William Greider is most famous for his series of scorching articles condemning Reaganomics that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine throughout the ’80s, but he is also responsible for several must-read books for anyone who thinks that the world can only get better through the unbridled expansion of American-style capitalism. The best of the lot is probably One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Capitalism . Even so, if you can get your hands on pretty much anything that Greider wrote in the ’80s and ’90s you will see that so much of what he predicted has come to fruition that he might as well be considered the Nostradamus of the late 20th century, despite the ill-advised criticism of an economist who should have known better .
That William Greider has been right about so much of the effects of the globalization of the American economy should send shivers down the backs of anyone currently not buying into the Right’s contention that the United States is not smack dab in the middle of an economic crisis very likely to be wind up becoming to American history what that series of legally insane emperors was to Roman history. The multiple effects of globalization and deregulation is our tipping point that can preserve whatever greatness we may have once had or send us tumbling into the abyss. If Greider turns out to be right about the destination that the current path of American politico-economics is on, the America run by your grandchildren may look more like the England of the Elizabethan Age Part II than the Elizabethan Age Part I. Or worse: like France.
Throughout the expanse of William Greider’s contribution to the literature of latter 20thy century and early 21 st century political and economic discourse, and in his masterpiece One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Capitalism in particular, not a word gets wasted in the deconstruction of this persistent and ever-growing myth that indenturing the rest of the world into servitude by American politicians in debt to the most despicable human beings the world has ever known (the owners of Big Business) is the absolutely ideal method by which to better the livelihoods of the vast majority of human beings on this planet.
William Greider reveals the danger that exists in the cancerous tumor that is eating away at the heart of global economic theory as it pumps diseased blood into the smallest village in the most derelict countries of the world, depicting with frightening authenticity the way in which unbridled and unregulated capitalism is there primarily to ease and justify the exploitation of the weak and the poor . What is most horrifying is how Greider predicted back when George W. Bush was nothing but another drug-addled failed businessman that electing a puppet of the capitalist robber barons of the late 20th century who would hand over the keys of the kingdom to them by dismantling all the regulation that had been put in place to handcuff their bottomless greed to an extent would lead the United States into a miasma of debt from which we can never hope to extricate ourselves. Greider did not predict that the 21st century would kick off with not just America’s longest war, but it’s second longest war as well. How could he? Nobody but Scooter Libby and his cabal could have known that was coming.
And yet those two wars in the name of globalization–despite the multitude of other justifications and reasons for starting them–still managed to fit so perfectly within Greider’s central thesis for the coming economic collapse that he may just as well have predicted them as well. And what is Greider’s central thesis? That you cannot actually hope to sustain a powerful nation built upon the ridiculous, yet fervently upheld, belief that you can create a strong economy around the idea that people will have enough money to afford things that are fundamentally essential. Greider reveals this oppositional idea to be in line with one of the essential tenets of Marxism in reference to the inherent contradiction that must exist for capitalism to survive. In the world according to William Greider, we have an economy that rest upon a global foundation that not only can but will collapse for two specific and intertwined reasons .
Reason number one is is that the United States has become the buyer of last resort for each and every other surplus that exists in the world economy. Add to this the fact that the United States seems destined to never learn that you cannot continue to borrow more than you lend for very long without the bills coming due and what you have left is the insubstantial economic superstructure that everybody whose view of economics is not corrupted by their greed recognizes is in danger of sending the US into an economic maelstrom that threatens to make the Great Depression look like a cakewalk.
Again, as Greider predicted, the great tragedy for us all is not that those capable of fixing the problem don’t understand it, but that those capable of making sure the problem remains unfixed absolutely understand have no motivation to do so.