Friday, July 25, 2014
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L’importance de l’élection américaine pour le monde

NEW YORK – La plupart des personnes dans le monde ne pourront pas voter lors de la prochaine élection présidentielle aux Etats-Unis, même si leur sort dépend en grande mesure du résultat. La grande majorité des citoyens non-américains préfèreraient une réélection de Barack Obama par rapport à une victoire de son adversaire, Mitt Romney. Non sans bonnes raisons.

En ce qui concerne l'économie, les politiques de Romney, qui auront pour effet la création d'une société plus inégale et plus divisée, ne se feront pas directement sentir à l'étranger. Néanmoins, dans le passé, d'autres pays ont souvent suivi l'exemple de l'Amérique, pour le meilleur et pour le pire. De nombreux gouvernements ont rapidement souscrit au mantra de Ronald Reagan en faveur de la dérégulation des marchés – politiques qui ont fini par provoquer la pire récession mondiale depuis les années 1930. Les pays qui ont suivi le modèle de l'Amérique ont connu un accroissement des inégalités – plus d'argent au sommet, plus de pauvreté à la base et un affaiblissement de la classe moyenne.

Les politiques d'austérité proposées par Romney – une tentative de réduire les déficits prématurément, alors que l'économie américaine est encore fragile – auront pour conséquence pratiquement certaine d’affaiblir la croissance déjà anémique de l'Amérique et, si la crise de l'euro s’aggrave, pourraient provoquer une nouvelle récession. Dans ce cas, suite à la contraction de la demande américaine, le reste du monde ressentirait en fait assez directement les effets économiques d'une présidence Romney.

Cela soulève la question de la mondialisation, qui implique une action concertée de la communauté internationale sur de nombreux fronts. Pourtant, les actions qui sont nécessaires en matière de commerce, de finance, du changement climatique et d’une foule d'autres domaines continuent à ne pas être prises. Beaucoup de gens attribuent ces échecs en partie à l'absence de leadership américain. Le problème est que, même si Romney se plait à fanfaronner et faire usage d’une rhétorique forte, il est fort probable que les autres dirigeants mondiaux ne seraient que peu enclins à le suivre, en raison de la croyance (correcte à mon avis) qu'il pousserait les Etats-Unis – et eux-mêmes – dans la mauvaise direction.

Même si « l’exceptionnalisme » américain se vend bien à l’intérieur des frontières, le concept passe mal à l'étranger. La guerre en Irak du président George W. Bush – sans doute une violation du droit international – a démontré que, bien que l'Amérique dépense presque autant pour la défense que le reste du monde réuni, elle ne pouvait pas pacifier un pays représentant moins de 10% de sa population et moins de 1% de son PIB.

En outre, il s'est avéré que le capitalisme à l'américaine n'est ni efficace ni stable. Dans la mesure où les revenus de la plupart des Américains stagnent depuis une décennie et demie, il était déjà clair que le modèle économique américain ne fonctionne pas pour la plupart des citoyens, quoi qu’en disent les données officielles du PIB. En fait, le modèle avait explosé avant même que Bush n’ait quitté ses fonctions. La grande récession – la conséquence prévisible (et prédite) de ses politiques économiques – ainsi que les violations des droits de l'homme sous son administration ont affaiblit la puissance diplomatique de l'Amérique, tout comme les guerres en Irak et en Afghanistan ont affaibli la crédibilité de sa puissance militaire.

Si l’on s’intéresse aux valeurs – à savoir, celles de Romney et son colistier, Paul Ryan – les choses ne s’arrangent pas vraiment. Par exemple, tous les autres pays avancés reconnaissent le droit à des soins de santé accessibles pour tous ; la loi sur les soins abordables d’Obama (Affordable Care Act) représente une étape importante vers cet objectif. Pourtant, Romney a critiqué cet effort, sans rien offrir à la place.

L'Amérique a maintenant l'honneur d'être parmi les pays avancés qui offrent le moins d'égalité des chances à leurs citoyens. Les compressions budgétaires drastiques de Romney, ciblées sur les classes pauvre et moyenne, freineraient encore davantage la mobilité sociale. En même temps, il élargirait l'armée, dépensant plus d'argent pour des armes qui ne fonctionnent pas contre des ennemis qui n'existent pas, avec pour seule conséquence d’enrichir les entrepreneurs du secteur de la défense comme Halliburton au détriment de l'investissement public dans les infrastructures et l'éducation dont le pays a désespérément besoin.

Bien que Bush ne soit pas sur le bulletin de vote, Romney ne s’est pas vraiment distancé par rapport aux politiques de l'administration Bush. Au contraire, sa campagne a fait usage des mêmes conseillers et démontré la même dévotion envers l’augmentation des dépenses militaires, la même croyance que les réductions d'impôts pour les plus riches sont la solution à tous les problèmes économiques et la même confusion dans le calcul budgétaire.

Considérons, par exemple, les trois questions qui sont au centre de l'agenda mondial mentionnées précédemment : le changement climatique, la régulation financière et le commerce. Romney n’a rien dit concernant le premier, et de nombreux membres de son parti sont des « négationnistes climatiques. » Le monde ne peut pas attendre un véritable leadership de Romney de ce côté.

En ce qui concerne la régulation financière, alors que la crise récente a mis en lumière la nécessité de règles plus strictes, un accord sur de nombreuses questions s'est avéré difficile à atteindre, en partie parce que l'administration Obama est trop proche du secteur financier. Avec Romney, cependant, il n'y aurait aucune distance : métaphoriquement parlant, il est le secteur financier.

Une question financière sur laquelle il existe un accord mondial est la nécessité de fermer les paradis bancaires offshore, qui existent principalement à des fins d'évasion fiscale, de blanchiment d'argent et de corruption. L'argent ne va pas aux îles Caïmans, parce que le soleil le fait pousser plus vite, cet argent se nourrit de l'absence de soleil. Mais, alors que Romney fait lui-même usage des banques caïmaises sans aucun remord, il est peu probable que l’on assiste à des progrès même dans ce domaine.

A propos du commerce, Romney promet de lancer une guerre commerciale contre la Chine et de la déclarer manipulatrice de monnaie dès la première journée – une promesse qui lui donne peu de marge de manœuvre. Il refuse de reconnaitre la forte appréciation réelle du renminbi de ces dernières années, ni de reconnaître que, tandis que les variations du taux de change de la Chine pourraient affecter le déficit commercial bilatéral, ce qui importe est le déficit commercial multilatéral américain. Un renminbi plus fort signifierait simplement une substitution aux États-Unis de la Chine vers d’autres producteurs de textile, de vêtements et d'autres biens à bas coûts.

L'ironie – que Romney, une fois de plus, n’a pas perçue – est que d'autres pays accusent les Etats-Unis eux-mêmes de manipuler sa monnaie. Après tout, l'un des avantages principaux de la politique de « quantitative easing » déployée par la Réserve fédérale – qui pourrait d’ailleurs être le seul canal avec un effet significatif sur l'économie réelle – découle de la dépréciation du dollar américain.

L'élection américaine représente un enjeu important pour le monde entier. Malheureusement, la plupart des gens qu’elle affectera – c’est à dire presque tout le monde – n'auront aucune influence sur son résultat.

Traduit de l’anglais par Timothée Demont

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  1. CommentedROBERT BAESEMANN

    Please consider this shopping list or wish list for the future:

    1) Restore the Chairmanship of the Council of Economic Advisors to a Cabinet level position with the intent of building the economic literacy of voters and making policy that makes sense;

    2) Make a clear unflinching assessment of the financial health of the US financial sector including an unflinching assessment of its ability to withstand a run on the banks (Keeping in mind that we are still in a liquidity trap which seems to be inexplicable);

    3) In the style of the new economic history, create a reliable assessment of the consequences of a second financial crisis and global bank failures meaning estimates of where the Second Great Depression would leave us (Assuming the world can deal with knowing the stakes of the game we have been playing):

    4) Ask that President Obama award the Medal of Freedom to Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner, and Ben Bernanke for their courage and decisiveness during our blackest hours in the fall of 2008;

    5) Demand that the Justice Department to initiate grand jury investigations of all of the major banks who participated in the financial collapse of 2008, the rating agencies who were paid to rate toxic assets AAA, and the Government regulators who failed to do anything to stop the destruction;

    6) Make economic policy and put it before Congress, and then hold the Republicans in Congress accountable for making a different policy on their own;

    a) Work with the newly elected Senator from Massachusetts to propose and pass new regulation to strengthen Dodd-Frank;

    b) Develop and propose a new stimulus package and send it to Congress and force the House Republicans to accept it or take responsibility for not passing it;

    c) Demand that the Congress pass a new debt ceiling or take full responsibility for the consequences; and

    7) Propose and insist on legislation to return our Country to a non-regressive tax structure while remembering that a regressive tax structure is impossible in a democracy where voters are adequately represented and that taxation without representation is tyranny.

  2. CommentedTed Peters

    A weak and ineffectual United States will mean that the world is bereft of leadership and moral standards. This is the situation in Syria and Afganistan, where only the very strong and very ruthless survive. Obama has proven entirely feckless when it comes to leadership (from behind?). We may well be heading for another dark ages... or worse, the world of Mad Max.

  3. CommentedVan Poppel charles

    I understand Mr Stiglitz is an oppnent to Mr Romney as future USA president;but this is not a reason to advising US people going to live in russia or china; the Reagan deregulations of governmental regulations introduced to combat the 1930 great depression and administer the war 1940/45 , nevertheless has brougt the sovjet empire to his knees;the actual economic regression is not the fault of american capitalismbut but should be attributed to the stupidity of economists; they should have known that hubris is folloxed by nemesis and defeat; even you mr Stiglitz never proposed during the elysian economic growth during the years 2003/07 to apply the Keynesian principle " the boom, not the slump is the time for austerity; and be not afraid: if the US government should embrace deflationary policies, enhancing unemployment with rising poverty, it could be confronted with social upheaval and be overwhelmed with requests which they will hate more than the simple remedies for the moment.

  4. CommentedPrasanna Srinivasan

    Its show time now and we'll know who's won. However, Mr Obama is on record with a lot of protectionist rhetoric (outsourcing, manufacturing jobs etc), so maybe you shouldn't consider your personal views as "global opinion". Historically, things have moved better between the US and India (particularly on issues of defence, terrorism etc) with a Republican President (whatever be the reason) than with a Democrat.

  5. CommentedKaleem Alam

    I am a non-American. Mr. Romney doesn't seem to have a stand on anything. He is willing to utter anything and everything that can get him edge. I am sure he is not going to do anything he has promised. He would be more than a fool to go for any type of war including trade war with China. And if he wins, I would be left questioning American intelect.

    Kaleem Alam

  6. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    When America goes to vote today, we know it would be a tough battle of ideologies that have an eternal divide; the fathers of the constitution wanted a four legged platform, where democracy by discussion supposedly was to function- the judiciary, the two legislative wings and the executive authority in the Presidency to be intertwined with the advocacy of a suffrage. We are here dealing with just one, the Presidency, in our discussions, trust that the other three is not kept out of sight for the true functioning of the government.
    For the developing world, either way we see the diminutive spell of influence to continue, as China, more than the U.S. still takes the path of ascendency, although without a song and dance. It is just another decade away that the next change of leadership in Beijing would find more media space than several bouts of U.S. presidential elections.

    Procyon Mukherjee

  7. CommentedPaul Jefferson

    China's yuan has appreciated only 3.5% per year for the past two years. That is not enough, considering how low Chinese wages are, and how many jobs and business America has lost to China. China should be declared a currency manipulator -- along with all other countries that peg their currencies to the US dollar. The smaller manipulators will behave better only when they know they will not be undercut by China. Romney has this much right.

    In contrast, Obama's weak China policy has clearly been a failure. Yet I support Obama, because I cannot trust Romney, after his frequent position changes, outright lies, and massive funding by the ultra-rich.

  8. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    I am one of those non-Americans who cannot vote, but I tell you why I would vote for Romney instead of Obama.
    Today the world is in turmoil, humanity is in crisis at every front.
    But the general attitude of the leaders and professionals in office is to kick the can, to sweep the real problems under the carpet, nobody dares to show their true colours, everybody tries to be politically correct, nice and gentleman-like.
    This fake-liberal wishy-washy attitude is killing us because we are smearing pain relief ointment over all our wounds and by the time we truly reveal the disease it will be too late.
    This is true to the economy, to the financial system, to the geo-political flash-points all over the world, or to our relationship with the natural environment. The whole world is in chaos but we pretend to be in control.
    In such a scenario putting "a cat among the pigeons" is better, even if first it creates scary, frightening scenarios, but at least it would dust off the fake cover and we would truly see what the problems are, who is who and what is what.
    Only when we know the true diagnosis of a disease, when we know where things are broken can we start talking to each other and administer the cure. Today the world has the necessary interconnections and strength to make it work, provided we are not afraid to tackle the problems.
    We have to look into the mirror so we do not think are so beautiful.
    Romney has a better chance of showing the mirror than the "cool" President Obama.

  9. CommentedNabaraj Gautam

    The US election always creates vibration around the world. The media focuses only two candidates.... Do USA following multi-party democracy or only promoting dualism in political system? They are just interchanging leadership in 2 tenures between Democratic and Republican which can be stated as political syndicate. So US citizens should start to search beyond these. Anyway this time, all the best to OBAMA.

  10. CommentedAndrés Arellano Báez

    This election should not be Obama Vs Romney, It should be "Obama And Romney" Vs "The Other Candidates". There is no real difference between Obama and Romney. The real change for US are in the "Other Candidates".

  11. CommentedCamouflage Artist

    People vote for Obama because he is cool. Once he is re-elected we can tax the rich. We’ll start with Michael Moore and Arianna Huffington. Let’s tax them at 75% like they do in France.
    Tax the Rich at : http://reoa.net
    Camouflage – the Famous Detroit Abstract Artist

  12. CommentedJose Luis Gambande

    After reading this I was tempted to questioning because the feeling that I was reading a piece of political advertising and not a dispassionate analysis of the future consequences of the U.S. election.

    To begin let me clarify two things: first, nobody can doubt even one minute on the professional qualifications of Mr. Stiglitz, impressive qualifications and brilliance; second, I am not sympathetic to Republicans and feel much closer to Obama than Romney. If I were an American citizen probably vote for the current president, but does not mean we get carried away by emotions in what should be a cold analysis of the situation.

    Mr. Stiglitz associated Ronald Reagan deregulation policies with the seeds of the 2008 financial crisis. This may be fine as a campaign slogan, but is overkill on the historical point of view. In the thirty years between Reagan reforms and the 2008 financial crisis many Democrat administrations could have detected the germ and cure the disease. And they did not.

    It seems that toxic mortgages and Mr. Summers's 1998 opposition to regulating financial derivatives and their support for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act have nothing to do with the crisis. Mr. Summers was Treasury Secretary under President Clinton and Director of National Economic Council under President Obama. In any case, financial markets deregulation fans seem to be on both sides, not just Romney.

    It's easy to endorse Mr. Stiglitz's arguments about the dire armament policies of President Bush and his unjustified and unsuccessful wars, and his favoritism with the military-industrial complex. Everybody agree with the American failure to impose democracy in countries where they deposed dictators. But it seems too light to assume without further argument that Mr. Romney will follow the same paths. Mr. Stiglitz knows that President Bush inherited a country with a surplus in its public accounts after the successful Clinton Presidency, which made it easy to engage in military adventures as world police officer. Today, the U.S. fiscal situation is differentand its precariousness, while acknowledged by Mr. Stiglitz, would prevent any attempt to re-engage in wars, even for something as necessary as oil. Even if wanted to, a Republican president would not embark on such adventures.

    Accusing Mr. Romney for using tax havens to put their money, is an argument for a campaign speech. Mr. Stiglitz must remember that what is not prohibited by law is allowed, and can not be an argument for voting against a candidate. It is in this kind of arguments that I would notice an "excessive enthusiasm" in the article in favor of Democrats, closer to the visceral rejection by Republicans than to the cold analysis of a great academic.

    Finally, replacement of the armamentistic race that Bush has done, and provoked so much damage to the world, by selective drone attacks that kill innocent and suspected terrorists, which are not accountable for being covert, does not seem to be a change politics in the sense of the search for global consensus and peaceful solutions to regional conflicts involving U.S.

    This demonization of candidate Romney appears to come from the stomach, not the brain. By contrast, it seems that in the administration of President Obama all the news are good, and that is not true in the last four years. The broken promises of candidate Obama on immigration reform, which extend an internal conflict that has become chronic, is one of them. The closure ofGuantanamo prison, with all that implies of illegality and human rights violation, is another. Seek for political consensus has not been a key element in his Presidency, as promised. Hope we all feel when it opened its mandate traveling to Egypt to show that was a different President, is gone for the sake of pragmatism in relations with Israel.

    As Mr. Stiglitz said, future affected by the election of U.S. President cannot say a word or influence the outcome. However, we care what happens because we know it will affect us. The vision and the arguments of the article seem destined to make us believe that the "demon" of Romney opposes to the "angel" of Obama. My opinion is much less optimistic. I think Obama will win the election, but his political future actions will be much closer to Romney ideas than to his promises of 2008 campaign.

  13. CommentedWayne Barker

    Just read a commentary on this site about the decline of India and how the reforms of the 90's (following Reagan's lead) led to advancement and prosperity. Contrast that to the current Indian malaise related to excessive government corruption and government-insider / business cronyism. Further contrast that to the extreme corruption of China's leaders (many of whom have accumulated many billions of dollars in riches--on a "pauper's" salary).

    What path should the world follow--the successful path of freedom and less government or the failed path of government control, cronyism and corruption.

  14. CommentedWilliam Wallace

    @Marc Sargen,

    You'd best review GAO data for 1980-2010 or so. Cutting taxes without cutting spending for 30 years, plus recent off-budget major wars, plus TAARP will give you the real, trackable causes of the deficit. Vastly lowered tax revenue following the meltdown these fiscal policies led to is another major reason for the current deficit. Go ahead, blame the poor soul who walked into the china shop just after the bulls had their way, but that is partisan and counter-factual.

  15. CommentedCarol Maczinsky

    We don't know Mitt Romney but he seems more moderate and principled than current President Obama. I'd say change is a good thing. The world mostly benefits from US military spending. Here I trust Mitt Romney to continue international interests of the US and also take the Transatlantic Alliance seriously, and confront Iran and Syria. Ronald Reagan was a friend of Europe, one of my idols.

  16. CommentedUttam Sen

    How do people deal with this situation, particularly in a country like India? The received wisdom among the middle and upper classes is overwhelmingly that they never had it so good, fobbing off the mischief of deregulation as a left-wing myth. This condition is exacerbated by literature that liberalization and “reforms” have been setting the record on mismanagement straight since 1991 and that what is required is more of the same viz. liberalization or removal of controls, some of which is admittedly desirable, but potentially dangerous as an instrument for selfish gain. Prof Stiglitz seems to suggest that similar abandon in the event of a particular electoral outcome in the US will trigger a global recession rather than the self-fulfilling prophesy of prosperity. His caveat has hopefully spread wide and fast enough to stave off disaster!

  17. CommentedKodjo Adadevoh

    Professor Stiglitz, it is really refreshing to read your eloquent assessment of where this great nation stands and the two options the lie before us with respect to the type of leadership that we need to get us through the challenges that lie ahead. I am often perplexed by how ignorant people are of the extent of the economic crisis that we all experienced in 2008 (1 in 80 year event) and how close we were to falling off the cliff. I am also perplexed by how uninformed people are about the structural problems we face and how a total change in course is required. Addressing the educational system, energy independence, the debt and deficit problems and the growing gap between the rich and the poor (via tax reform) are critical elements to getting this great nation back on track.

  18. CommentedMarc Sargen

    Reduce the deficits prematurely? When would it be better? The deficit is large because of a stimulus. Whether you agree that it has helped or not, the spending has happened & it is time to go back to pre-stimulus levels.
    Let's face it. We shot our wad & now everything is out of balance. We are addicted to the drug of loose money & fiscal spending & we no longer get that high. Because we are so out of balance, every situation is a crisis.
    Now is the time for us to face the truth that we have hit the limits of what we can do, take the pain, & cut back to what the economy can afford so it has the ability to face the next situation without it becoming a "crisis".

      CommentedJohn Brian Shannon

      Hi Marc,

      As I had made some assertions in my previous reply to you, but did not have a ready link to prove them, I felt I owed you this link.

      My assertion:

      "Without the stimulus, there would have been a full-blown and long-lasting depression.

      "Without continuing stimulus, the anemic growth forecast for the U.S. next year would completely disappear.

      "Although an over-simplification, some might say that the overly optimistic >1.6% growth forecast for next year is only due to the present stimulus spending (remove the stimulus and remove the growth)."

      Hopefully, you will find this link useful. Best regards, JBS

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/07/canada-flaherty-idUSL1E8M7NZV20121107?type=companyNews&feedType=RSS&feedName=companyNews&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FcompanyNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Company+News%29

      CommentedJohn Brian Shannon

      Hi Marc,

      Without the stimulus, there would have been a full-blown and long-lasting depression.

      Without continuing stimulus, the anemic growth forecast for the U.S. next year would completely disappear.

      Although an over-simplification, some might say that the overly optimistic >1.6% growth forecast for next year is only due to the present stimulus spending (remove the stimulus and remove the growth).

      To lower the deficit now, would easily choke off and reverse any forward economic progress -- almost all economists agree on this point regarding America's present economic situation.

      I agree with your statement; "Because we are so out of balance, every situation is a crisis."

      The economist John Maynard Keynes suggested that "the time to pay down debt was during periods of growth" -- for obvious reasons.

      Government debt is merely accumulated deficits.

      When nations pay down their debt during periods of growth, this automatically re-balances the economy and allows leaders more maneuvering room at the onset of the next recession.

      For example, not so long ago, the U.S. economy was running record surpluses. Surpluses which could have been used to pay down government debt and to 'bank' for a rainy-day.

      With low government debt, no deficits and running surpluses, the U.S. government might never see a recession. But, if it did, such minor annoyances could rightly be taken care of with ease if they maintained a balanced economy.

      Instead of borrowing money at interest from increasingly reluctant lenders, the U.S. could have drawn on multi-billions or low trillions of such 'cash on hand', to stimulate the economy fast and hard at the first sign of recession -- effectively nipping any recession in the bud.

      With high government debt, high but necessary deficits and their resulting debt load, you are right, every situation becomes a crisis.

      Canada has already gone through this entire exercise and it succeeded spectacularly.

      Some information for you here:

      http://jbsnews.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/last-chance-for-the-u-s-economy/

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/canadas-fiscal-success-story/2012/10/28/4861723e-193a-11e2-bd10-5ff056538b7c_story.html

      http://jbsnews.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/the-canadian-austerity-success-story/

      Best regards, JBS

  19. CommentedS.Mahmud Ali

    Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, possibly represent the two faces of the same coin - that of America's leadership of the international security, economic and political-diplomatic systems. For much of the world, US approaches to the lands beyond the water's edge will not change drastically irrespective of who occupies the Oval Office on January 20, 2013. However shrill the rhetoric before the polls, US Presidents - with a few exceptions, such George W. Bush in his first term - have a way of approaching a pragmatic centre once in office.

    While the two men bring to the table almost diametrically opposite perspectives on domestic policies, especially with regard to the relationships between the citizen and the state, they are united in their insistence on the perpetuation of US primacy at the systemic level.

    The only apparent difference between their global perspective on US systemic leadership is in the manner in which that leadership has to be exercised. Mitt Romney appears to believe that at 4 per cent of the US GDP under his command, defence expenditure will secure for America global pre-eminence on the strength of America's lethal destructive power. Obama appears to believe that lethal force alone may not serve America's purposes in an increasingly complex and intricately inter-linked milieu, and that America must first regenerate its domestic capacity to rebuild its national substance before it devotes some of it abroad. But both of them are committed to securing America's planetary primacy into the indefinite future.

    Given that fundamentally shared vision of America's broad role in the world, non-voting non-American observers may be forgiven for watching the campaign and waiting for the outcome of the elections with muted trepidation rather than an alternating combination of febrile ecstasy and unmitigated melancholia.

  20. CommentedSimon Gatt

    Surely Maggie Thatcher matched Reagan's deregulatory zeal, and possibly predated his campaigns. This was not just an American thing.

  21. CommentedMark Slater

    Why are we having this discussion about the US election when the Chinese are about to switch leaders? Aren't we asking for a say about Xi Jinping?
    For that matter, what say do Americans get about the President of the European Union, German Chancellor or Russia President? Answer none. Yet all are very significant in global terms.

  22. CommentedGregory Kruse

    Just an anecdotal comment: As an almost life-long expatriate, I found myself, for the first time in my life, embarrassed to be an overseas American during the Bush administration. My international friends' and colleagues' views of the US, its role in the world and the extent to which America lives up to its own espoused values, deteriorated dramatically during the Bush administration.

    Despite his shortcomings and his failures to deliver on very ambitious campaign promises, President Obama has done a great deal to re-establish the credibility of the US and what it stands for during his administration. I see this in my every day interactions with people outside the US.

    It would be a shame to lose the momentum the President has built up. And it would undermine efforts to promote real American values abroad.

  23. CommentedChris Gedge

    Godfrey, I think you may be buying in to the cult of celebrity. Even if it is true that "the majority of the world does not even know who Mitt Romney is" the effects of his presidency could have global consequences. Prof Stiglitz makes the claim that Gov. Romney's policies are likely to be bad for the US and bad for large swathes of the rest of the world. The sufferers do not have to know from where or by whom their pain was caused. But, rest assured, they'll feel it.

  24. CommentedGodfrey Barborous

    Actually, most people will not be affected by the outcome at all. The majority of the world does not even know who Mitt Romney is. Even though the author creates a negative and pessimistic tone, his effect of elevating the United States to this level of importance should be questioned.

    What is more "unfortunate" about the election is the fact that almost a majority of Americans themselves do not vote. Instead of worrying about the global, perhaps Stiglitz should address the root cause of this problem at home.

  25. CommentedThomas Haynie

    With all of our military spending I’m constantly reminded of the book “Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” by Paul Kennedy where he asserts that exceeding a threshold in military spending tends to precede the end of great nations. Namely the Militarized state in the constant war time economy is a nation killer.

    I’m not an ancient history academic but if memory serves the Spartans were famous as a military power in their region. Feared to be sure, they were also famous for being rather shallow on the intellect and culture contribution to the Greek world (outside of war). They didn’t sell themselves as thinkers but prided in being excellent killers. How long did their society last in comparison to the other Greek States?

  26. CommentedCaitlin Casement

    US policies as determined by the President can have a huge and direct impact on the lives of people all over the world. In addition, another president like W would demonstrate our lack of respect for our increasing role in the world. We can't be just about ourselves anymore--we have global responsibilities that matter.

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