Seriously, sometimes I think Newsweek is trying to be funny. See this cover story “The Global Elite: The Story of Power”. Memorable parts:
“The cultural, political and economic consequences of the financial meltdown cannot be overestimated. Unthinking trust in unfettered markets has evaporated, and the concern appears to be more than a temporary fit of worry that will pass when things start to get better. The demise of titans on Wall Street has elevated bureaucrats and politicians in Washington and Beijing and Brussels. And there is one politician in particular whose exercise of power will affect all of us for years to come: the president-elect, whose victory in November and transition—accompanied by the virtual disappearance of President Bush—have marked a resurgence of confidence in America.”
“In Latin the word for power is imperium, which is largely evocative of the state, and we tend to think of power in political terms”
“The other new factor in the global power game of 2009 is Obama himself. Well read, technologically savvy, politically astute, he comes to the White House in grim times but with high expectations. Whether he succeeds or fails, it will be a close-run thing. “It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things,” said Machiavelli. If Immanuel Kant is to be believed, even Obama’s cool intellectualism is risky: “It is not to be expected that kings philosophize or that philosophers become kings, nor is it to be desired, because possession of power corrupts the free judgment of reason inevitably.” So much for Plato.”
The whole thing is a good insight into the current mindset of the American left. Well worth reading.
It is telling that Newsweek decided to focus on subjective analysis of the “change” we are going through. That is because, deep in their mind, they understand that the actual changes we will see in the next 4-8 years are not that big in any objective way.
And yes, I do think that we are going to go through a period of intensive fight for power. The left side of American politics had been smashed by Reagan (who took over in a similar period of crisis, the 80s recession and the fight to control inflation). At that time, Keynes was declared dead (which of course he wasn’t) and we got the new model that gave us 25 years of prosperity.
Obama himself already said that this crisis is just “too good to be wasted”. What he will do is still somewhat a mystery but democrats will want to push this idea that “Republican Capitalism is dead” and will want to return us to 1945. That of course is not possible and whatever they do will be very different than what they say they do.
I still think Obama will not change anything in a very drastic way. By the way, I don’t think Reagan changed anything in a very drastic way either. America is as capitalistic as it was and it will remain so. Reagan changed a few rules and rode the wave back to prosperity. Obama hopes he can do the same. That doesn’t mean the fringe left likes this, and that is why they always compare now with 1929 and not 1982.
But in any case, it will be interesting to watch.