Oligarch/Technocrat Michael O’Sullivan riffs on selected themes provided by Huntington’s ‘Clash’, or what the world of collapsed Neo-Liberalism needs is one more Grand Theory! Old Socialist scoffs!

Headline: Globalisation is dead and we need to invent a new world order

Sub-headline: A book excerpt and interview with Michael O’Sullivan, author of “The Levelling”

Mr O’Sullivan: Globalisation is already behind us. We should say goodbye to it and set our minds on the emerging multipolar world. This will be dominated by at least three large regions: America, the European Union and a China-centric Asia.


Read Mr. O’Sullivan’s CV, that is not just instructive, but confirms who he is and what he represents :

‘Michael O’Sullivan is the Author of The Levelling.

Until May 2019 he was a CIO and Managing Director of Credit Suisse in the Private Banking & Wealth Management Division, based in Zurich. He was Chief Investment Officer for the International Wealth Management Division. He joined Credit Suisse in July 2007 from State Street Global Markets. Prior to joining Credit Suisse Michael spent over ten years as a global strategist at a number of sell-side institutions and has also taught finance at Princeton and Oxford Universities. He was educated at University College Cork in Ireland and Balliol College in Oxford, where he obtained M.Phil and D.Phil degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. He is an independent member of Ireland’s National Economic Social Council.


Like a good Neo-Liberal O’Sullivan avoids  the mention of the complete collapse of the Neo-Liberal system in 2008-this is utterly verboten political/economic territory. The Party Line of The Economist and their  technocrat/oligarch interviewee share a verifiable political/economic propinquity.

The Economist: What killed globalisation?

Michael O’Sullivan: At least two things have put paid to globalisation. First, global economic growth has slowed, and as a result, the growth has become more “financialised”: debt has increased and there has been more “monetary activism”—that is, central banks pumping money into the economy by buying assets, such as bonds and in some cases even equities—to sustain the international expansion. Second, the side effects, or rather the perceived side-effects, of globalisation are more apparent: wealth inequality, the dominance of multinationals and the dispersion of global supply chains, which have all become hot political issues.

How telling is it that the Levellers  are shown as victims of Cromwell and the Grandees, and that he mentions ‘Change UK’ ,  but not the very real possibility, that the next Prime Minister will be Jeremy Corbyn, and that a cadre of reformers, within the Labour Party, that is seeking the wholesale overturning of the Thatcherite New Labour!

Second, they are interesting for the way the movement was countermanded and then snuffed out by the military leader Oliver Cromwell and the Grandees (the elites of their day). Like so many idealistic political start-ups, the Levellers failed. This should encourage the growing number of new political parties, like Change UK and new candidates to be worldy-wise in how they approach the process of political reform and change.

‘Change UK’ was Neo-Liberal , in sum Anti-Corbyn:

Headline:How Change UK crashed and burned

Sub-headline:New centrist party hoped to remake politics but failed to match Brexit party — or Lib Dems


Is the quick demise of ‘Change UK’ the point of O’Sullivan’s admonition to be ‘worldy-wise in how they approach the process of political reform and change’ ?

The argument progresses, eventuates or just devolves into the positing of two types of societies: Leveller-type and Leviathan-type societies.

As the world evolves along the lines of Leveller-type and Leviathan-type societies, it is possible that in some countries, such as Russia, a Leviathan-like approach—that is, order in exchange for reduced democracy and rights—will be the accepted way of life. In other countries, most interestingly China, as its economy loses momentum and evolves, there may be a growing tension between groups holding the Leviathan view (supported inevitably by Grandees) and opposing Leveller-like groups (who favor equality of opportunity and a multiparty system). The role and views of women, especially in China, and of minority groups like the gay community will be pivotal.

This historically dull-witted binary is the political destiny of human kind? ‘A New World Order’ as posited by O’ Sullivan, will appeal to the Neo-Liberal’s of American Corporate Journalism: The New York Times, Washington Post etc. and America’s desperate elected  political class, to act as intellectual veneer, for their policy proposals, steeped in xenophobia, bourgeois respectable racism and rampant sexual hysteria. And a politics in American re-defined by the Rucho et al, v.  Common Cause  et al  decision of the Supreme Court that allows partisan gerrymandering to be unencumbered in its exercise.

The emergence of a new world order, based on large regions and coloured by Leveller and Leviathan modes of governance, echoes several periods in history. The challenge in the next few years will be for Leviathan-oriented nations like China to maintain economic stability so that rising unemployment, for instance, does not break the “Leviathan contract”. Equally, the challenge in Leveller countries will be to maintain open, fraternal societies in the face of political and potentially economic volatility.

Old Socialist










About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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