Even if Trump loses by a landslide, the 'global economy' is not coming back

COVID-19 has not only presented the global economy with its greatest public health challenge in over a century, but also likely killed off the notion of America's "unipolar moment" for good. That doesn't mean full-on autarky or isolationism but, rather, enlightened selfishness, which allows for some limited cooperation. Donald Trump's ongoing threats to impose additional tariffs on a range of EU exports are exacerbating this trend as the old post-World War II ties between the two regions continue to fray. Even the possibility of a Biden administration is unlikely to presage a reversion to the status quo ante. Regionalization and multipolarity will be the order of the day going forward.

Many will regard these developments as chiefly driven by geopolitical prerogatives. But over time, the driving engine of the process will be a combination of maturing technologies that are rewriting the laws of profitability in manufacturing and production for advanced economies. The various capacities that enabled a far-flung global supply chain and sent the economies of Asia into hyperdrive over the past 40 years have continued to mature. The rise of China, South Korea and Japan in this period is just a phase of a larger series of advances that are now likely to become more distributed and at the same time reshuffle the geopolitical trend lines we currently experience.

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Why COVID-19 is basically a novelty for the 1% — and a dystopian nightmare for the rest of us

In his now must-see-TV daily press conferences, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has referred to COVID-19 as “the great equalizer.” In the sense that anybody can be infected by the virus, the governor is right. Yet after several months, the data shows clearly the impact is unequally landing on the shoulders of people of color and all but the most wealthy. The health impacts and absence of economic measures to protect them are so extreme that Cuomo’s statements are more than hollow—they are cruel cover-ups.

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Why the oil and gas industry will never be the same

When a staple commodity collapses to negative value it signals that something is clearly amiss in the global economy. When it is a global energy source like crude oil, it does not just signal pain in the oil patch, but an economic dislocation evocative of the Great Depression. Rare is the time when a commodity over which nations have fought wars in the past presents itself as something that traders would literally pay you to take it off their collective hands.

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How new global fault lines could usher in the most profound worldwide changes since World War II

The coronavirus pandemic has upended the global economic system, and just as importantly, cast out 40 years of neoliberal orthodoxy that dominated the industrialized world.

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How the pandemic pulled back the curtain on the flawed global economic system

When the wealthiest country in the world is unable to produce basic medical gear to cope with a rampaging pandemic, it is dealing with a strategic vulnerability by depending on multinational supply chains to produce manufactured goods. Absent sufficient redundancies and physical reserves of resources, “just-in-time” lean supply systems can’t cope with sudden disruptions. The global pandemic of 2020 is a case in point.

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Why the coronavirus could be the tipping point in reshaping the global economy

The coronavirus has now gone global, and economies are in freefall. The pandemic is clearly the precipitating cause of today’s crisis, but there’s an underlying disease that has been with us for a long time: neoliberal economics. Globalized travel and trade, multinational supply lines, offshoring and overly financialized economies that have prioritized banking interests, cartels and oligarchy above all else have made a large portion of our population highly vulnerable to the effects unleashed by this pandemic.

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America's middle class can only survive if the myth of the 'free market' dies

National industrial policy was once something you might read about in today’s equivalent of a friend’s Facebook post, as hard as that might sound to believe. It was in newspapers; it was on the radio. Taxi drivers had opinions about it. That all changed in the last 35 years, when the rise and fall of the stock market and a shallow conversation about unemployment rates took over. Industrial policy became an inside-baseball conversation, and to the extent that it was discussed, it was through the prism of whether it imperiled the golden gospel and great economic distraction of our time, “the free market.”

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Trump may get much of the world’s manufacturing out of China -- but it won’t be coming back to the US

“Chimerica” is a term originally coined by the historian Niall Ferguson and economist Moritz Schularick to describe the growing economic relationship between the U.S. and China since the latter’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. In the words of Ferguson: “The Chinese did the saving, the Americans the spending. The Chinese did the exporting, the Americans the importing. The Chinese did the lending, the Americans the borrowing.” Much of the pre-crisis boom in global trade was driven by this economic symbiosis, which is why successive American presidents tolerated this marriage of convenience despite the increasing costs to the U.S. economy. The net benefits calculation, however, began to change after 2008, and the conflict has intensified further after the 2016 presidential election result. Today, the cumulative stress of Donald Trump’s escalating trade war is leading to if not an irreparable breach between the two countries, then certainly a significant fraying. The imminent resumption of trade talks notwithstanding, the rising cost of the tariffs is already inducing some U.S. manufacturers to exit China. But in most instances, they are not returning to home shores.

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Fears about China emerging as a dominant global force are overblown

It’s become media orthodoxy to suggest that the era of U.S. hegemony is slowly slipping away and migrating to Asia—with China as its locus—as we proceed into the heart of the 21st century. There is, however, a competing narrative, one recently expressed by Michael Auslin on ForeignPolicy.com, who makes the case that the “Asian Century” “is ending far faster than anyone could have predicted. From a dramatically slowing Chinese economy to showdowns over democracy in Hong Kong and a new cold war between Japan and South Korea, the dynamism that was supposed to propel the region into a glorious future seems to be falling apart.”

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The numbers are definitively in: Trump’s tax cuts were an economic dud

The most commonly heard refrain when Donald Trump and the GOP were seeking to pass some version of corporate tax reform went something like this: There are literally trillions of dollars trapped in offshore dollar deposits which, because of America’s uncompetitive tax rates, cannot be brought back home. Cut the corporate tax rate and get those dollars repatriated, thereby unleashing a flood of new job-creating investment in the process. Or so the pitch went.

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America's global dominance is collapsing — here’s what could happen next

The breakdown in the Sino-U.S. trade talks has led a number of commentators to suggest that America’s “unipolar moment” of post-Cold War preeminence is over, as Washington lashes out against a rising China, whose economic rise threatens America’s historic dominance. Direct military violence is highly unlikely, given the inherent fragility of high-tech civilization. We therefore may see Cold War–style conflict between the two superpowers, as relations in trade or national security matters become increasingly poisoned.

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How Boeing might represent the greatest indictment of 21st-century capitalism

A veteran commercial pilot and software engineer with over three decades of experience has just written the most damning account of the recent Boeing 737 fiasco. At one level, author Gregory Travis has provided us with the most detailed account of why a particular plane model once synonymous with reliability became a techno-death trap. But ultimately, his story is a parable of all that is wrong with 21st-century capitalism; Boeing has become a company that embodies all of its worst pathologies. It has a totally unsustainable business model—one that has persistently ignored the risks of excessive offshoring, the pitfalls of divorcing engineering from the basic R&D function, the perils of “demodularization,” and the perverse incentives of “shareholder capitalism,” whereby basic safety concerns have repeatedly been sacrificed at the altar of greed. It’s also a devastating takedown of a company that once represented the apex of civilian aviation, whose dominance has been steadily eroded as it has increased its toxic ties to the U.S. military. In that sense it mirrors the decline of America as a manufacturing superpower. And finally, it shows a company displaying a complete loss of human perspective in the “man vs. machine” debate.

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This is the big illusion Trump is trying to create with his China trade war

Beijing and Washington have been engaged in long-standing negotiations to resolve an increasingly contentious trade dispute. It looks like we are approaching the endgame, but, as James Politi and Lucy Hornby report in the Financial Times, “the two sides remain apart on two key issues—the fate of existing US levies on Chinese goods, which Beijing wants to see removed, and the terms of an enforcement mechanism demanded by Washington to ensure that China abides by the deal.”

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The global economy is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode

In the aftermath of the greatest financial calamity since the Great Depression, then–chief of staff for the Obama administration Rahm Emanuel made the call for aggressive action to prevent a recurrence of the meltdown of 2008.

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Here's why we've been wrong about China all along — and our mistakes might push us into war

Is today’s trade conflict with China beginning to broaden into something bigger and more long-lasting? It would appear so. Much of the current backlash is a product of the West’s longstanding, but misplaced, fawning and awe over Beijing’s historically unprecedented economic advancement over the past 30 years: the naïve assumption that its growing prosperity would inevitably lead to a more open, politically liberalized country whose interests would more closely align with those of the West. As those expectations have been dashed, so too the backlash has arisen accordingly: Many now view China as both a trade cheat and a mounting global security threat, as it approaches economic parity and strategic rivalry with the West. And China’s leadership appears less well-equipped both politically and economically than its Western counterparts to deal with this rising conflict, as it metastasizes into a fully-fledged Cold War 2.0.

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