The rise and decline of great powers

Items of historical significance.

The rise and decline of great powers

Postby broken robot » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:05 pm

Subtitle: or why China is not the new US

So this always gets me, people tend to believe that there's some linear ascent of great powers from the Netherlands in the 18th century, to Britain in the 19th, to the US in the 20th, and now to China in the 21st. The problem though is that this assumes the world system is the same, its economic and geographic basis is the same, and there's just a never-ending succession of states to take up the place of global leader like chess pieces moving into position. Who could predict in the 1950s however that we'd go from massive industrial manufacturing in the West to the rise of sweatshops and Free Trade Zones in developing countries, what David Harvey refers to as "flexible forms of accumulation"?

The fact of the matter is the role of China is much more ambiguous than people make it out to be, whether as some looming security threat to the US or its successor. China is involved in a complex economic and political relationship with the US and one that's quite unlike any preexisting historical relationship. While it has a massive manufacturing base, for example, it does not have the same level of high-end R&D. Moreover, it is not a global military power. There are limits to US power of course, as anyone could tell you after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but there isn't a clear successor to the US in terms of global military-strategic domination. States are now more enmeshed with each other than ever given their specific roles and functions within the world system. Meaning, just because the US is suffering economically doesn't mean it isn't able to employ other modes of power such as the military. In this regard, the world system develops according to an irreversible sequence. A state that travels down one path can't go back in history and change its course to perform a different kind of function. China can't go back in history to become the world's leading military power. Rather, it has a specific economic function as creditor to the US and a political one as a check, along with Russia, on US/EU military intervention.

There are of course some general tendencies that will reconfigure the existing balance of power among states. The US has been in financial shock, but there are other areas where it may expand, such as green energy. The EU may participate as well though right now the great project for a united Europe is fracturing under the stress of economic austerity. Meanwhile the developing countries, especially those with natural resources such as Burma, can parlay their economic influence into political backing from countries such as China and Russia that don't impose human rights, etc. conditions on loans and aid. After the wave of democratization in Eastern Europe and Latin America during the 1980s and 1990s, there's been a rise of authoritarian regimes with popular legitimacy, such as post-Morsi Egypt. This, more than the spread of a neoliberal free market consensus, is really the next big step in the transformation of the world order.

Anyways, here is an interesting paper in the New Left Review from a while back about China's relationship with the US and its role in extending a line of credit for the expansion of US debt.
The Subversives

These users thanked the author broken robot for the post:
eynon81
User avatar
broken robot
VIP
VIP
 
Posts: 2017
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:11 pm
Location: CA
Gender: None specified
Has thanked: 206 times
Been thanked: 234 times
Political Leaning: Socialist

Re: The rise and decline of great powers

Postby foadi » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:28 pm

I eisagree
Image
User avatar
foadi
Congressman
 
Posts: 667
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:21 pm
Location: city of angels
Gender: Male
Has thanked: 677 times
Been thanked: 202 times
Political Leaning: Anarchist

Re: The rise and decline of great powers

Postby broken robot » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:33 pm

That actually made me laugh. Thanks foadi. :))
The Subversives
User avatar
broken robot
VIP
VIP
 
Posts: 2017
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:11 pm
Location: CA
Gender: None specified
Has thanked: 206 times
Been thanked: 234 times
Political Leaning: Socialist

Re: The rise and decline of great powers

Postby gla22 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:58 pm

It is clear the U.S. is declining in power, but a decline of power dosen't necessarily mean that renders your country powerless. Russia is considerably less powerful than it was when it was the U.S.S.R but it remains a global power.

The U.S. still remains the center of innovation, new technology and business evolution in the world, for that reason we are doing well. Currently the federal U.S. government is struggling in many areas. The fact that the U.S. spends more per capita than any country oh healthcare yet can't cover everyone is telling. The U.S. will have to deal with its large structural economic problems in the near future. QE forever is not a real solution.
Image
User avatar
gla22
Senator
 
Posts: 1188
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:50 pm
Gender: Male
Has thanked: 304 times
Been thanked: 242 times

Re: The rise and decline of great powers

Postby Stratego » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:26 am

It's not that the US is in decline, but rather that the Internet was such a powerful equalizing force that many nations were able to catch up relatively quickly. They're also able to compete on the information stage.
Sigmund Freud defined four parts of a psyche; the id, the ego, the superego and the stratego. The Stratego being the highest form of morality and scientific thinking.

If guns are not outlawed, the in-laws will have guns.
User avatar
Stratego
VIP
VIP
 
Posts: 3251
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:27 pm
Gender: Male
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 554 times

Re: The rise and decline of great powers

Postby PoS » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:24 am

That paper was written in 2009, a lot has happened in China since then. I was in Hong Kong and Macao a few weeks ago and I noticed that a lot of the tourists that were visiting were from mainland China so it seems that the local market for Chinese goods and services is growing to the point that if it keeps up they wont have to be so reliant on exports to the US or Europe that much anymore- they can transition themselves into a service type economy like the West if they can handle it properly. A lot of the cheap unskilled labor market is already leaving China, in fact.
the reactionaries
Image

These users thanked the author PoS for the post:
foadi
User avatar
PoS
Governor
 
Posts: 4266
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:50 pm
Location: Oceania
Gender: Male
Has thanked: 495 times
Been thanked: 309 times
Political Leaning: Fascist Libertarian

Re: The rise and decline of great powers

Postby exploited » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:36 am

I don't think the US is declining in power. The US controls almost all global institutions, and what it can't control tends to be fairly unimportant anyways. Still has the best military in human history. Still the biggest economy by a long shot. And, most importantly, there is no power that will be able to counter American hegemony in a real way, not in the next fifty years anyways.

China is getting more powerful, yes, and a China-India-Russia power bloc would be quite formidable... but would be swept away easily were it to start flexing it's muscles. It simply could not win any form of hostilities with the US... not a trade war, not an actual war, and certainly not an ideological war.

So, yeah, in terms of global power dynamics, I'd say the US is as powerful as ever. You guys had a housing bubble and it collapsed the global economy - that sort of influence simply does not disappear easily.
User avatar
exploited
Vice President
 
Posts: 20599
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:32 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male
Has thanked: 2128 times
Been thanked: 1671 times

Re: The rise and decline of great powers

Postby The Comrade » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:42 am

that, and india is our hindu BFF
ImageImageImageImageImageImage
User avatar
The Comrade
Vice President
 
Posts: 17977
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:10 pm
Location: Yugoslavia
Gender: Male
Has thanked: 1188 times
Been thanked: 1813 times
Political Leaning: Socialist

Re: The rise and decline of great powers

Postby exploited » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:45 am

True that.

On another note, it never ceases to amaze me that India even exists as a nation.

Were it to get unruly, it would be just too easy to exploit it's internal divisions.
User avatar
exploited
Vice President
 
Posts: 20599
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:32 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male
Has thanked: 2128 times
Been thanked: 1671 times

Re: The rise and decline of great powers

Postby Stratego » Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:53 am

The rise and fall of political powers can be compared to rise and fall of companies. Initially they rise because of the value they delivered and a common vision. However as they approach the top, the vision of where to go next diverges. This is when internal political struggles intensifies and the only common things that bring the parties together are things that worked in the past. As a result they tend to resort to backwards thinking, because backwards thinking is less painful. But in doing so they get left behind or at least allow others to close the gap.
Sigmund Freud defined four parts of a psyche; the id, the ego, the superego and the stratego. The Stratego being the highest form of morality and scientific thinking.

If guns are not outlawed, the in-laws will have guns.
User avatar
Stratego
VIP
VIP
 
Posts: 3251
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:27 pm
Gender: Male
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 554 times

Next

Return to History

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest