A New World Order?

Posted on Friday, 15th April 2011 @ 11:19 AM by Text Size A | A | A

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Is the U.S.A. still the world’s foremost superpower? Yes, but on the international stage our nation is also in decline. Other nations no longer cower in fear accepting every wish and whim originating in Washington, and while that is likely a good development, it is also a sign of changes in power politics that could have far reaching implications for the U.S. and its standings in the world order.

The Chinese have stepped up criticism of U.S. policies and stances in recent years and the European Union declined to follow U.S. advice on stimulating the global economy. Meanwhile, Britian and France have been taking the lead roles in stabilizing Libya and Cote d-Iviore. All the while the U.S. is finding more cold shoulders, more mocking words, and more resistance in its continued deals with less powerful nations. These developments hint at the changing power dynamics in geopolitics in which the United States is no longer a lone unchallengable super power.

This decline, however, is not due to a loss of American military might. The United States armed forces are still vastly more powerful than any other nation, or bloc of nations. Instead, the degrading of U.S. international influence is due to its continued economic decline, and specifically the decline of its domestic markets.

For decades the U.S. consumer has been the driver of the global economy. While there have certainly been many negative effects of the globalized industrial complex, consumers in the U.S. have lifted millions of people out of poverty, built third world nations into first world, and driven the greatest technological innovations in history.

Now, that same group of people are in general decline. Years of poor economic policies, a stagnant culture of “me,” a severe financial crisis, and a refusal to adapt on both the government’s and individuals’ part has created a general state of mailaise.

Countries have long aquiesced to the United State’s wishes and demand because they wanted access to U.S. consumers. China struggled until the country gave in, opened up, and gained access to U.S consumers and now their economy is booming. Western European countries and Japan were able to rebuild themselves after World War II by fashioning products for the American Middle Class. Recently developed nations, such as Singapore and South Korea, likewise used the American consumer to drag themselves up the ladder and into first world status.

As the U.S. middle-class declines, so too will the attractiveness and most importantly, purchasing power, of our markets. Already India, China, and other Asian countries are developing consumer markets that will revival the U.S.’s markets in the near future. China is currently the world’s largest car market, and during the Great Recession the Chinese economy resumed growth within a year while also proving strong enough to pull other Asian economies out of the recession. Meanwhile, McKinsey estimates that India’s Middle Class already numbers 50 million people. As these markets grow our international clout will decline. On the otherhand these markets could prove to be attractive for U.S. goods but only if we as a country learn to position ourselves in the global economy.

Our leaders should have treated the Middle-Class as our country’s most sacred resource, both in terms of security and national pride. Instead, they have short sold their very people, creating policies that have encouraged outsourcing at an unsustainable rate, and failing to provide the education system necessary to upgrade our skill-sets at affordable prices. Now we face a new reality, and in the near future a new world order. Either we will adopt policies that encourage a strong and vibrant Middle Class and enter into this new world order as productive and important members, or we will continue our general state of decline by selling short our people in the name of immediate profits?

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