This is the best review yet, but it does seem to reflect its subject in microcosm, starting powerfully but suffering from an unfocused finish.
Very interesting but as a statistics-loving type, I cringed with concern for conceptual over-fitting the data—fitting data to the models, as it were—in neat, but highly Deus Ex Machina explanation such as the interregnum between Britain's and the US's “active management” of global hegemony causing the Great Depression
Of course, a narrative MUST explain the facts. Still, here is a very evanescent cause cited for a major fact.
Overall a good review, I'd say. And interesting to me because I'm about half-way through The Price of Peace. The one thing I'd say to Carter about your hesitation in looking forward is to remind him of the owl of Minerva.
Does receiving a largely favorable review of Slouching in Dissent disqualify you from the Neoliberal Shill bracket? Our does it mean Dissent now qualifies?
I agree that consolidating retail has always occurred. But the type of technology available to Walmart has allowed acceleration to an unprecedented degree, thus creating instability within communities more quickly than their abilities to adapt. As an aside I would add that the Thirty Glorious Years saw the Industrial Research Lab created brand new industries and new professions. Post Great Recession, we have yet to see a new industry arise until recently. From 2000, technology has largely been about efficiency and squeezing labor. During that era real estate and construction have helped keep people employed in the real economy. Health care, military, and certain tech companies contribute to employment via a Keynesian mechanism. Can the promise of a new power grid, AI, robotics, and space travel create the new industries along with the initially high margins that people desire? Can it keep us ahead of Thomas Malthus’ Devil?
I find it a well-articulated article. As for neoliberalism and its failure to fulfill its social promises, I am not certain if he is lamenting neoliberalism itself or US global leadership with its hawkish foreign policies, along with the deserved consequences. I think mixing economics and politics to explain global disappointment, despite having found substantial wealth, is bound to come to tepid conclusions.
However, I find interest in the notion of hyperglobalization decimating and destabilizing the middle-class America, via NAFTA, GATT/WTO, reminiscing on Bill Goss’ “sucking sound.” Honestly, the erosion of the middle-class began in the 1980’s with the emergence of Walmart and then 25 years later with Amazon. The first casualty was the small family general store, who were then followed by the likes Sears, JC Penny’s, Circuit City, Toys R Us, and more. Of course, this was made possible due to Walmart and Amazon’s early adoption and mastery of information.
But even more broadly, speckled throughout the vignettes given in the long 20th century, the main story being told regarding globalization was that of arbitrage; and hyperglobalization to be that of arbitrage driven by the maturity of information technology. The beginning of global trade was that of simple commercial goods through shipping. This normalized prices between countries. The second was the arbitrage of people or labor in order to work a factory or mine at a foreign location normalizing wage. Third is the movement of capital. Now money, tools, and factories may be moved to the desired location due to favorable laws, labor, or currency advantage. Fourth evolution is the movement of ideas and information, with proper instructions on how to coordinate or build (or print) a particular item without the original expertise being present. Will the promised fifth stage of transhumanism be achieved, that is, the movement of full memories and skills to perform a task at multiple locations?
Of course The Thirty Glorious Years meant both prosperity and stability. But the duration was an aberration. With dramatic changes occurring every 7 to 10 years during the close of the long century, it becomes easy to understand peoples’ uneasiness. People feel threatened in their ability to predict the future, to provide food, or even to service debt in order to maintain an asset. Directly or indirectly, improving the human social and mental condition will necessarily need to address these issues.
He assumes without argument that US protection of manufacturing after the Civil War was beneficial.. Maybe it was, but how and why? And in turn that leads him to assume without argument that the freer trade aspects of [That Which Cannot BE Named] were NOT beneficial. Maybe is wasn't, but how and why?