Monday, June 27, 2005

Eric Hobsbawm on US hegemony

There's only one part which mentions East Asia, in the first paragraph:

Three continuities link the global US of the cold war era with the attempt to assert world supremacy since 2001. The first is its position of international domination, outside the sphere of influence of communist regimes during the cold war, globally since the collapse of the USSR. This hegemony no longer rests on the sheer size of the US economy. Large though this is, it has declined since 1945 and its relative decline continues. It is no longer the giant of global manufacturing. The centre of the industrialised world is rapidly shifting to the eastern half of Asia. Unlike older imperialist countries, and unlike most other developed industrial countries, the US has ceased to be a net exporter of capital, or indeed the largest player in the international game of buying up or establishing firms in other countries, and the financial strength of the state rests on the continued willingness of others, mostly Asians, to maintain an otherwise intolerable fiscal deficit.


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Read the complete article on ZNet (originally in The Guardian)


I agree with this, and with pretty much everything in the rest of the article, although I would go for a less certain tone on the current and future workings of the global economy (but then, I'm not a Marxist).


There's a biographical article on Hobsbawm, also at the Guardian, from 2002.


he still believes that asking Marxist questions is the way to understand the world - to tackle the big questions, to fit things together into a pattern , "even if it may not be the right pattern". He adds: "I used to believe you could predict the direction in which history goes. But contingency is clearly more important than we used to allow."

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