...US imperialism since World War II has not, indeed, followed Lenin’s model (which was always flawed), but has perfected the strategy of ‘managing empire through bankruptcy’. The $1-2 trillion in the Bank of China consists of little green pieces of paper (dollars and dollar-denominated bonds) exchanged for real Chinese goods produced by the exploitation of Chinese workers, pieces of paper then re-lent to the ‘US consumer’ so he/she can buy those goods. That money will never be seriously repaid, particularly if US policy makers get their way and the Chinese revalue their currency (from 7.8 renminbi = $1) to the desired level of 4 renminbi = $1, cutting in half the value of those reserves to themselves. The Japanese, who saw their dollar holdings reduced in value by Nixon’s dissolution of the old Bretton Woods system in 1971, can tell the Chinese a thing or too (and the Chinese know the stakes very well and have discussed them publicly)....
But most importantly, the bedrock of the world economy has shifted from the post-1945 North Atlantic connection between the US and Europe to the Pacific connection between US ‘consumers’ and Asia’s producers, and above all China’s. China’s boom has in turn, through a frenetic demand for oil and raw materials, set off commodity booms in Latin America and parts of Africa.
At the same time, first the American and more recently the European working classes, which from 1965 to 1977 carried out the most sustained period of wildcat strikes in history, have been rolled back by a relentless combination of de-industrialisation, outsourcing and high-tech induced unemployment.
And while most of the past 30 years appear in capitalist terms to have been a ‘boom’ period, they have in fact been years of a steadily spreading precariousness for workers, peasants and marginal populations everywhere (even booming China has lost 20 million industrial jobs in the past decade). Accompanying the glitz of new ‘creative classes’ from California to London to Warsaw to Shanghai and Mumbai, a huge upward shift of wealth has occurred. And the key to the whole period is, once again, fictitious capital.
Yes there may some currency manipulation going on, but if this becomes a big political issue, we cannot trust the politicians on either side of the Atlantic to act like adults, so it is best to not make it a big issue and let the technocrats slowly work things out.
The entire global system, at this point, is built around Americans taking stuff they can't pay for, and will never be able to pay for, but are nevertheless promising to by sending dollars overseas. No matter how many dollars ship out, we just make more, so our economy isn't impacted by our foolish consumerism. The problem gets worse and worse, and doesn't self-correct, because both sides are hiding it with currency manipulation.
China, our other adversary, was left standing and is pursuing a long-term strategy aimed at doing to us more or less what we did to the Soviets.
I'd say they've made substantial progress and remain on track to achieve their goals.
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