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March 13, 2007

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First of all, I'm the only doomsdayer around here!!

Second, the academic wisdom on the decline of US hegemony is that it actually began occurring in the 1970s (e.g., around Bretton Woods, under Nixon, etc.). That the problems we faced as a nation through the 1970s - the oil crisis, the decline in manufacturing, something about making currency rates variable (v. fixed) to gold - all this led to our push to open up markets around the world, the structural adjustment programs that followed in dev. countries, etc., because we had sort of maxed out our dominance at home and thus abroad and have sought any means necessary to stay powerful.

And the rest is a long, slow, decline into where we are today.

While the eight years under Clinton might seem like the last dance at the Roxy (with Bush the nasty Texan developer who's shown up with some absolutely horrible blueprints on Manhattan's West Side since, alienating his lefty, gay and immigrant neighbors right and left), the last 27 years of robbing the poor to feed the rich at home and abroad really exemplifies our decline as a world power, as those with the means shore up their resources now before China shows up and enslaves us all, outsourcing some of those management capacities to Chavez et al.

Yes, I say these radical things in class too. Before all the Harvard students wander off to drink sherry.

(Some of the best stuff in the globalization lit, btw, is that academics/intellectuals all of us are implicated as part of the problem, as we purportedly fly around the globe making policy recommendations and propping up ruthless international NGOs - e.g., the WTO - and national political leaders.)

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