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French foreign minister - "magic" over for US
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm not sure what he means by that, but let's quickly examine it:
Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister of France and a longtime humanitarian, diplomatic and political activist on the international scene, says that whoever succeeds President George W. Bush may restore something of the United States' battered image and standing overseas, but that "the magic is over."

[...]

Asked whether the United States could repair the damage it has suffered to its reputation during the Bush presidency and especially since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Kouchner replied, "It will never be as it was before."

"I think the magic is over," he continued, in what amounted to a sober assessment from one of the strongest supporters in France of the United States.
Of course the magic is over until Europe again needs the armed might of the US and then it will be magic time again.

The fact remains that those who needed to be impressed by the willingness of the US to stay and fight have been impressed. And as you might imagine, that group doesn't include France. Regardless of what else might come out of Iraq, the meme "the US is a paper-tiger" is dead. That will have a good long term effect in my estimation.

Whether proving that has killed the "magic" is yet to be seen.

But Kouchner makes an ironic point a little while later:
To those intimidated by or fearful of what seem to be the rising challenges of globalization, climate change, spreading disease or new technology, Kouchner had a simple message: "The great difficulty is to accept this new world."

"There are not more problems - please, have a little memory - than 35 years ago," he said, recalling how, in 1971, he co-founded Médecins Sans Frontières in response to the horrors of the conflict in Nigeria over Biafra.
Yes, do "have a little memory" Mr. Kouchner. 1971, the US was emerging from a deeply unpopular war in Vietnam, was divided at home and very unpopular in the world.

And somehow, it again found enough "magic" for Kouchner to declare it gone. Frankly I see this as merely another convoluted manifestation of the eternal French inferiority complex than a valid opinion of the state of the US.
 
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Of course the magic is over until Europe again needs the armed might of the US and then it will be magic time again.
Bingo. But they’ll never even admit the possibility until the time comes.

Nor will they admit their own decline, even when it’s abundantly obvious. Which means no one has any idea what will make them need our armed might twenty or thirty years from now. Will the unaccountable EU bureaucracy turn into an effectively collectivist dictatorship leading to civil war? Will a resurgent Russia decide to take back its eastern European empire? Will the collapse of their welfare states added to the unrest from Muslim immigration cause the rise of a xenophobic authoritarian who looks at Hitler and Mussolini and decides they had basically the right idea?

No one knows. I mean no one, and especially not pompous academics who think they do. There are far too many variables.

We’ve got our own problems, of course. Our educational system is a shambles. Our own welfare state collapse isn’t that far behind the Europeans, and the gap could narrow if we get HillaryCare. Carrying the entire world’s defense needs on our shoulders is an economic burden we can’t carry forever. We have our own immigration issues.

But at least we’re still having debates over our problems instead of hiding our heads in the sand.

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
No, Billy, the EU bureaucracy won’t become a collectivist dictatorship, and to even suggest civil war shows a real misunderstanding of Europe. The EU bureaucracy remains secondary to state governments and state bureaucracy, and the states of Europe are determined to keep it that way. It is at best a confederation, nowhere close to a federation. I’m not sure where you’re getting your imagery there.

As for the US — the post-war, and Cold War periods are over. After 1985 the US went from a creditor nation a debtor nation, with the level of debt increasing constantly. The US has fed its trade and current accounts deficit by selling the country, essentially, to foreign interests, especially Saudi Arabia and China. This led to an overvalued dollar, sustained by a series of bubbles — which finally burst. The US military is a 20th century military. It can overthrow governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, but even in those tiny countries it is unable to shape the outcome and counter cultural forces. This is showing the massive US military spending to be a waste, the military is not very useful and does little to secure America or promote global stability — in fact, it may be a force increasing global insecurity. The result: the magic is over. The American era is over. We are still a rich country, we are still generally secure. But we are vulnerable in ways we weren’t just two decades ago, we are not as able to project power, we don’t have the moral authority we used to have, and the Iraq war has come to be a symbol of that change in status.

Our future now depends on: a) recognizing the change; and b) adapting to the new conditions in way that preserves our values and deals with the challenges of globalization. So far, neither the GOP with their inability to let go of the fantasy of American power, nor the Democrats with insane attacks on NAFTA and trade, seem able to come up with a solution. I think you guys in this blog have a lot of good ideas — we do need to emphasize freedom — but you can’t seem to get over your militarism. The "nanny state" is at its most potent and dangerous in its military form, but somehow you seem blind to the dangers of a big military, even if you see the dangers of a big domestic bureaucracy. I really can’t understand that.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I read the first line of Erb’s comment without scrolling down, and knew instantly it was him...
As for the US — the post-war, and Cold War periods are over.
And yet we’re the first people the world looks to when there’s a tragety or crisis... "Oh, what will the Americans do?"

One of these days, we’ll do nothing. And then the rest of the world can either cowboy up, or burn. At this point, I’m not sure I’d miss it.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Before there were any comments in this thread I was going to say:

"Everyone get ready to set their watches."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Our magic may be "over", but we somehow don’t have nightly carn burnings by angry unassimilated muslims....
One of these days, we’ll do nothing. And then the rest of the world can either cowboy up, or burn. At this point, I’m not sure I’d miss it
Not until I’ve been to Japan please. After that, I’m done!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Boris:
I think you guys in this blog have a lot of good ideas
My suspicions are immediately raised about "you guys in [sic] this blog."
— we do need to emphasize freedom
How about, just for today, Boris, "we" emphasize your students charging the front of the classroom and pulling your pants up around your neck.
— but you can’t seem to get over your militarism.
Let’s see, five years and a few months later, you still can’t come to grips with UN Security Council resolution 1441.

Teach this stuff, Boris?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
And yet we’re the first people the world looks to when there’s a tragety or crisis.
Nope, those days are gone. With very few exceptions only people in America seem to believe that, it’s a self-serving myth.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Whatever - the magic of France has been over since 1815 but I guess they still exist when Germany doesn’t invade. Personally I think he’s a little premature as Americans don’t have quite the same surrender impulse as the French
 
Written By: Bandit
URL: http://
Boris:
And yet we’re the first people the world looks to when there’s a tragety or crisis.
Nope, those days are gone. With very few exceptions only people in America seem to believe that, it’s a self-serving myth.
Funny stuff.

I recall how early in the Bush administration, before 9/11, Rumsfeld made some noises about shifting the U.S. military emphasis to Asia, including moving most of the troops stationed in Europe to Asian Pacific bases, and there was a freak-out in Europe about it.

Victor Hanson got it exactly right when he described the European free-rider phenomenon as being like adult children living at home with their parents.

How typical of you, Boris, to accuse the U.S. of hubris, while neglecting the narcissistic delusions of your European fatherland.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Prof, wouldn’t it be quicker to post links to stuff you’ve already written?

But...so, this period that’s over, I guess it ended after the Tsunami that swamped the shores of Southeast/west Asia?

20th Century Military? What does that mean? Can you find me an example of the army from the past that ever dealt with, say, Afghanistan effectively & forever? I can site a lot of examples of insurgencies and local rebellions finally overcoming (or looking like they’ve overcome) a colonial imposition (which is not even what we’re attempting, you might admit), I can’t find a whole lot of cases where anybodies military solved a native insurgency problem forever in a ’reasonable’ fashion (see, I don’t think slaughtering the locals as an example to "stop that sh!t!" is a reasonable answer) so I’m not sure what military you THINK you’re talking about that we’re not as good as.

Feel free to prove me wrong about that though, you study this sh!t, I just read history.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
And yet we’re the first people the world looks to when there’s a tragety or crisis.
Nope, those days are gone. With very few exceptions only people in America seem to believe that, it’s a self-serving myth.
So the Philipines and India are gonna give us back 100% of the MOUNTAIN of aid we gave them when they had natural disasters? They gonna pay us back for the uncountable man-hours we spend rescuing their asses from Death?

I didn’t think so.

When there’s a catastrophic natural disaster, we are the first ones to send help, both in materials and manpower.

But I suppose that crap doesn’t count, does it. We’re such horrible people. I don’t even know how you can stand to live here.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
The dollar is worth the same as it was in 1996.

When a "bubble burst" puts you a little worse off, but still better off than most of your life, that’s not a bad thing.


 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
To covet the affections of the Europeans is to go down the wrong path in any event. Personally, I am very skeptical of any would-be US President who announces that one of his goals is to place America in a position where we are better-liked by the Western Europeans.

Remember this: the Europeans are very happy to allow genocide to occur right next door, as they did in the Balkans. I don’t think they are in a position to judge the US; rather, I think the leadership of Western Europe is in need of redemption themselves.

Western Europeans, take a risk for human freedom. Stop the economic, demographic and cultural death spirals of your own nations. At that point I will stop treating the prospect of your friendship so dismissively.

Until then, you are a lightweight whether you are willing to admit it or not.

—-John Johnson
 
Written By: John Johnson
URL: http://
Umm. How does failing to catch the guy who actually attacked us and then getting the bettter part of our deployable forces bogged down for five years by a bunch of guys with old AKs and RPGs prove to people that the US is not a paper tiger? Is being Brer Rabbit furiously punching away at the tar baby better than being a paper tiger?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
So the Philipines and India are gonna give us back 100% of the MOUNTAIN of aid we gave them when they had natural disasters? They gonna pay us back for the uncountable man-hours we spend rescuing their asses from Death?
It’s good that the American people contribute to helping alleviate natural disasters (and good that it’s largely private donations, a strong sense of volunteerism). But that hardly means the world looks to us first every time there’s a crisis. And, of course, donations come from all over on those sorts of things. But that really doesn’t counter anything I’ve said about how our world role is fundamentally altered due to the changes of especially the last 20 years.

As for the Europeans allowing genocide...hmmm, how does one allow genocide? Are we any better than they are? We all "allowed" it in Rwanda, the Europeans and Americans refused to intervene. We all did intervene in the Balkans, though the crimes there were small compared to the crimes in Rwanda.

The dollar has not been this low against major currencies. The only way one can try to prop up its value is to compare it to third world currencies, and include currencies tied to the dollar. $1.55 per Euro is unheard of. In 1996 I was in Germany and got 1.52 DM for the dollar. Back in 1991 when he had a real economic downturn, it was 1.36 DM to the dollar, a weaker dollar than in 1996. One Euro = 1.95 DM. That means in 1996 for a dollar you’d get .78 Euro (now you get .64). Even in 1991 it was .70. Not only that, but it appears still that the dollar is overvalued, and that the changes this time are structural and will not be undone anytime soon.

Keep whistling past the graveyard. But you have to really dig deep to try to find ways to deny the real changes in our global position. The old era is over, and I think most Americans realize that.

As for the 20th century vs. 21st century militaries — the very nature of power, states, and threats has changed and large militaries like ours of of limited value. They seem more a relic, caught up in the trap President Eisenhower warned us about at the end of his administration. We need to cut military spending dramatically, it does us little to no good, and has created a temptation to abuse power which has hurt the country immensely. If we don’t choose to do so, we’ll be forced to do so.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Nope, those days are gone. With very few exceptions only people in America seem to believe that, it’s a self-serving myth.
Well, considering that we have a per capita GDP of about $43k vs Germany at $31k (PPP), and that we have by far the greatest navy in the world, that’s pure BS.

In fact, recently on another board, we had a discussion of regional risks and naval/air power: in the South Pacific, the immediate response to Chinese military agression would likely come from the Aussies, but they would be holding the line until the USN arrived. The Aussie and English oparticipants in the discussion had their own view of things, but all agreed that the USN was the "calvery".

Simply put, the US is the only country with the economy, technology, and military capacity to do any real heavy lifting.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The dollar has not been this low against major currencies. The only way one can try to prop up its value is to compare it to third world currencies, and include currencies tied to the dollar. $1.55 per Euro is unheard of. In 1996 I was in Germany and got 1.52 DM for the dollar. Back in 1991 when he had a real economic downturn, it was 1.36 DM to the dollar, a weaker dollar than in 1996. One Euro = 1.95 DM. That means in 1996 for a dollar you’d get .78 Euro (now you get .64). Even in 1991 it was .70. Not only that, but it appears still that the dollar is overvalued, and that the changes this time are structural and will not be undone anytime soon.
So what. I don’t care that much that the $ is weak, I’m much more interested in things like GDP, per capita GDP, and employment. When our per capita GDP or employment figures match eurotrash numbers, I’ll worry.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
As for the 20th century vs. 21st century militaries — the very nature of power, states, and threats has changed and large militaries like ours of of limited value. They seem more a relic, caught up in the trap President Eisenhower warned us about at the end of his administration. We need to cut military spending dramatically, it does us little to no good, and has created a temptation to abuse power which has hurt the country immensely. If we don’t choose to do so, we’ll be forced to do so.
Pure BS. In actual fact, the PRC was alarmed at our invasion of Iraq, and the rapid success we achieved, and they have been remodeling their forces on lessons learned from our invasion.

Rummy was in fact part right, I think, about a leaner military, except for the rebuild phase in Iraq, which called for a different model. We have, IMO, some issues to work out, but we still need a significant military.

It is easy to miss the threats we face, because they are unwilling to confront us head on, so you can engage your pacifist fantasy, but the grown-ups still need to provide for defense. And, by the way, the Iraq invasion was not an abuse of power.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Apparently, Erb didn’t check out my link. That link was written by a real economist, not a Poli Sci prof pretending he’s an expert on economics.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
It’s good that the American people contribute to helping alleviate natural disasters
I think we’re talking about AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AID made within hours of the disaster, not the personal contributions which countless thousands of private citizens also made afterwards.
The old era is over, and I think most Americans realize that.
Well, most Americans stuck in your classes might start to think that, yes.
Fortunately your ability to project power really is limited.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Simply put, the US is the only country with the economy, technology, and military capacity to do any real heavy lifting.
Remember a couple of weeks ago when the market took a day and a half tumble?

That was one country’s economy falling down because of massive fraud by one guy.

We ended the day about 300 down from Start of Day, and were up by day 2. WE held the world economy together. People in the UK, France, and Japan were saying "I hope America does something about this..."

Well, lucky for them we did.

We take economic body-blows that would utterly destroy ANY other country. We took 9-11 and Katrina pretty much in stride, with no where near the level of help from the outside total than we give alone when someone else is knocked down.

You know what? they can laugh and mock us all they want. They can even hate us, really. We’ve kept the world from falling apart for a century, and we’re still at it. They can suck my left one, for all I care.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Apparently, Erb didn’t check out my link. That link was written by a real economist, not a Poli Sci prof pretending he’s an expert on economics.
Your link did absolutely nothing to counter my argument.

Scott J., you sound a bit overly defensive in your chest thumping there. Yes, after WWII we helped Europe rebuild and had a very good alliance. Those were the days — we had the ’magic.’ But those days are gone, a different generation, an era of past generations.

And if you think 9-11 or Katrina were "body blows that would destroy other countries" you really need ot read international news. 9-11 did only minor damage, it was more spectacle than real. Bangladeshi floods make Katrina look like a little inconvenience, let alone comparing Katrina to earth quakes and disasters world wide. We’re learning humility. And that’s a good thing.

It’s also interesting how we don’t fare real well on a lot of comparative statistics on quality of life issues. You guys seem to feel some emotional need to try to believe we’re "the best." That’s just silly.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Historically the dollar has been declining against the DM since the end of the WWII.

I take that as a reflection of a strengthening Germany, rather than necessarily a decline in the United States.

Trend
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Erb doesn’t seem to remember the Carter years. He has such high regard for Carter but he doesn’t seem to remember that Inflation was 5 times what is is today. The Unemployment rate was double what we see today. Gold was hitting new heights and so was the price of oil - so high for both that when considering inflation, we have a long way to go to beat the highs we faced in those days. And the US was being held to ransom by a ragtag bunch of activists holding the memebers of our Embassy in and around Tehran with the complete support of the Iranian leadership of the day.

Things were so bad, Carter gave his infamous "Malaise" speech which basically called upon the American people to give up their American dreams and seek the new reality of the day - as defined by Carter.
The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us. For the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe that the next 5 years will be worse than the past 5 years. Two-thirds of our people do not even vote. The productivity of American workers is actually dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world.

As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning.


The entire world was watching as it seemed we began to fall apart at the seams, and the leadership or lack therein provided by Carter and his administration was only hastening the day of our complete downfall. Our arch-nemesis, the Soviet Union, finally determining that Carter was nothing more than an empty suit, invaded Afghanistan. And Carter’s response? Cancelling our participation in the 1980 Summer Olympics.

I remember leaving the US in 1978 as an Air Force Captain for a one year tour in Korea. This was before anybody had ever heard of Iran much less some Islamic mystic known as the Ayatollah. But the level of confidence I saw in our country was heart breaking. That confidence did not return until January 1981 with Ronald Reagan’s inauguration - and then I saw people holding their heads up and tacking the problems around them with a passion not seen for a long time.

So Erb can play at his Chicken Little farce and declare the end of the US but I remember days far blacker than any in that academic’s life and believe me - we are so much better off today that we ever were in 1979!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Mr. Koucher’s statements clearly look to this untrained eye as the classic case of "Projection".
 
Written By: Darby Shaw
URL: http://dndnl.com/WordPress/
written by a real economist
,

Oh, by the way, it’s hilarious that you commit argument from authority here. Since someone is an economist (and they all agree on these things, right — no disagreement amongst economists) and he says that in a trade weighted overall valuation the dollar has been at this level in 1996, that this somehow disproves anything I’ve said? I mean, huh? It doesn’t at all even begin to addresses my position. You’re playing that deceptive little game of giving and link and then acting like it says more than it does.

And, of course, if you want to trust economists completely, remember Paul Krugman is an economist.

It is not true, looker, that historically the dollar has been declining against the D-Mark and then Euro since WWII. After the fall of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates, there was a revaluing. The dollar hit a low against the D-Mark in 1991. It bounced up within a couple years, and by the end of the 90s it was back around 1.80 DM per dollar. The Euro was introduced to be at 1.25 Euro per dollar, but quickly plummetted to about .80 per dollar. Now, at $1.55 per Euro, the Euro and I think every European currency out there is at its high point against the dollar. This has helped lower the US current accounts deficit, and the Europeans are worried the Euro is getting too strong. There will be a balancing out. We don’t feel the effect as much as we could if oil switched to the Euro (there is talk of that), or if China or other countries allowed their currencies to break from the dollar. Right now Chinese goods remain cheap, and China is content to sell to us and finance some of our debt by buying American stocks and bonds. We get their cheap stuff, they get part of our country. Great deal, no?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It’s also interesting how we don’t fare real well on a lot of comparative statistics on quality of life issues.
You really cherry pick the data to find the results you want, don’t you?

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
SSHiell: The 70s did a short term shock to the economy, but it we were on far stronger structural ground then were then for a comeback. Also, remember in the 80s the growth was fueled in large part by plummeting oil prices, and an increase in US deficit spending. The former is unlikely to come to the rescue now, and the latter is no longer feasible given our high debt load. But the 70s can’t be used to avoid confronting the reality of the current situation. That’s like telling a patient who is ill, "well you were sick before and you got better, so inevitably you’ll get better now." If the earlier illness was the flu and the current one a cancer, the situation may be much different.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It’s also interesting how we don’t fare real well on a lot of comparative statistics on quality of life issues.
You really cherry pick the data to find the results you want, don’t you?

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Almost missed this:
So Erb can play at his Chicken Little farce and declare the end of the US
Who declared the "end of the US?"! I’m noting that our relative position has declined — which I think was to be expected — and that we have important choices to make on how we respond and engage the rest of the world in an era of globalization. We make good choices and recognize the reality of our situation, we can adapt and do very well. We try to pretend like it’s still the late 20th century and we’re the ’world leader,’ and we’ll get slapped in the face by reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And the US was being held to ransom by a ragtag bunch of activists holding the memebers of our Embassy in and around Tehran with the complete support of the Iranian leadership of the day
That same ragtag group is now, btw, the Iranian Leadership...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I miss when Erb was away from the internet...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Who declared the "end of the US?"! I’m noting that our relative position has declined — which I think was to be expected
To some extent that’s true, but it’s due to the rise of China and India. We have serious issues to engage, your side has no answers, although I guess we could all just embrace Gore and GW theory and engineer a real US decline . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
It is not true, looker, that historically the dollar has been declining against the D-Mark and then Euro since WWII
Yeah, that trend chart and all, that was just stuff someone made up. You’re on to the real truth of course because in your version of the universe it’s not enough that the dollar and the mark change position with respect to each other, it’s important that it back up your argument.

Looked like an overall downward trend to me on that chart, even considering the revaluations but hey, you study this sh!t and I just read charts.

You should be happy man, it shows we’ve been in decline since the end of WWII!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
.
You’re on to the real truth of course because in your version of the universe it’s not enough that the dollar and the mark change position with respect to each other, it’s important that it back up your argument.
No, I just have the facts to back me up. You don’t. In fact, the data on the "trend" page you link supports my position. Look at the data from the late eighties onward! In fact, from 1978 onward there is no real trend in terms of DM vs. dollar, they change places. The real downward trend of the dollar grows after 2002, which fits my argument. So you’re giving facts that support me. The trend in the nineties was for a stronger dollar. The dollar was very strong in 2000, as it equalled about .80 Euro, which would have been well over 2 DM (stronger than in 1978). So the trend line from 1990 to about 2002 was one of the dollar becoming more valuable. Since then, the dollar has decreased in value, due largely to the fact it was overvalued by the end of the 90s. You could see by 2005 that the huge current accounts deficit meant the dollar was overvalued, and it could not be sustained at that level.

Do you have anything countering this?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
To some extent that’s true, but it’s due to the rise of China and India. We have serious issues to engage, your side has no answers, although I guess we could all just embrace Gore and GW theory and engineer a real US decline . .
Your biggest error here is in treating this like a football game, with two sides competing. That is an error made by many on "all sides" of the debates. What we have are different perspectives and ideas, and rather than trying to simply insult those with a different perspective, it’s better to engage and actually talk about ideas. I don’t have a side. I think global warming is a problem, but I’m on record here disagreeing with the idea that government regulations are the way to solve it. I’m saying there are huge problems, and pointing out structural difficulties in the current US situation. A lot of respond as if it’s just a political argument, and anything that disagrees with your perspective deserves ridicule and denial, but NOT real engagement or counter argumentation. You seem to assume you’re right and not even consider alternate arguments. I am trying to consider alternate arguments, but so far I haven’t seen any except: a) argument by insult, which is a fallacy; b) argument by saying ’we had bad times before and got through them,’ which doesn’t really address the current situation; c) a 1996 weighted exchange rate comparison, which doesn’t address any issue I made; and d)a page of data from looker which I think really supports the point I made on exchange rates.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Nice job, Scott, but reason & realism doesn’t get one very far with the America Uber Alles crowd, well, unless and until there’s a Democratic president (8 months hence, I reckon). Then, of course, they’ll discover all kinds of indicators demonstrating US decline, attributable directly to librul governance. For example, remember when Clinton’s blow job was the purported cause of our plunging moral standing in the world? Yet our countenance of torture, no, that’s certainly not reason enough for the world to hold us in lower regard.

For some of the conservative bent, it’s a pathology—love it or leave it— but for most, it’s merely a political football (which, of course, both parties kick back and forth). Doesn’t hold much promise for rectifying things, does it?
 
Written By: Dolf Fenster
URL: http://
Ya know, I would have considered a drop from 4.17 DM to the dollar to 2.067 DM to the dollar on the annual averages from 1960 to 1999 a drop, but that’s just me.
Oh, right, things changed and the values changed....yeah, that’s the bleedin point ain’t it? Mumbling about how many DM to the dollar for periods you can use for your argument and then ignoring others you can’t use - that’s sound work.

Now the recent trend down is a, recent trend down...which could stay with the overall trend down, or could be a low spike like that period when one of your favorite Presidents was in charge.

But you won’t be able to safely say that for another 3 years or so.

The fact that we’re also now measuring against the combined ’currency’ of Europe instead of any individual country is also a factor, but hey, whatever.
’we had bad times before and got through them,;
yeah, see difference is, experience tells US that this is highly possible and if we have confidence and work together we can make it so.

As opposed to
which doesn’t really address the current situation
The Erboracles statement that because you’ve read the economic/world conditions goat’s entrails, we’re actually doomed and we should just shut up and accept our lower place in the order of the universe.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"20th Century Military? What does that mean?"

How would he know? It is just a nice sound bite.


"As for the 20th century vs. 21st century militaries..."

We are 8 years into the century, and already the strategic wunderkind knows what kind of military organization & equipment will be needed. I guess that comes from a rigorous study of military history.


"Your link did absolutely nothing to counter my argument."

It is not an argument, it is an assertion, an opinion. The only refutation necessary is "you are wrong".

Considering that the dollar isn’t even worth a dollar anymore, I see no reason why it should not also fluctuate against other currencies. The tide comes in, the tide goes out. In the ’60s the British pound was worth about $2. It then fell precipitously. It is now again worth $2. Ho hum.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Ya know, I would have considered a drop from 4.17 DM to the dollar to 2.067 DM to the dollar on the annual averages from 1960 to 1999
Now you’re just being dishonest. You know that I said that the dollar did adjust after the fall of the Bretton Woods system, but that after 1978 it fluctuated within a relatively narrow band. Then, starting in 2002 it began a new fall to lower levels than ever. Instead, rather than have the decency and honor to admit I’m right about this, your pride gets you to hide behind expanding the years and pretending that denies my point. Yes, in 1999 it was lower than in 1960. But from 1978 on it wasn’t in steady decline by any means.

Maybe you need to step back and take a hard look at yourself. You’re not only being dishonest, but transparently so.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It is not an argument, it is an assertion, an opinion. The only refutation necessary is "you are wrong".
No, I explained the rationale and made an argument. If someone doesn’t want to think they can simply say "you are wrong." Hopefully such people aren’t in positions of responsibility, especially in terms of helping people learn how to think critically.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’m saying there are huge problems, and pointing out structural difficulties in the current US situation. A lot of respond as if it’s just a political argument, and anything that disagrees with your perspective deserves ridicule and denial, but NOT real engagement or counter argumentation. You seem to assume you’re right and not even consider alternate arguments.
I think you are simply providing a political argument. Why? Well, you focus on the decline of the doller, which I don’t equate with the decline of the US. You talk about deficits, but I don’t see that as decline either. You believe that European nations with weak per capita GDP and high unemployment and low growth are gaining on us.

Also, I don’t see much in your argument pointing towards real structural problems with the US. Rather, our Euro friends, with their welfare states, high taxes, weak military, and assimilation failures face much more significant structual problems.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I love it when everyone gets worried about the "weakening" dollar.

Hey, in China and Europe everyone has the exact opposite worry about their "strengthening" currencies harming their exports.

Just wait until a "severely weakened" dollar means more factories built in the USA instead of in China or France or Japan. Then all of a sudden, it will be a boon.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Uh, Don, you’re the one who brought up the rise of China & India as some sort of metric of comparative strength and influence, and their per capita GDPs are much lower than either the US or the EU. Too, if huge account deficits in trade and government aren’t structural problems, it’s difficult to see what would qualify as such in your book.

How ’bout this for a structural problem: the libertarian, theocratic, national-security state, which so many conservatives appear to champion, is a structural impossibility. And no amount of "USA, USA" can make it possible; rather, the jingoism has mostly served to obscure the structural tensions in both the Republican party and the nation.

By the way, most all movements for social justice in the US have come to flourish on the heels of our participation in past wars, and upon the return of our troops to their families and communities. It has something to do with the examples of shared sacrifice set by the returning soldiers, especially their own recognition of responsibility for their fellows on the battlefield, and hence for their fellow citizens at home.

Perhaps that’s why so many conservatives are vehemently opposed to our forces drawing down in Iraq. They imagine that a few more years of Norquistian "drowning the baby" is all that it will take. As the federal government collapses into insolvency, the US can then be made to focus on funding principally the military (the federal government’s sole constitutional responsibility, I’ve heard it claimed). Hey, at least we’ll have the troops to quell the domestic turmoil. No structural problems associated with any of that scenario, no siree.
 
Written By: Dolf Fenster
URL: http://
I think you are simply providing a political argument. Why? Well, you focus on the decline of the doller, which I don’t equate with the decline of the US. You talk about deficits, but I don’t see that as decline either. You believe that European nations with weak per capita GDP and high unemployment and low growth are gaining on us.
I have two young sons and I’m worried about the future. I see our country not only having gone from being a net creditor to the world’s largest debtor (starting in 1985), having large debt, and having a life style financed by China, Saudi Arabia and others buying stock and currency. I’ve argued for years the dollar is way overvalued, and a steep decline could have a real negative impact on our economy, with a worst case scenario being a flight of foreign capital. China also is not going to keep flooding us with cheap products that they finance by buying our bonds. By the way, on CNN I heard a commentator make essentially the same kind of argument I’ve been making — a conservative named Glenn Beck. So my economic argument is one that crosses the political lines, it is one of genuine concern about the country and its economic health.

In Europe they do have demographic problems and need to reform their welfare system (though higher taxes aren’t necessarily a problem if they are accepted by the public and used in a productive manner). Since I am convinced that military spending is wasteful and only necessary for defensive purposes, I think the Europeans are much smarter by not focusing on military spending. Why should they? It’s a waste of money. Look at the opportunity costs of our massive spending on a needless war in Iraq, one that has weakened us, divided the country and brought no real gains. When I talk with young people I do think that even among Republicans there is agreement that the Iraq war was a mistake and we can’t think we can save the world. But I’m convinced that if we don’t make some real changes my sons won’t have the same kind of opportunities and freedoms I’ve enjoyed.

After all, a weaker dollar should help our manufacturing base...but it’s mostly disappeared. The jobs are in the service sector, and they’re declining. At the very least, I think people need to acknowledge that the US is not immune to real structural problems.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
At the very least, I think people need to acknowledge that the US is not immune to real structural problems.
And to my knowledge, no one here is doing that. We have problems in this country - what a concept. No one is refuting that. You can point to the credit crisis of today and I can point to the Savings & Loan crisis of times past. You can point to the fluctuating markets on Wall Street and I can point to Black Monday of 1987. You can point to the declining dollar and I can point to lots of times of ups and lot of times of downs. You can point to our low esteem in the world and I can point to the Carter (your hero) years as being equally bad if not worse in world esteem. What most of the commentors here seem to be doing is refuting your constant harangue that the US is in decline.

If we are in decline, there must be an understudy. Care to hazard a guess? I mentioned earlier that the Carter (your hero) years gave us double digit inflation and unemployment figures that approached 10%. Today those unemployment figures are the norms for Europe and their inflation figures are far higher than we have experienced since the Carter (your hero) years. And given the massive poverty in India, I don’t consider them too much of a threat. And that leaves China - and exactly what do you make of an emerging power saddled with a Communist government, trying desperatly to merge capitalism with their socialistic ideology. So with those thoughts in mind, who do we pass the baton of world leadership to?

I mentioned earlier the Carter (your hero) years and even his infamous "Malaise" speech and the resultant recovery and, with the power of your hindsight, you blew me off. And, with less evidence than I produced, you essentially state we have begun that inevititable slide to mediocrity. Well, your snapshot is no better than mine and I disagree with you.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Maybe you need to step back and take a hard look at yourself. You’re not only being dishonest, but transparently so.
I’ll take that under advisement, considering the source of the statement.
Meanwhile, try not to get all emotional okay?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
SShiell - thank you well said.

I don’t want "rah rah rah, we’re the best" 24/7, so I for damn sure don’t have to sit and listen to "we suck" either.

We have problems, we’ll fix em, we can, we have before, and we will.
But even with our problems, I’d rather be us than most Euro countries, thanks.

Scott, you strike as a guy constantly apologizing to foreigners for being American.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Actually, SShiell, despite your attempts to obfuscate, you’re simply wrong. First, I think Carter did not do a very good job as President, he’s certainly not my hero (though as an ex-President he’s done much better).

But if you’re going to analyze a situation it’s NEVER enough to say "we solved problems in the past, we’ll solve them now." Obviously eras and problems are different. Moreover, I’m not arguing we won’t solve the problems, I’m arguing that the nature of these problems are such that we have to deal with some fundamental structural issues, and recognize that what Charles Krauthammer called a "unipolar moment" was just that — a moment. Even the neo-conservatives knew the time of America as the dominant world power would be short, that’s the way the world works.

We are entering a period of true multipolarity. Russia, buoyed by oil revenues is partnering more with a Europe that needs Russian oil and gas. China is competing for energy resources and growing dramatically, also making deals with Europe. Latin American states are forging new ties and political arrangements. The US is one actor of many. Unlike the 70s we are a debtor nation, our industrial base has been downsized, we rely on cheap Chinese imports for our standard of living, and we have a massive current accounts deficit (though the low dollar has improved it) financed by foreign funding. These are new and different problems than the seventies. Perhaps its too complex for you to think about, it’s easier to say "inflation was high then and we got through it" and have a faith based notion that all problems will be solved because some problems in the past were solved. We had a great depression and got through that too. And if you’d been in England in 1911 you’d have poo-poo’d any suggestion that the British Empire might be at risk by global events.

You guys like to posture and insult, but it’s disappointing that you don’t actually engage the issue. You seem to think it politically incorrect to raise the possibility that structural issues threaten us with real decline. It’s as if emotion takes over at that point, and you don’t want to actually face hard issues. These are serious issues. Do you really think it’s right to simply brush them aside, given all the changes globalization and the age of terrorism have brought and say "all problems will be solved" and simply go on faith?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I don’t see how our optimism is worth any less then your pessimism.

"go on faith" - 99.99% of the things that will make us stronger, or weaker, as a country, are beyond my control, are beyond your control.

This means I have, at some point, to do exactly what you’re upset about.
I have to go on faith in my fellow Americans.
I don’t always love our decisions, but in the end, I have faith we’ll do the right thing, even if we do a lot of screaming and yelling on the way to the right decision.

If you don’t think we’ll make the right decisions to keep our place as a dominant (a word I find distasteful) country, then it means I sleep better at night than you do.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I don’t see how our optimism is worth any less then your pessimism.
I’m giving the reasons I think we need to change course, deal with some structural issues we’ve not dealt with in the past and think about what globalization means for our future. These issues are being raised across the political spectrum. If I point them out and the response is "don’t worry, it’ll all work out," with no explanation of how and why, then it brings less to the discussion than I do. I do think that, even though yeah, things are outside our control, it’s good for people in a polity to discuss, debate, listen and try to figure things out. You never know what kind of ideas can emerge, and how that might impact our politics. Otherwise, why even discuss politics?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You seem to think it politically incorrect to raise the possibility that structural issues threaten us with real decline.
Now who’s trying to obfuscate. Nobody here is disputing that we live in interesting times nor is anybody disputing that there are not challenges aplenty in the world around us but I see only one person who continually preaches gloom and doom for America and that is you. Just because we disagree is not cause for you to blow us off:
It’s as if emotion takes over at that point, and you don’t want to actually face hard issues.
Has anybody here said they were not serious issues? As far as I can see there is only one person here who doesn’t actually engage an issue and that is you. Just because someone disagrees with you, you tend to blow them off, not with fact but your own opinion and then proceed as if your opinion was a consensus driven fact:
The 70s did a short term shock to the economy, but it we were on far stronger structural ground then were then for a comeback.
Here you can benefit from having 20/20 hindsight but then you conveniently continue:
But the 70s can’t be used to avoid confronting the reality of the current situation.
As if your opinion were fact. It ain’t! But you consider it as such and proceed as if there isn’t any further discussion that needs to be made in this arena. To paraphrase you: Given all the changes globalization and the age of terrorism have brought and say "all problems will not be solved" and simply go on faith that America is doomed?

Just because you can yell louder than your opponent does not make you right.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I want to take issue with Prof. Erb’s statement that we have structural problems stemming from our deficits, both fiscal and trade. First, our current fiscal deficit as a % of GDP (an important distinction which never seems to come up)is 1.2%. The average since 1968 is a deficit of 2.4%. The average from 1992 to 2000 was -1.2%. So all told, it’s no disaster. Not ideal given where we are in the cycle but not sure I buy the U.S. in secular decline argument based on it.

The trade deficit is more interesting. An interesting book by Andy Kessler called Running Money posits the following: because manufacturing is moving to low cost countries, we’re always going to run a trade deficit. And it doesn’t matter. Why? Think about who makes money on the exchange. Intel and Microsoft might export $350 worth of goods to a Malaysian factory for assembly, and the U.S. consumer imports a $1000 computer from said factory. The net result is a trade deficit of $650. But Intel and Microsoft make an 80% profit margin while the manufacturer makes something like 5%. I know which side of the trade I want to be on.

Which isn’t to say this can’t change. There may be an Indian programmer working on an OS that will replace Microsoft or a Chinese PhD who has a radically advanced chip design idea. But that’s the beauty of global competition. U.S. companies will have to innovate to compete and the consumer ultimately gains.
 
Written By: Tom
URL: http://
You never know what kind of ideas can emerge
since you’re trying to convince people to listen to you (or are you just lecturing?) you ought to consider that the ideas that consistently emerges from your posts are:

"We suck, we’re arrogant, we’re wrong".

further reading is will render it more finely to :
"I, Scott Erb, don’t like the war in Iraq, we need to atone for it, if necessary by becoming a second rate power and throwing the Iraqi’s to the wolves"

And finally
"the Europeans are smarter than we are about things in the world".

If the viewing audience tends to resist these markedly negative philosophies you shouldn’t be surprised, especially if we, too, have experience looking at the world and it’s history, and our history, many of us having LIVED it, from our own lives as Americans.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
And heh - on second thought, why am I not surprised you have this view - after all, you work in one of the FEW areas of American society where it will actually get you job security, promotion, and the positive recognition of your peers.
You’ve been rewarded for this sort of thinking for so long you can’t help yourself.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
As far as I can see there is only one person here who doesn’t actually engage an issue and that is you.
One look up this thread shows you are wrong here. I not only brought up issues, responded to things others brought up, but I pointed to facts, brought in info on exchange rates (even calculating DM to Euro to show the ongoing trend), and answered any substantive question raised. You’re simply throwing out charges you have to know are not true.

You also make it sound like I said something completely opposite of what I said:
As if your opinion were fact. It ain’t! But you consider it as such and proceed as if there isn’t any further discussion that needs to be made in this arena. To paraphrase you: Given all the changes globalization and the age of terrorism have brought and say "all problems will not be solved" and simply go on faith that America is doomed?
First, I stated my opinion and explained why I didn’t think the seventies can simply be cited as proof we’ll get through these problems and no discussion is needed. I stated an opinion and supported it (and in reading these blogs most people state their opinion ’as if it were fact,’ it would in fact be bad style if people prefaced everything with ’in my opinion, in my interpretation’ it should be self evident that is what we are all doing.

Second, I requested discussion on the issues, noting there were different perspectives — you are claiming that I said there should be no discussion which is the OPPOSITE of what I claimed. Finally in terms of "all problems will not be solved and America is doomed," which you claim paraphrases me, you ignore the following, posted above:

I’m noting that our relative position has declined — which I think was to be expected — and that we have important choices to make on how we respond and engage the rest of the world in an era of globalization. We make good choices and recognize the reality of our situation, we can adapt and do very well.
Clearly you are accusing me of saying things diametrically opposed to what I said. Either you are being purposefully dishonest or you aren’t reading carefully.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And stop with the ’dishonesty’ sh!t will you?
Not everyone who disagrees with you is trying to make you out to be a liar, we just disagree with you.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I want to take issue with Prof. Erb’s statement that we have structural problems stemming from our deficits, both fiscal and trade. First, our current fiscal deficit as a % of GDP (an important distinction which never seems to come up)is 1.2%. The average since 1968 is a deficit of 2.4%. The average from 1992 to 2000 was -1.2%. So all told, it’s no disaster. Not ideal given where we are in the cycle but not sure I buy the U.S. in secular decline argument based on it.
I’m more concerned about total debt (which I believe is still at about 70% of GDP), and in fact the fact the industrialized world is in debt at similar levels. I’m a fiscal conservative and distrustful of the neo-classical economics of recent years (in many ways my economic views are close to a lot of people on the right). I don’t think the world can sustain these debt levels and believe that in the current conditions we are risking a currency crisis. I don’t think governments have handled fiscal and monetary policy well. I hope I’m wrong here, but I do think that high government and private debt is a problem — one reason I oppose the stimulus package.
The trade deficit is more interesting. An interesting book by Andy Kessler called Running Money posits the following: because manufacturing is moving to low cost countries, we’re always going to run a trade deficit. And it doesn’t matter. Why? Think about who makes money on the exchange. Intel and Microsoft might export $350 worth of goods to a Malaysian factory for assembly, and the U.S. consumer imports a $1000 computer from said factory. The net result is a trade deficit of $650. But Intel and Microsoft make an 80% profit margin while the manufacturer makes something like 5%. I know which side of the trade I want to be on.
One thing you might want to consider (besides whether or not this is really an indicative example) is the fact that Transnational Enterprises are increasingly not easily tied to one state. Companies are global, and their money can go where it wants globally. The idea of an "American" corporation is giving way to the notion of global corporations, who can invest in China, Korea, or wherever they want. It’s not like the profits come back to the US.

I’m sure some of the Capital Account surplus that finances the current accounts deficit is repatriation of profits, but a huge chunk of it is countries like China and Saudi Arabia buying American stocks, bonds, etc. That concerns me, as well as the fact that China is not going to continue a policy that assures cheap goods to the US. We may end up having to re-develop our industrial base in some industries, which may be good, but there might be a lot of pain in the process.
Which isn’t to say this can’t change. There may be an Indian programmer working on an OS that will replace Microsoft or a Chinese PhD who has a radically advanced chip design idea. But that’s the beauty of global competition. U.S. companies will have to innovate to compete and the consumer ultimately gains.
Again, this notion of "US companies" is already questionable — they are global companies, and their loyalty is to no particular state. I can try to find the graph, but the globalization of capital, or the ability of capital to invest across borders went from rather low in the early 80s (when this process started) to extremely high now. If the trend continues the distinction between American and Chinese companies will be irrelevant — the big players will be international, and they will be looking out for their corporate interests and profits alone.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And stop with the ’dishonesty’ sh!t will you?
Not everyone who disagrees with you is trying to make you out to be a liar, we just disagree with you.
I pointed out direct examples of dishonesty. Claims I said something completely contrary to what I said, and you ignoring my claim that the dollar was overvalued after the fall of the Bretton Woods system but by 1978 or so reached its range and pretending that saying it changed between 1960 and 1999 refuted that. I didn’t make a vague charge like you just did, I gave specific examples. I would not make such a charge if I couldn’t back it up. It has nothing to do disagreements on personal opinions.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If the dollar is overvalued, you get more DM to the dollar, if it’s undervalued you get less, I’m not trying to be tricky about this. the ’value’ much of the time is based, not on any real article, but on confidence.

The conditions for why there are more DM’s or less DM’s to a dollar vary, but the trend, regardless of the reason, since the end of the 2nd World War, is downward, less dollars to DM’s.

This isn’t a trick or any kind of dishonesty. I’m not ignoring your claim that it was overvalued, I’m pointing out that the number of DM’s to a dollar has declined all along FOR WHATEVER REASON.

You’re busy trying to make more of that statement than there is.

Your problem is, whenever you think you’ve made a valid point, and someone else doesn’t agree (or sometimes simply don’t address your point), you’ve decided they’re either being ’dishonest’, or unable to read and comprehend.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, My Grandfather once told me never to wrestle with a pig - You get dirty and the pig loves it.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
The conditions for why there are more DM’s or less DM’s to a dollar vary, but the trend, regardless of the reason, since the end of the 2nd World War, is downward, less dollars to DM’s.
The trend downward stopped around 1980. From then on there was a range in fluctuation. Moreover, the trend in the 90s was upward.

For example: A child is born and grows to be 6 ft. tall by age 18. He dies at age 85 and like all older folk, he’s shrunk a bit, let’s say to 5 ft. 10. Your statement would be the equivalent: "At birth he was 21 inches, at death he was 70 inches, so he had a trend of getting taller."

My response would be the equivalent of: "Look at the data further, and you’ll see the growth trend ended at age 18, and from age 18 to 74 he stayed at a constant height with no trend, and after that a slow downward trend ensued."

OK, I’ll assume you’re telling me the truth about not intending any dishonesty, so I’ll withdraw that charge and apologize for putting out there so quickly. But do you see my point? The dollar, overvalued in the Bretton Woods era, had adjusted for that by the late seventies/early eighties. There is no constant downward trend from WWII onward.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I understand your point, you’ve chosen to ignore mine.
The dollar (perhaps overvalued????? hint hint) adjusted against the Euro (again) recently.
The trend downward stopped around 1980. From then on there was a range in fluctuation. Moreover, the trend in the 90s was upward.
The trend upward from the 90’s stopped around the time the Euro was introduced. Moreover it has since been downward (again).

Overall net, less DM’s to the dollar between the end of WWII and today.

Your projection, apparently, is it won’t rise again as it did after Reagan came into office. You don’t have any evidence of that you just seem to be sure it won’t based on your view we’re re-adjusting our position in the great world order stack (where an unspecified ’new power’ is going to rise to the top)

Lacking future proof, your feeling the dollar won’t rise against the Euro again is just as valid as my feeling it probably will.


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The trend upward from the 90’s stopped around the time the Euro was introduced.
You still aren’t analyzing or making an argument, you’re just saying "things go up and down." Well, they do. But that doesn’t mean all problems will simply go away. Americans have become complacent. Our generation(s) didn’t experience world war, crisis, or the depression. We tend to think life is always onward, better, more stable. But look at the course of history, there is no reason to expect that somehow we’re immune from crisis. That’s why it’s good to analyze these things and discuss them. The dollar was valued high back in 2000 because we had budget surpluses projected for the future. That was never realistic, we were a bubble economy. Now with debt and a large current accounts deficit, it was inevitable that we’d go through the adjustment. Now we are, it’s almost certainly a recession, some economists think it could get much, much worse. If you don’t want to talk about it, fine. But you seem to think it’s on its face wrong to analyze and come to some sobering conclusions.

Please read up — online realclearmarkets.com usually has a good mix of perspectives. Try to read it now and then. I think you’ll see that there are reasons to be really concerned. And if you think about global conditions, we’re in a different era than the Cold War, and face new challenges. Globalization is real, it’s globalized capital markets, and expanded trade. I don’t think people have come to grips with what this means.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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