Thursday, July 10, 2008

U.S. Economy Will Force End of Empire

McClatchy reports that the libertarian approach to economics is getting a bit tenuous, even for the die hard supply-siders of the Bush Administration.

After at least a quarter-century of pressing for deregulation of financial markets, economists and members of Congress are pushing for renewed regulation in hopes of heading off a collapse of the global banking system.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday became the latest official to call for additional government powers, saying that the Fed should be given more authority to determine how much cash investment banks are required to keep in reserve and to monitor how they manage the risk involved in their investments.
If you thought the value of the dollar was in the tank, check out what's going on with the Zimbabwean currency. $500 million does not buy what it used to.

We may not be in the same sinking boat with Zimbabwe, but we won't be the world's largest economy for much longer if we don't pump some life back into the dollar. That may not be a bad thing, since under the rigged rules of globalization having such a massive economy affords our leaders the opportunity to hold the proverbial debt gun to the heads of smaller nations.

Economists are projecting that China's economy will overtake the U. S. economy by 2035. Frankly, they can have it. If we don't know enough to let demand and sensible regulations dictate the most amazing economic entity in world history--wasn't that the point of westward genocide, er, expansion?--then the Chinese should probably have the mantle of the world's strongest economy. Will they use it to foolishly and overreach for the dream of global empire as we have? Probably. Better them than us.

UC-San Diego professor Chalmers Johnson has written some of the best work on the subject of U.S. Empire. He makes the point that internal democracies with external empires cannot last. The forces of Empire eventually kill off the democracy, or the democracy re-asserts itself and breaks up the Empire. Either we dump the 700-plus military bases we have around the world or our politicians will resort to killing democracy in order to defend them.

Johnson recently discussed his book Sorrows of Empire on C-SPAN (MP3 here).