THE FUTURE IS RUSHING UPON US
We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The process of wrestling NATO's control away from the Anglo-American partnership should start immediately while the international recession is relatively young. American economic collapse is forcing US leadership to copy its former ideological colonies of Germany and Japan when it comes to implementing state capitalism. That in turn will result in a power vacuum created in central Europe and major risk involving NATO's structure the way it is led presently.
US always had elements of state capitalism although private sector was far less regulated compared to US's more state centered ideological colonies in Western Europe. However, decades of de-industrialization, social/structural decay, and military build up brought the need to accelerate ideological compromise. We now see an American president insist on the need for state champions in energy and car production as well as utilization of state organs to shape private sector development. US still has what it takes to pull that off peacefully. If De Gaulle's France and Putin's Russia managed to create successful state backed champions under conditions bordering on civil war then Obama's America can do the same.
There is sufficient amounts of managerial experience and efficiency enforcement talent to be found domestically. Subsidizing cars and green energy will do for those industries what subsidies for agriculture did. That is, create industrial base for mass cheap exports abroad after years of hard work and political coalition pressure. That will take time however and in the meantime it makes strategic sense to extend state capitalism to biomedical, natural resource extraction, electronics, and agriculture sectors. These three fields, have the most potential for economic stimulation since they are one of the few things US still has an edge on internationally. American oligarchic demands and semi-privatized medical system have created the most advanced pharmaceutical and bioengineering research and development in the world. Bioengineering, organ growing, genetic modification, and resulting transhuman augmentation and life extension, are the best potential kernels of a new American economy. As such, if US government wants to take serious stabilizing steps to save bits of the old capitalist system, it needs to nurture, subsidize, and promote the biomedical sector the way it wants to with the car industry. Biomedical product exports are potentially worth trillions of dollars long term, especially if Koreans and Japanese can be brought aboard as collaborative partners.
Proper state subsidies and investments must be made immediately so the lifeline industries are nurtured before the default on the dollar occurs.
How does this relate to central Europe? Central European states have embraced American style free market capitalism with open arms. Legions of US capitalist commisars have flown to educate the fresh faced leaderships of Baltic states and dissolved Warsaw pact members. The Soviet collapse has been so rapid and demoralizing that the ideology of minimal state capitalism has taken root deeply and broadly as far as the core states of the former Soviet Union itself. In many ways, central Europeans even outdid their American teacher (and new NATO master) in terms of lack of regulation, taxation, and lack of investment in real industry. The supposed success stories, of minimal state capitalism, have been shown in nearly double digit growth rates throughout the former socialist space. The small Baltic countries have shown their proud ability to stand tall next to other speculative paper tigers of Ireland and Iceland. Even the normally cautious American satellite of Germany got into the housing bubble creating action in the 1990s. Supposed post-industrial financial wizardry was so visible, that in 2003 Donald Rumsfeld even proposed to make central Europe the new ideological arm of American power projection.
Germany and France were no longer seen as reliable footholds to violently spread capitalism throughout the world. Franco-German leadership of Chirac and Shroeder were fine with the split between US and Western Europe since it allowed them to pursue their own independent state capitalism with European characteristics. They decided that US lacks the industrial production to continuously exert influence in central Europe. Leading Western European leadership decided to gradually play Americans and Russians against each other while competing with US and Russians in central Europe when it comes to financial investment. With no massive global ideological alternative to warn of the risks, even the neutral well managed Swedish banks poured money into"New Europe" states like Hungary and Latvia.
Now it's unlikely that Obama's move towards restructuring of the state capitalist economy to make it more efficient will cause anything as drastic as any American region wanting to secede. After all, the great American melting pot and intermingling of ethnic groups produced a much more durable artificial nationality compared to the violence born Soviet one. Surely American evangelicals, blacks, northeastern secular liberals, and Hispanics can work out a way to peacefully decline and restructure without resorting to Yugoslav style nastiness. The last statements are not meant as sarcastic or alarmist. US state capitalist political system allowed some social popular pressure to be released continuously at the polls without being angrily pressurized for decades.
However, the demoralizing effect and demonstration of the minimal state capitalist failure will mean another economic/ideological collapse in the heart of Europe. We are seeing industrial drop offs in Hungary, Ukraine, and the Baltic states that resemble the early 90s and American reversals in the early 1930s. US never even had a large enough financial presence in their new ideological colonies since most of the housing bubble money came from EU heavy weights. That means that central Europe will drag economies of Western Europe down with them to an undetermined degree as German and Scandinavian Banks find themselves in a Baltic sub-prime mess of their own. With decrease of EU's economic support, American ideological betrayal, and Obama administration's lowered priorities for NATO expansion, regional vacuum can only be filled rapidly by Russia. Kremlin has tangible natural resource and energy exports as well as over 200 billion dollars in saved wealth. China's 500 billion bailout to create internal demand for its products is beginning to push oil price up again. This means that the oil based ruble is strengthening and can be used to rapidly exert political pressure in the region filled with devaluing currencies.
French and Germans should begin efforts to become the new negotiating power center of NATO. If US decides to dissolve the alliance in retaliation, that is fine. Europeans already have protocols to make use of NATO facilities for a new European alliance. If US decides to stay (and still provide a nuclear umbrella to augment those of France and England), then that is the perfect outcome for the continent. It'll show American people that they are still relevant and soothe England's fears of being marginalizing completely. Berlin, Paris, and Rome can then pragmatically negotiate with Moscow on security arrangements for the continent. Only negotiation untainted by reactionary ideology can bring results. This solution allows coordinated preservation of North-Hemispheric stability in a time when state capitalism faces serious challenges from economic and social stagnation. Situation that leads to serious Western infighting, further deterioration of investor confidence, and potential escalating violence must not be allowed to happen. That would allow only China to remain the biggest planetary center of influence with 1 trillion dollars of saved wealth and the only major growing economy. Even briefly, that risks giving an opening that might prove difficult to close.