Obama or McCain – to be or not to be that is the question

Posted on November 2, 2008. Filed under: economy, financial crisis, Islamic propaganda, microcredit, Muslims, Politics, US Presidential elections, USA |

Americans are going to vote for one or the other of the two contenders for the President’s chair at the White House, but who is going to be chosen by the United States? And how much is that choice going to be influenced by the desires and tantrums of the “significant others” in the international frienemy partnerships of the US?

As in any formal democracy, apparently or officially it is the common voter who chooses the winner in the US elections, although there are perhaps much simpler electoral mechanisms available as alternatives. But how are the choices of voters in their turn “chosen”? The common voter is always working under imperfect and incomplete and sometimes deliberately misleading information. The common voter is also guided by his or her personal history and learned responses to situations or decision problems. It can be shown through a simple game theoretic model, that in a two-party situation, both party’s positions or policies tend to converge to the average or median voters preferences’. In a broad sense this has been happening to the Obama-McCain campaigns too  – they have little difference in their vagueness and the few points of clarity in claimed future economic policy – supposed to be a crucial factor in the current elections.

It is surprising that there is little speculation about the international perspectives and significance of the timeline of the so-called “financial crisis” in the US. Crucially the “crisis” began to accelerate in the very election year, when there is a perception in many international quarters that an actual change of party in power could have significant political ramifications for US foreign policy and and its effects on international alliances both in competition and partnerships with the US. As many in the banking and financial industries have tried to point out and not without some justification that the crisis was more a crisis of confidence than a real one. Although I disagreed with this view from the economic viewpoint in my previous posts, as I have tried to point out repeatedly that there was a trade in “fictitious commodities” not backed up by real production, and the only thing that kept it going was the expectation of the general inbuilt trend of the world economy to grow over time, and current “fictitious trade” being balanced against future production. Such a scenario will always be vulnerable to manipulation of “confidence”.

The US and UK led western coalition’s heavy dependence on middle-eastern oil profit investment back into their economies is a fundamental vulnerability of not only their economies but also their political systems. China is sympathetic to the Islamic cause, which it sees as a tool that can be effectively used to prevent western dominance of Asia, and which it then hopes to lap up for itself in the future when it increases its economic and military power sufficiently. China has already begun tasting the fruits of its own Islamic and ethnic separatist medicine it applied with glee on the Indian subcontinent, in its own backward of the Muslim tribal belts in North Western China. But the severe ideological blindness which the remnants of “Sinified” Marxism still imposes on the Party-state structure will continue to propel  its leadership towards an imperialist program covered under either genuine self-delusion or deliberate propaganda that it is after all the propagation of a “better philosophy of living”. In this sense China is falling into the same delusional trap that the pre-WWII imperialist Japan fell into – declaring that in conquering and administering Asia it was liberating it from “pernicious” Gai-Jins. China’s trade gap with the US has continued soaring in its favour, and a huge part of this trade gap is reinvested into the US financial markets. The combined effect of Middle eastern oil capital and Chinese trade surplus capital is at most studied in its economic context only, if at all recgonized. But what is being crucially left out is the political consequence of capital from these two sources.

Having faced the Bush administration’s eight years of onslaught on the middle east, and its utilization of the fanaticism of an increasingly Jihadist Islam to re-penetrate into the Islamic world after the devastating bunglings in the 50’s to the 70’s (the paranoid obsession to eliminate “communism” leading to supporting and establishing fundamentalist Islamic regimes as an antidote, in Iraq, and Iran, with complete misunderstanding of the core tenets of Islam and seduced by the deceptive propaganda of these forces as to the real objectives of Islam), the Islamic world now dominated by two main state establishments of the Saudis and Iran, are likely to do everything to see to it that Bush policies are reversed. To a certain extent Bush’s agressive intervention against Islamic forces who ultimately draw their inspriration from the orthodoxy of Sunni Wahabi Arabian Islam, is actually damaging for the Saudi royal establishment which patronizes at least officially by “default” but actually by various indirect state sponshorships the Wahabi Islamic propaganda aimed at eradicating non-Muslim cultures. This fear would be sympathetically echoed by China, and the two could actually coordinate to ensure that Bush’s policies are discontinued. In political terms this could translate into a destabilization of the vulnerable economic infrastructure of the USA.

Sections of the American middle class can hope to have reversal of government policy in favour of job generation if Obama comes to power. Given the basic capitalist strutcure, even Obama will have little power to redsitribute capital among the middle class. There are two ways forward – one is to go back to the 1933 FDR policy of Keynesian public spending to generate jobs from infrastructure development. But we have to remember that at the time of FDR, there was still a lot of “infrastructure” to be developed in the USA, and to a certain extent similar public spending on building or other development has relatively less significant scope. The other way forward is going to the microcredit route, and giving access to capital specifically to those people who would be considered too risky by standard or classical banking model. Such a way forward will be severely opposed by big business, and we have to remember that big business is represented equally in the leadership of both sides. There is also the crucial question of consistent neglect of devloping the capabilities of the American population in terms of increasing competitiveness, with an alarming rate of declining educational achievement compared to levels and skills in the growing or emerging economies. Without such capability development, and given the lack of small-scale industrial or agrarian opportunities in the US system, even microcredit will have a difficult time launching.

The democrats in general represent popular dreams and hopes but as with leftist tendencies anywhere, ultimately become more authoritarian, and conservative that the “Right”. Eric Hoffer, the Californian longshoreman,  once  observed along the lines that it is “best” and the “worst” of any society that really takes it forward. The weak knee of democracy is the bane of mediocrity, which makes it more stable, but also wary of individual ability, and historically a societal transition almost always takes place under authoritarian leadership – the so-called Gramscian dictatorship that is sufficiently detached from partisan affiliations to impose drastic beneficial changes.

To a great extent the success of the US system was its copying and modernization of the concept of the Roman dictator (not emperor or the Imperator – a title typically won out of voluntary adulation by soldiers on the field, and other similar practises – like corona graminae), and to a great extent the troubles of the US echo uncannily the problems of the Roman Republic. The significant frienemies of the USA want a change, but will such a change be beneficial to the USA in the long run? The Roman mob, maintained by grain imported from African and Egyptian colonies and distributed freely by the Roman elite, ensured that the populist Caesarian cause  prevailed. The Roman elite in its bid to monopolize newly captured land and slave labour, had kept the Plebeians from having access to “productive capital” of the time (the dynamic used by Caesar’s uncle Marius to recruit soldiers and settle them in conquered lands) and made them dependent on largesse.  But this Caesarian cause ultimately gave the Julian dynasty which with the exception of its practical founder Octavian, foisted on Rome and its empire the horrors of Caligula or Nero, and started the long ultimate process of decline. Spectacular populist dictators were almost always bad for the health of the Roman republic.

So the question, a populist dictator of the Caesarian type or a more stable, less flamboyant and duller dictator with lesser capacity to do damage – which one is going to be chosen by the United States and not necessarily by American voters? To be or not to be….that is the question!

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One Response to “Obama or McCain – to be or not to be that is the question”

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The economic system is very important. I believe more so than the political system. A capitalist economic system embraces more laissez-faire and equal opportunity, whilst a socialist economic system embraces more economic interventionism and equal outcome.

If you think about it, even in a democratic political system the elected official becomes a dictator if the economy is socialistic and centrally controlled. A good example of this would be Adolf Hitler and NAZI Germany.


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