27 November 2002

Monday's Beneath The Surface, beneath the surface

Night before last, the KPFK radio show "Beneath The Surface" had as its guest-star this economist Michael Hudson, advertising his new book "Super-Imperialism". His appearance on this radio show (usually hosted by Nation writer Jon Wiener) would be otherwise uninteresting (he's a Georgist) except that, apparently, his new book contains an explanation of how the US is going to con the rest of the world into paying for the coming invasion of Iraq and subsequent destabilization of the Middle East.

We have often heard, from the likes of Doug Henwood and Robert Brenner, that the world economy does not collapse (despite its weaknesses) because the rest of the world holds this great faith in America, the US, as the last great consumer of its surplus inventories of cheap consumer products. Well, now that many individual Americans have maxed out the credit cards for said products, the idea appears to be that the US government is going to just keep digging the national debt hole deeper in order to keep buying the world's goods, this time so that said US government can purchase a global invasion or six. Control of the Persian Gulf oil fields will apparently reinforce the game of blackmail the US is playing upon the rest of the world -- accept our dollars (which will be spent by foreigners on the Treasury bonds that finance the national debt, according to Hudson) or be declared an "enemy nation." But what happens if the war occurs and the rest of the world decides that it is no longer going to take our dollars? In that case, Hudson said, the world economy would "fracture." (I don't really care about his "solution": his depiction of the problem is enough.)

So, world: be blackmailed, or fracture the globe's economy? The 15-0 Security Council vote against Iraq, according to Hudson, was a vote for blackmail. Time, of course, is running out for the world to decide otherwise: the global Hubbert Peak will happen in eight years, at which time the global capitalist supersonic stagecoach will gradually start to turn into an immobile pumpkin. US policy, according to this metaphor, is to outlast the world in the role of Cinderella, with midnight coming sooner for Europe and later for the US. The Bush economic strategy, as you can see, is futile over the long run. Co-operation may bring about the paradise of alternative energy, but this strategy won't, as it is based upon tightening the noose of the world's oil dependency in order to keep the US economy on life support.

You and me against the world, baby. Given the failure of the rest of the world to resist the US, though, it's only a matter of time before the (ecosocialist) alternative to the status quo should come into plain view, and the co-opted capitalism of the European Left should subsequently shrivel up and die.


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