930s will last a lot longer than a decade.

1 Comment

  • Yani, I don’t want to be rude, but are you on bad drugs?
    You want the US (not America, please, America is a continent, not a country), to lead the world in a new age of prosperity?
    Didn’t the 20th century teach you anything?
    You’re so blind that you would let a murderous, paranoid Empire, with more wars in a century than all the rest of the countries combined, lead again in the 21st? A country that until recently, denied Climate Change and its part in it?
    You would let a country that almost made M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) a reality in more than 90 occasions, only to stand off at the last possible moment?!
    Have you gone completely soft? You would let a country which lies to its people in order to travel half way across the world and bomb hundreds of thousands of people into oblivion, “lead” the rest? The country that gave us neo-liberalism, and after testing it out in a couple of dictatorships, brought it to the rest of us, leading the world in the biggest financial crisis in history only so that a few industrialists and bankers can make a buck while removing individual and workers rights?
    Or do you just wish for your own version of a “savior” to stop behaving like a schizophrenic maniac and give the world some money so they can buy their unregulated products?
    You moral compass is starting to twitch, be careful.
    That’s the daftest post you have ever made.