Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Great Republic

An interview with Long Wave master, David Knox Barker:

Q: The book chapter with the most frightening implications was the one entitled, “A Redistributive World Empire.” Please tell us more about it and what are the chances that the U.S. enters into this type of political system in the years ahead?

Barker: I picked up that term from, Redistributive World Empire, from Immanuel Wallerstein. There’s an interesting group called World Systems Analysis that studies the advance of civilizations, cultures, etc. Wallerstein has said that in the past he has said that any world economy has ultimately evolved into a redistributive world empire. Rome is the classic example of this type of empire, where the bread and circuses were required to pacify the masses and the Roman Senate was completely corrupt and of course the Caesars became corrupt and ultimately Rome collapsed. What’s interesting is that Wallerstein’s work has always seen that progression from a world economy to what he calls a redistributive world empire. This time around, however, he’s proposing that each long wave is a kind of birth pang of global socialism. Incidentally, Wallerstein has very left-leaning socialist inclinations. He believes that instead of going toward a redistributive world empire we’re going to go toward global socialism. Of course if you look at what has happened in the last year and the way we responded to the global financial crisis, you have to say, “Oh my goodness, Wallerstein may be right after all.” But if you look closer, what really has transpired is what looks more like a Redistributive World Empire where the middle class is taxed really for the interest of an elite class of political and business managers. I guess another term of Redistributive World Empire would be crony state capitalism. And state capitalism isn’t the same as international free market capitalism.

So basically in the book I present three scenarios. Scenario one is what Wallerstein says, namely that each long wave leads to a bigger crisis of capitalism with the birth of global socialism. I don’t think that’s where we’re headed. Then I examine the observation that in the past a crisis in the world economy always produced a redistributive world empire. You’d have to say that’s the most likely outcome where we’re headed based on the evidence. My proposal is the Great Republic, and I truly believe there is a great chance to go in the direction of true international free market capitalism as a result of the crisis that we’re sailing into. I think as you look around and see the austerity in Ireland and see the Germans preaching austerity to the Greeks, it’s important to realize that austerity is not a redistributive world empire. I actually believe that a sovereign debt collapse would be the ultimate mother of invention leading to the necessity of a Great Republic. There’s definitely the potential for such a collapse to produce change towards the Great Republic.

Read the entire interview:

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