The Decline and Fall

Ken writes:

As Dot said earlier today, it seems obvious that the current situation is the end of European and North American preeminence in the world.

I won’t try to justify that statement, because I really don’t know enough about politics and economics and economies and financial markets and so on to make it convincing. Maybe if I knew more, I’d be more optimistic, but it just looks bad.


6 thoughts on “The Decline and Fall

  1. Dot

    What I actually said is that I won’t be surprised if the historians of the future see this financial crisis as a key moment in the shift of global power away from the west. Which is a rather more cautious point. Regarding Jeremy’s comment, I think there has to be shift away from countries that are most heavily committed to financial and service industries towards countries that actually make stuff, especially China (though obviously they need a market to sell to).

  2. Dot,

    China only became the workshop of the world because Western nations were prepared to outsource their manufacturing. As China becomes more wealthy and their labour costs rise, market forces will kick in, bringing work back to Europe or shifting it elsewhere.

    If there is a paradigm shift, I think it is going to be away from transnational blocs and back towards the strengthening of the 19th Century nation-state. The uncertainties and paroxysms in markets and politics are creating peoples amenable to simplistic explanations leading to a rise of nationalist parties, to wit, the FPO and the Haider list in Austria and the emergence of extreme nationalisms in eastern Europe.

  3. Belle Inconnue

    Personally I’m preparing to reenact the complete works of John Steinbeck, as that seems to be the way things are going.

    Just off to salt the slaughtered pig and tuck granny and grampa up in the truck before the long journey to California…

  4. If it’s any consolation, I guess we Super-Sane Medievalists (of a cosmopolitan, internationalist, peace- and culture-loving bent) can look forward to being the next Auerbach, Curtius, et al.

    On a much happier note: how is Hugh’s new coat? Is it getting along in a friendly and cuddly manner with the Hugh? This could be a fine working model for socio-politico-economic relations to come.

  5. Dot

    Hugh hasn’t yet tried his new coat. He is currently in his cot, sprawled face down with one arm flung across his teddy bear. I don’t know if this counts as a very early morning nap or a delayed lie-in.

    Ian, the view you’ve expressed had occurred to me. But didn’t Britain manage for a bit to be both one of the world’s biggest economies and its workshop? I suppose it was managed through gross suffering and inequality (and exploitation of an overseas empire).

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