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great discussion.

santiago:

 There just aren't any rivals for the job, China notwithstanding, and there is no rising language for global governance and international relations today other than the rights-based one of liberalism which America has successfully spread throughout the globe through an odd combination of naive idealism, commerce, diplomacy and military conquest.

america contributed those before WW2, (unless you lived in in s. or c. america!), since then things have gone badly awry.

because they bet on the wrong fuel...

and, the america we knew and respected has been hijacked by those to whom the buying, monopolising and selling of said fuel has become much more important than even their own country's status as example, or moral indicator.

there's the core rot.

after america's graphic example, i think it will be much easier for other great powers to resist the temptation of moving into her vacuum. it's a terrible job, earning the hate and resentment of all you subjugate. it's also ruinously expensive...

corporate america is carving chunks out of the nation and the world and trashing them. no empire can survive this abuse for long, and it looks like the planet can't either.

'swhy energy decentralisation is, imo, the most subversively radical idea to come down the pike since the Enlightenment. right now it just looks like it's about business, but that's only the beginning.

if people have what they need for a happy life at home, they are a lot less amenable to demagoguery, and entreaties to go bashing up neighbours for more lebensraum, oil, blood diamonds, oil, lithium, oil, water, etc.

 did i mention oil?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Sep 15th, 2010 at 12:13:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All good points, but it still leaves what I think is the fundamental question about America's Roman empire-like place in the world: Is the present power of the US the way it is because some elites have conspired to make it so? Or is it rather the way it is because people have actually liked to engage in more transnational relationships of all kinds, commerce, communications, cultural exchange, migration, educations, etc., and it turns out that having an effective political organization with the power to establish and maintain institutions facilitates transnational living?

if people have what they need for a happy life at home ...

That seems like a pretty big "if" to me. Maybe there will always be some people who aren't happy with life at home, and maybe it's those people happen to running things now more than others.

by santiago on Wed Sep 15th, 2010 at 01:12:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
santiago:
Is the present power of the US the way it is because some elites have conspired to make it so?

Why yes, or at least: after ww2 USA was by default the mayor power, no longer only a great power (a status sought by such doctrines as manifest destiny and the Monroe doctrine). It then dedicated policies to stay that way, this set of policies is more famous as the cold war.

Btw, I fail to see why delusional ideas in the center of the empire, about the structure of said empire, is an advantage. If anything it should cause inefficient actions like sacrificing virgins in face of invasions.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 16th, 2010 at 07:49:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
santiago:
Or is it rather the way it is because people have actually liked to engage in more transnational relationships of all kinds, commerce, communications, cultural exchange, migration, educations, etc., and it turns out that having an effective political organization with the power to establish and maintain institutions facilitates transnational living?

well, it is rapidly appearing that 'having an effective political organization with the power to establish and maintain institutions' is more figment of imagination, wishful thinking and historical nostalgia than reality, except the pentagon, and even that looks a lot less effective lately.
santiago:

if people have what they need for a happy life at home ...

That seems like a pretty big "if" to me.
 and maybe it's those people happen to running things now more than others.

heh, i should have said 'happi_er_'.

santiago:

if people have what they need for a happy life at home ...

That seems like a pretty big "if" to me. Maybe there will always be some people who aren't happy with life at home, and maybe it's those people happen to running things now more than others.

with all we know these days about which essentials/baubles, intellectual or material, make people happy, (oops happier), that's why we need to do that.

were a millionth of the energy put into financial profit invested in more humanity-enhancing activities, we'd outgrow our collective, infantile need for hegemons. indeed america might have already fulfilled  the important transnational part of its destiny, and now like a dandelion head, can pass into history, knowing the seeds of its better ideas are winging everywhere the winds of technology blow.

ideas and technology outlive the empires that spawn them...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 16th, 2010 at 10:41:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
melo
were a millionth of the energy put into financial profit invested in more humanity-enhancing activities, we'd outgrow our collective, infantile need for hegemons.

That is the consequence of having accepted that economics is its own autonomous sphere with its own set of laws and that the whole of society must be subjected to those rules. The consequence is that the values of our society are then collapsed into one value: Return on Investment, or Equity. That single value is grossly insufficient to serve as the basis for a functioning society, though it does seem to have served very well as a pretext for the looting of that society by a parasitic elite.

Unfortunately, it seems that the host is on the verge of expiring from the effects of parasitism. What can they do when they kill the host, the society in which they developed? There is no other suitably sized victim available, especially when one considers that this is not just a problem of the USA, but of the UK and the EU as well. I don't think they are going to be able to take over China or India. This mad notion that the economy can be abstracted from the society in which it functions, if acted on for a sufficient time, will destroy the society in which operates. It may well be that most of these elites do not understand and/or do not accept the self destructive effects their actions are having.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 17th, 2010 at 12:16:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer,"[...]It may well be that most of these elites do not understand and/or do not accept the self destructive effects their actions are having."

It seems to me these elites have beliefs regarding these issues. If so, then they're not likely to search out facts and exercise logic, which may account for them being oblivious to realities outside the bubble of their own personal world.

NVA, a viable option when the political process fails.

by NorthDakotaDemocrat (NorthDakotaDemocrat at gmail dot com) on Sat Sep 18th, 2010 at 01:27:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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