A year that began hopefully is ending grimly. Western political elites, unable (and perhaps unwilling) to turn a deadly pandemic and climate crisis into a life-preserving opportunity, have only themselves to blame.The West’s wasted crisis
America doesn’t build infrastructure these days unless it’s monopolised. This is the political fight going on in the United States now. President Biden has a infrastructure plan that he’s scaled down from six and a half trillion to three and a half trillion. And essentially the bulk of the Democratic and Republican Party said if we can’t privatise infrastructure and make it a rent-extracting monopoly, we’re not going to do it, and we’re going to block the government from doing it. So in the United States, they’re going to have high priced infrastructure, high-priced health care and high-priced education while China is going to have low-priced transportation, low-cost infrastructure, free education, public health care. And you’re going to have a very high-cost United States unable to compete with the rest of the world. All it can do is make military threats or financial threats. If it tries to impose sanctions as it’s imposed on Russia, China and other countries, these are going to serve as protective tariffs for foreign countries.
What appears to be meant in the U.S. by ‘competing with China’ can be inferred by the rising Pentagon budget, by the failure to raise the minimum wage, by hiring private corporations to get around restrictions on domestic spying, and by appointing a high-level administrator to shut-down inconvenient political opinions on the internet. The political parties are now balkanized to the point where their adherents trust members of their own party, but not the other. What this likely means is an iterative process between ‘wealth of nations’ style economic nationalism and neoliberal internationalism where the only constant is the consolidation of political control by oligarchs and corporate executives. I believe that Italians in the 1920s and 1930s had a name for this type of governance.