Political insider and veteran reporter Kevin Phillips has documented that every major empire over the past several hundred years has undergone a predictable cycle of collapse, usually within 10 to 20 years of its peak power.
The indications are always the same:
- The financialization of the economy, moving from manufacturing to speculation;- Very high levels of debt;
- Extreme economic inequality;
- And costly military overreaching.
Will Obama rebuild America’s manufacturing base, reduce our debt, restore economic equality, and reduce military adventurism?
So far, indications are that he wants to increase the debt with massive “stimulus” programs, instead of letting the raging financial inferno and deleveraging process burn itself out.
He has also promised to expand some areas of military spending (such as the war in Afghanistan). Unless he brings all American troops worldwide home from all military adventures, the U.S. will keep going down the tube.
Obama hints a lot about reducing inequality. But his key economic advisors are fat-cat insiders, so this may largely just be hot air.
And these advisors are virtually all financial – not manufacturing – people, and it is doubtful that he will significantly push to move away from “financialization” and towards rebuilding the manufacturing base.
Admittedly, he has made some noises about moving towards manufacturing. For example:
He proposes an Advanced Manufacturing Fund that would identify and invest in the most compelling advanced manufacturing strategies in places that have been hard hit by the decline in manufacturing.
Rather than slashing funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership as the Bush Administration did, Obama said he would double it. The program helped create and protect over 50,000 jobs in 2006 alone, and has helped to increase the productivity of small and midsize manufacturers by up to 16%.
“That’s the kind of smart investment that will help us rebuild American manufacturing and make America more competitive,” Obama said.
But these are mere campaign promises, and I have seen no evidence to date that he intends to do much to rebuild the manufacturing sector.
Bottom line, the collapse of the American empire appears to be irreversible, even with a new president, because the root causes of the collapse are not being addressed.