28.6.12

FOURTH TURNING ALERT?

In The New Criterion, James Piereson suggests that the breakdown of The Vital Progressive Center, otherwise known as the social order that emerged out of the victory in World War II, with more than a little structure inherited from the New Deal, can no longer be sustained by piecemeal reform or by compromise.
The deeper causes lie in the exhaustion of the post-war system of political economy that took shape in the 1930s and 1940s. One pillar of that system emerged out of the New Deal with its emphasis upon national regulation of the economy, social insurance, expanding personal consumption, and public debt; the second emerged out of World War II with the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency and the U.S. military as the protector of the international trading system. The post-war system created the basis for unprecedented prosperity in the United States and the Western world. That system is now unwinding for several reasons, not least because the American economy can no longer underwrite the debt and public promises that have piled up over the decades. The urgent need to cancel or renegotiate these debts and public promises on short notice will ignite the upheaval referred to here as “the fourth revolution.” There will follow an extended period of conflict in the United States between the two political parties as they compete for support either to maintain the post-war system or to identify a successor to it.
It's a long article, and unrelievedly pessimistic, yet worth careful study.

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