martin.wolf@ft.com on ‘The tragedy of two failing superpowers’. Political Observer comments

Headline: The tragedy of two failing superpowers

Sub-headline: To address the pandemic, China and the US must not only function. They must function together

https://www.ft.com/content/ea1563e8-725f-11ea-ad98-044200cb277f



Just to focus on one paragraph of Mr. Wolf’s latest encyclical heavily garnished with graphs/charts.


The fundamental American principles of democracy and individual freedom remain attractive to many around the world, despite the global rise of populist autocracy. The vigour of its private economy may yet save us all. But today the US is losing its reputation for elementary competence, already badly battered by its long list of futile wars and the financial crisis of 2007-09. Parts of government, notably the Federal Reserve, remain effective for now, though who knows what would happen in a second Trump term? But the fundamental capability of the often despised “administrative state” — the bulwark of any complex urban civilisation — really matters. At these times of crisis, its absence is lethal. A government at war with science and its own machinery is now very visible to all.

 

There is no ‘tragedy’, this place holder is the fictional creation of Mr. Wolf , or should it be named the care and maintenance of bourgeois political respectability? Subject to historical erasure is the collapse of The Neo-Liberal Swindle, that attacked the very institutions of The Welfare State: a strong manufacturing base, unionized workers, and a vital Public Heath component. The dismantling of that Welfare State , in America, was piecemeal, so some of its most vital institutions, like Social Security remained in place. The Strong State , the sine qua non of the Neo-Liberal coterie, with the help of Bill Clinton, per example:  The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, brought an the end of New Deal protections! And economic catastrophe followed.  This just a rough historical sketch. Look to ‘the global rise of populist autocracy’ as the product of that collapse. See Philipp Ther’s ‘Europe Since 1989: A History’ that explores Neo-Liberalism’s malign utopianism in Central Europe.   

Contra Mr. Wolf’s  melodramatic framing , The Pandemic will focus our attention on the fact that America needs to rebuild its Manufacturing Base, unionized workers and a robust Welfare State. Relying not on Corporatist ‘Trade Deals’, but on a revival of the Democratic Nation State as essential. Allied to strong treaties, with other states, not written by Corporate lawyers, but by democratically elected legislators, with the approval of voters !

Political Observer

 

 

 

 

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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