The EU could ultimately look toward closer relations with either Russia or China, or both, for example. The rise of the Euro relative to the dollar in which the US does not seem to want to cut its twin deficits while the Europeans do not desire to lower their interest rests or intervene to lower their currency , combined with Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean acquisition of dollar denominated assets and treasury bills, indicate that the US has entered into a relative financial dependency, not at all characteristic of hegemonic Great Britain of the 19th century, or even comparable the rising US itself after World Wars I and II.
The Suez affair, in which the US threatened to not to support the pound sterling of the then declining hegemon, Britain, indicated how financial aspects of strategic leveraging can possibly be used against states to obtain geopolitical concessions, and thus raises questions as to whether contemporary US creditors could possibly use similar threats to speculate against the dollar in order to obtain specific geopolitical or political-economic goals.
And finally, despite post-Cold War "end of history" triumphalism, and despite sincere world sympathy for the US following the September 11, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the US appears to be losing its former status in moral and cultural terms following a number of unilateral initiatives, including the refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty, unilateral break out of the ABM Treaty, as well as essentially unilateral intervention in Iraq without a UN Security Council mandate 8.
Today's geostrategic, political-economic and socio-economic configuration accordingly appears characterized by a highly unstable polycentrism in which states and intergovernmental organizations, as well as non-governmental and anti-state actors, possess highly uneven, if not totally lopsided, military, technological and economic power capabilities, as well as highly uneven, if not unpredictable, levels of political and media influence, not to overlook the nature and timing of their willingness to act in regard to a continuum of possible options, which may or may not include the use of force.
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Each of the authors David P. David P. Calleo's article, "Hegemony and Decline, the American Case at the Turning of the Century" reflects on the case for American "declinism" at the end of the Reagan administration, the apparent rejuvenation of American power in the Bush I and Clinton administrations, and the significance of developments under Bush II.
He seeks to analyze the question, How much continuity links these administrations? The chapter opens the debate as to whether the US economy, as linked to its global geopolitical interests and now military intervention in Iraq, has truly entered a declinist phase with the advent of the Bush administration in that the latter's Reaganite tax and budgetary policies have undermined the Clinton's administration accomplishment in balancing the US budget. The US is now confronted with an even bigger current account deficit, and a greater need for foreign credit which comes less and less in the form of investments in our real economy, as it did in the Clinton years, but increasingly from selling short-term Treasury instruments to Japanese and Chinese central banks.
This, in effect, means that the US economy is largely dependent upon the Asian economy, in which it is the Chinese, and above all, the Japanese who now support the dollar to hang on to their trade surpluses, and to finance America's prosperity. But a new North-South axis has recently emerged in the wake of the failed Cancun summit that goes to the heart of the current debate over the future of the free trade system that has defined the international environment for over a half-century. Agriculture is central, an ironic twist in view of the continuing much greater growth of industrial products.
At the same time, multilateralism seemingly has yielded to a new surge of bilateralism. Does expansion of trade contribute to higher levels of domestic product, and in what way? What domestic policies are necessary to assure that poverty and unequal distributions of income in developing countries are alleviated by greater participation in the world economy, given the fact that the volatility of exchange rates, foreign investment, commodity prices, and the volume of trade has been sufficient to unsettle many developing economies in recent years?
The Processes of Globalisation
Will the past pattern of advance continue, as in the past, or will a new burgeoning hostility assert itself in international markets, as it already has within countries? In this sense, it is not certain the US can retain primacy over the global trading system for long, if, in fact, patterns of global inequality widen and more states either "fail" to keep up with competitive pressures, or else attempt to forge protectionist blocs.
Patrick Karl O'Brien's article, "Hegemony as an Anglo-American Succession " develops Gramsci's concept of hegemony as power that includes "a combination of coercion and consent" in arguing, from an essentially macro-economic perspective, that no other state since Rome including Great Britain has deployed hegemonic power or anything comparable to the combination of domination by force and leadership by consent, exercised by governments of the United States between and In an erudite study, he argues the case that major differences between the roles played by Britain and the United States overwhelm the superficial similarities.
In O'Brien's view, all these "public goods", which have been supplied for the world as a whole voluntarily and unwillingly, effectively and ineffectively, with benign and malign intent by the United States since the Second World War, seem to merit the depiction of Washington's power as "hegemonic". In essentially contrasting the history of British primacy and American hegemony, O'Brien leaves us with the impression that the US can continue to sustain its predominant hegemonic position almost indefinitely, as the new Rome. O'Brien's position appears to open itself to Nialls Ferguson critique that "hegemonic stability theory" has offered helpful insights into the way that economic power works, but that "its neglect of the military and cultural aspects of power leads it to overestimate the current American empire and to underestimate the power of its British predecessor 10 ".
O'Brien's position is likewise in contrast with the position of David Calleo, who follows the argument of Charles Kindleberger that the benefits of these "public goods", whose importance is correctly noted by O'Brien, may be shared by all, but are then paid for disproportionately by the hegemon. In this declinist viewpoint, free-riding beneficiaries grow relatively stronger over time while the overtaxed hegemon grows relatively weaker. Certainly here, one can argue that Japan, China and the European Union are challenging US hegemony in political-economic terms, even if they are no where near challenging it in terms of military capabilities.
In contrast with Patrick Karl O'Brien's chapter, Gardner analyzes the question of British and American "hegemony" from a more "micro analytical" approach, by seeking to the global alliance and political-economic ramifications of the British and US interventions in Egypt and Iraq respectively. Gardner argues, more in lines in the declinist school as discussed by David P.
Calleo, that the US may well be overstretching its political will and resources in confrontation with the "new threats". The globalization process, as discussed by Albert Fishlow, does not necessarily prevent social and political conflict, nor preclude both semi-peripheral and peripheral states from developing both threatening military capabilities as well as protectionist regional blocs.
It may be true, much as O'Brien argues, that the US will retain its military predominance for decades to come, but this does not prevent that predominance from becoming not-so-gradually eroded as the US seeks, by essentially unilateral measures, to control key geostrategic and political economic resources, at the same time it seeks to contain or eradicate a seemingly burgeoning number of emerging new threats. Absolute American military hegemony is of little help when the country appears to be increasingly bogged down in both a more or less "traditional" guerrilla war in Iraq, as well less traditional wars on "terrorism" and on "rogue states".
Aldershot, U. Some Americans believe that the United States provides this service and that, because of its moderation, other states will continue to appreciate, or at least to accept, its managerial role. Benign hegemony is, however, something of a contradiction in terms. Last year , the balance-of-payments deficit… was about 5 percent of gross national product. This year it may be larger still….
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Imperialism and Dependency: Similarities and Differences with the Marini era
Is it a euphemism for "empire", or does it describe the role of a primus inter pares, a country that leads its allies but does not rule subject peoples? And what are the motives of a hegemon? Does it exert power beyond its borders for its own self-interested purposes? Recent developments in Europe show that the global financial crisis and its consequences are far from being resolved. On the contrary, we are witnessing deepening signs of a meta-crisis which goes beyond the economic sphere. This paper will try to shed some light on the key systemic problems and political implications of post-communist transformation in Central East Europe or CEE.
The region of Central East Europe began to transform at the particular historical juncture of global capitalism. Neoliberalism dramatically shifted the equilibrium between politics and economy in favour of the latter. It must be understood beyond the economy as a particular type of subjectivity based on the prioritisation of economic calculus and radical individualisation, and also as a transnational configuration of state-society relations. However, Central East Europe represents a different pathway to transformation than its more eastern neighbours, mainly the post-Soviet countries of Eastern Europe, such as Belarus, Ukraine, Moldavia and Russia.
These differences are structural, political and cultural, as well as geopolitical. On the other hand, there are also many similarities stemming from general transformative models. And, finally, there are undoubtedly many similar problems shared over the entire continent of Europe and beyond.
This reminds us that any exclusivist view is very limited.
This theory characterises different regions of the world into three categories. In brief, there is a core centre producing industrialised goods, technological innovations and financial services. On the other hand, there is a periphery producing mainly raw materials and selling manual and cheap human labour. Somewhere in-between lies the semi-periphery: a mixture of both production models. The relations between these different entities are very complex and characterised by a mutual but asymmetrical dependency. The developments of the last forty years including de-industrialisation of the core and its increasing financialisation brought in a slightly different quality of centre-periphery relationships.
Furthermore, there are clear signs of new economic and financial centres emerging outside of the West such as China and India. Historically, Central East Europe as well as Eastern Europe has been gradually integrated into the world economy with an increasing focus on the peripheral character of production and relations since the sixteenth century. Throughout this integrative and indeed transformative stage, commercialised agricultural production has been a main export to the core regions of the world economy. The region was located largely outside of main commercial routes which underlined its divergence from Western Europe.
This constellation was later accompanied by the introduction of so-called second serfdom , by the uneven regional distribution of huge semi-capitalist aristocratic estates in the countryside as well as by the weaker or weakening position of cities and slower levels of industrialisation.
Neither phenomenon can be seen as a simple feudal institution but as semi-capitalist phenomena typical for semi peripheral areas of the world economy. At the end of the nineteenth century there was a great divergence over the region — its Western parts became an industrialised semi-periphery while the Eastern parts maintained their peripheral status. It was a re-integration based on systemic path dependent processes internal and external together with adaptation to the new capitalist neoliberal era of the world economy.
Four decades of socialist experimentation with its system-emancipatory efforts which failed but should not be forgotten were not able to overcome this systemic programming.
As Wallerstein pointed out, the socialist experiment was a political structure to help adapt to the consolidation of industrial capitalism used by states of the semi-periphery. Socialist development largely contributed to modernisation but, in parallel, it also underlined or reproduced semi-peripheral or peripheral features of the region.
The neoliberal inspired transformation took over and further accentuated a semi -peripheral status of local economies and democracies. A very similar argument can be made about Europe beyond the European Union — for example, Russia did not overcome its peripheral status as an economy dependent on raw materials and economic conjunctures , which was born back in the sixteenth century. The Czech Republic became export oriented and dependent on strategical areas such as food and agriculture production, but also investments.
Paradoxically, this structural reliance on labour does not meet with the adequate social, educative and health policies needed to develop and protect human capital. This represents a clear divergence from the theory of a labour-based state. In sum, we can speak of an exploitive, short-sighted and socially degradative model. As a result, the economy and social sphere are deformed. And this is, again, intrinsically linked with the systemic conditions of the world economy and domestically created democratic defects.
The ever declining Czech as well as V4 and indeed European welfare system was reoriented around short-term compensation , not development or sustainability. The global crisis only deepened the welfare crisis, leading towards radical austerity policies accompanied by asocial rhetoric and growing political alienation and social deprivation. In short, such an economic model is set up as an export economy based on the sale of underpriced human labour. This has recently been accompanied by an enormous outflow of dividends from the Czech Republic abroad.
And its key receivers are Western corporations and banks also within the EU. In sum, we can speak of an exploitative, short-sighted and socially degradative model. As a result, the economy and social sphere are, and continue to be, deformed. And this is, again, intrinsically linked with the systemic conditions of the world economy and domestically created democratic defects as a composite part of the semi-peripheral condition.
It is inevitable that semi- peripheral neoliberalism works in a complex interplay between imported ideas and ideologies models and local traditions and legacies.
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But this remains generally unreflected and, therefore, a source of growing frustrations and ideological struggles. In his book about post-communism, Croatian philosopher Boris Buden noticed another aspect of transformative processes beyond the economic sphere: the repressive infantilising of Central East European citizenry as a composite part of transformation.
Buden notices largely paternalistic Western discourses embedded in the imperial relationship between the European West and its eastern peripheries which is conceptualised as a relation between the teacher and the apprentice. The children of post-communism began to wake up politically with increasingly sobering feelings, social anxiety and rising levels of frustration.
And the overall picture is rather messy. But is it really so surprising? He argued that there were several dangers and risks related to the fact that transformation is based on three cluster problems: building capitalism, building democracy and building the nation state. In particular, Offe speaks of a failed marketisation due to the preservation of cartels and monopolistic structures, b the obstruction of democratic politics as a result of the interference of domestic and international capital, c the successful marketisation without the ability to generate an equitable distribution of its benefits, or d some kind of authoritarian return to nationalisation of property.
Central East Europe made an interesting road from the past to the past during its so-called post-communist transformation. Of course, the success of transformation is evaluated very differently. Some will argue that it was a success story which has to be repeated in Ukraine now and that economic numbers of regional performance are quite good or not so bad.