messier object

whoa there, wsj
2009, December 25, 2:34 pm
Filed under: history | Tags: , ,

But what if the whole notion of global imbalances is a myth, and that policies to reverse them only make things worse?

The blunt fact is that at no point in the past century has there been anything resembling a global economic equilibrium.

Consider the heyday of the “American century” after World War II, when Western European nations were ravaged by war, and the Soviet Union and its new satellites slowly rebuilding. In 1945, the U.S. accounted for more than 40% of global GDP and the preponderance of global manufacturing. The country was so dominant it was able to spend the equivalent of hundreds of billions of dollars to regenerate the economies of Western Europe via the Marshall Plan, and also of Japan during a seven year military occupation. By the late 1950s, 43 of the world’s 50 largest companies were American.

Not that picking on the Wall Street Journal opinions page is exactly difficult, but lately I think they’ve been getting even nuttier than usual.  (Is it because nobody likes fruitcake any more?)  This editorial piece from Monday is supposed to be about the history, I guess, of economies, but… aside from the fact that I think it’s straw-manning and side-stepping the point about extractive economic setups and the history of colonialism the notion that 1945 or 6 or 7 or 8 can be pointed to as an even vaguely typical economic year is just mad – of course in 1945 the United States had about 40% of the world GDP and manufacturing; every other industrialized country had just been razed to a plain.  By contrast, the next example (why skip 20 years ahead?  What about the ’60s or early ’70s?) – the global economic shittiness of the ’70s – is actually an example of everything being equally awful everywhere, but… wait, why am I still writing, even?  They’re not gonna see this and retract anything, and all my points about people predicting the future are just moot because this is an ideological strawman.  Fuck.

I’m gonna go eat some Christmas ham.  Merry economy, world.


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