Some of the earliest political scientists looked at a country holistically as one would at a biological organism. If they had to observe the modern Federal Reserve and its functioning, what organism would serve for best analogy?
During the time of the renaissance in Europe people often thought of society in a holistic organic way. The head was the king. Money was the blood made from eating natural resources and turning them into marketable goods used by everybody. The army was the sword, peasants made up the body, and the church took the role of the soul.
We already know what the old school political scientists would think of a democratic country. They'd look at the democratic organism as schizophrenic, directionless, scatterbrained, impulsive, and engaged in short term hedonism. The success of democratic countries like Japan and Sweden (where people have chosen the same long term vision party for over 30 years), would probably shock these political monarchists into rethinking the executive located in one man.
But what might the analogy lovers of yesteryear think of an organism which can make it own blood by printing and loaning money to itself?
The peculiar nature of United States stands out among other socioeconomic organisms. Reserve currencies have existed before but the dollar is the first major reserve currency not backed by something tangible. The relatively unique American ability to loan money to itself takes a new meaning without gold backing the money up. If money is the blood keeping the major organs of society nourished (the executive in the head, the sharpness of the claws and teeth, the strength of the infrastructural skeleton, and the health of the citizen cells making up the body itself), then how would an organism, that makes blood without needing to sell anything for it, function?
A country that is a major importer however, better have a lot of unprocessed food like oil and metals to exchange for the middleman of money. Otherwise, its cells would starve.
What about a system like United States that imports both food (commodities) as well as finished nutrient shapes of computers, cars, clothing, and kitchen utilities? It doesn't make enough finished nutrient shapes that cells in other countries would find useful. Sure, it turns major chunks of the land into slabs of packaged chicken and bags of wheat but at the end of the day the net imports drastically outweigh the net exports. How does an organism like that continue to survive without its cells rapidly beginning to suffer? Its obvious that the cells are increasingly suffering and declining in average health since the 1960s, but the process of deterioration has been remarkably slow.
The old school political scientists would look for explanation at the reserve currency function of the dollar as the most trusted and used middleman. But why would it be the most used instead of say Japanese currency? After all, Japan is a society that actually makes a surplus of needed complex nutrients for other cells throughout the world.
As far as currencies and capital go, one rates them only according to their ability to be an effective middleman. Since United States pushed the dollar onto the whole world for the past 60 years during the cold war, this "blood" appeared everywhere. It being everywhere made the best middleman and created a virtuous circle for a currency not backed by anything. It could, of course, also be mass produced by the Federal Reserve as needed (although Federal Reserve would prevent too much money production the way OPEC does with oil). The cells that made up the spinal chord of the American organism (people working in the pentagon, Federal Reserve, major banks, investment institutions) were protected by the strength of muscular nuclear arms (apologies). Producing anything that other societies wanted was not needed as long as one blood was increasingly used internationally (and even domestically in some countries).
United States didn't give it to them willingly but asked them to act more like itself to be considered worthy. How could a country become worthy and thus receive more empowering blood that it wanted? It had to empower some cells at the expense of others. It had to make conditions in its body more favorable to the same nerve cells that dominated in United States, (such as the banks, corporations, individual oligarchs, and the military departments). Some smaller countries did just that. They forcibly starved and flagellated themselves and made sure to not spend too much on infrastructure or their workers. They tugged at America's tunic and begged to be given some of that precious magical blood that allows to not make anything useful but still remain alive.
The nerve clusters within the ever growing spinal chord within United States (financial sector growing to over 20% of the economy) sometimes decided through their credit rating agencies that the country was worthy. The American organism would then bite into the receiver (through insistence on lowering protectionist trade barriers) and gradually begin to suck out needed nutrients in exchange for the reserve currency blood investment of capital. The receiver organism would smile in bliss as the American blood mixed with its own and the spinal chord of the receiver rapidly transformed to mimic the one on Wall Street.
The vampiric parasite analogy is the only one that political scientists of old would use to describe the unique functioning of the United States. The parasite needs the host to become more productive so it can feed off it more. As such, United States makes sure to not completely kill the receiver country (through letting it borrow dollar bonds) even as the country receiving capital is increasingly weakened for the most part (overflowing nerve cells enriching at the expense of most other cells in the body). Many countries are thus partially infected but yet don't become full fledged vampires themselves. They still need to be productive so the American capitalists can make money off them. The whole system of course is only sustainable because of military force, threats, and predatory action against small weak nations. Many organisms (good examples found in Latin America) no longer struggle as their nerve clusters are increasingly the same as those on Wall Street. United States is thus surviving and replicating the likeness of its parasitic functioning through globalization.
The more the organism's blood is used as a reserve currency, the more parasitic the organism becomes. We've seen how the old vampire of England has shriveled up after the sterling stopped being widely circulated by formerly held subjects. England now sits coughing on its island and tries to decide whether to give up independence or join the euro zone. The euro is the result of key European economies not being content with their semi-vampire status and deciding to band together to challenge dollar's leadership as a reserve. The euro's growth as a reserve currency in recent years (at the expense of the dollar) provides a great temptation for France and Germany to also consume without providing the world with anything useful. Foreign use of the dollar however is still at over 60% while the euro is just over 25%.
We've seen the reaction of United States when murderous religionists tried to drive a stake into the financial heart (although what they did was a pinprick considering the size of the system). There was a mighty roar across the planet, 2 countries were destroyed (Iraq being one that wanted to not use dollar in oil trading), people were encouraged to consume as patriotic duty, and more funds were diverted to international military build up.
If globalization makes the world function as more of a whole, then perhaps it is time to see what role United States plays in this whole.