The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Competition Between West And The Rest Is Already Over

This is what people refuse to get: the West has already lost. It’s over. It’s done. There’ll be some shooting, but it doesn’t matter.

China has the world’s largest economy by all statistics that matter. It has by far and away the most manufacturing. It has way more shipbuilding capacity than the entire West.

China is the premier trade power. Most of the global “South” would rather trade with it: it gives better deals and it interferes less with internal politics. This will continue. Western analysts are already talking about the coming semiconductor flood, as China catches up there. In ten years or so they’ll have more reliable planes at better prices than Boeing. They lead in about two-thirds of all major tech areas and surging in the rest. They are crushing it in the auto-industry and soon will produce better cars for cheaper, if they don’t already.

They have a real economy: “China speed” is a phrase. They get things done, and fast.

Russia is now the world’s fifth largest economy and over-took Germany, which is crashing out due to high energy prices with the cut-off from Russia oil and gas. Europe barely registers on new patents. They have advanced weaponry, their economy is booming thanks to sanctions forcing them to invest in their own country, they have plenty of food, resources and water and they’re on of the few countries who will benefit for the early to mid parts of climate change and global warming.

Changes in weapon systems have made cheap weapons much more effective, especially drones and missiles. The tech has spread widely, to the point where a backwards country like Yemen has enough to shut down a key trade route. The US military can’t meet its enlistment goals, and US weapons are much more expensive and far slower to produce than their enemies. The West can’t even supply Ukraine with enough artillery shells, drones and ammunition: but China, North Korea, Iran and Russia together have been able to keep Russia armed to the teet.

The US navy still has the largest tonnage, but can’t fully man all its ships, and as noted early, China has far more shipbuilding capacity, and it now has as many ships as the US. They are pushing in on technology which will allow them to detect submarines at great distances.

The US no longer has bigfoot capacity: it can’t easily occupy foreign countries any more and it can’t hit them while not being hit in return, as the multiple strikes on US bases and the closing of the Red Sea show.

It’s over. The world economy is re-orienting to China. They will have first dibs on resources because they offer a better deal on almost everything. Soon there will be nothing important one can’t buy from China or Russia, and for less than the West can sell it for.

The US and Europe need the global south—they need those resources, but the South will have little reason to sell to us, and will prefer China and Russia and so on. (France is being kicked out Africa, right now, in exchange for Russia and China.)

Military might will continue to tend to China and Russia, it is a lagging indicator on industrial power and technological lead, and we have already lost both of those.

It’s over. We lost without most of us even realizing we’d lost. When we decided to send our industry to China in exchange for some of our elites getting richer faster for three decades, we decided to give up our centuries old hegemony.

This isn’t to say all is woe, or that Western countries who are smart can’t maintain good standards of living. But we can only do so if we stop pretending we’re , the hegemonic civilization and everyone else has to kiss our asses or else.

The Euro-American centuries are OVER. We had a good run, but all runs end. We could have eked it out for a few more generations, but decay always begins at home. We gave our lead away, deliberately and as policy.

And a lot of countries, with good reason, hate our guts. They will get their kicks in as we go down.

We’d better learn humbleness, contrition and cooperation, we’re going to need them. And our elites need to be defenestrated as a class if the rest of us are to have any chance at decent lives.


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The Carlson/Putin Interview


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – February 11, 2024


  1. Feral Finster

    Would to God.

  2. Jan Wiklund

    A few comprehensive sources of statistics would helap.

  3. Mary Bennet

    “our elites need to be defenestrated as a class” those have been my sentiments for years now.

    Any thoughts on how we go about that? Calling for Madame Guillotine does not work; she disposes of as many innocents as guilty, and of those, most are low level incompetents thoughtlessly doing as they were told.

  4. bruce wilder

    Calling for Madame Guillotine does not work; she disposes of as many innocents as guilty . . .

    that’s the narrative bought and paid for, of course. not sure that it is entirely accurate.

    populist “dictators” are also ritually despised for similar reasons.

    the age-old dictum that the winners write the histories has often been wrong. losers, if they survive, sometimes write a great deal of tendentious history, hoping for a different result from “the fire next time”.

    history is also written — and this is important — for the people who pay to have it written.

    government governs for the people who pay for it and pay attention to politics as something more than idle spectator sport or narcissistic self-dramatization.

    American foreign policy has always been in the hands of people interested in hijacking it to further their own interests — Wall Street bankers, Zionists, Russophobes, United Fruit, China traders and so on. The idealists, such as the anti-imperialists aroused by the bloody campaign to colonize the Philippines, are the exception and they fade from the collective memory of later generations who rarely pay attention to anything beyond the latest CNN chyron.

    The impotent craziness of American Middle East policy, where the U.S. has illegal bases in countries hostile to the U.S., sponsors Al Qaeda affiliates, and equips multiple sides fighting each other is the product of “deliberations” in which there is no patriot in building let alone the room. The U.S. cannot negotiate an international agreement, because we don’t have diplomats with the authority or the basic skills.

    the U.S. foreign policy establishment can deploy economic hitmen, NGOs and civil society organizations to subvert and destablize polities, but the U.S. itself has no functioning civil society at all beyond some obsolete blogs. Just gaze at the empty shell of the “journalism profession” for a minute, and search for the editorial broadsides pleading for Julian Assange to be freed from prison. The same emptiness pervades all the professions — law, medicine and so on. And, the universities. And, the churches.

    We are watching Israel, under the leadership of war-mongering crooks, perpetrate a genocide. A few excited people with no idea of what political power is, let alone how to assemble and wield it, protest in the streets, blocking traffic because it lets them feel virtuous.

    American society is deeply corrupt and in a bad sense of “corrupt” — its controlling elites are parasites and scavengers feeding on the dying corpse of its political economy, uninterested in building anything. It is very hard to see how this country recovers, before or without collapse removing that elite and forcing its fat, useless populace to learn again to cooperate and organize, if they even can.

  5. capelin


    Sure does seem like it’s the end of the world, as we know it. And I feel… conflicted.

    Given the damage it’s done and does, it’s nice to see The West’s power decay; but it’s as a result of elite mismanagement of the huge piles of power and money they’ve stolen from us, not from society strengthening. In fact, the opposite.

    So, meet the new boss. I hear he’s more reasonable, for now. Sorta like that feeling of uneasy relief when Stephen Harper was voted out…

    Overlaying it all are the expodential shifts in the ability of (insert name of boss here) to monitor/filter/control; and mess with life at the code level.

  6. Adam Eran

    Humility or humiliation…. there is no third choice.

  7. Oji

    In ten years the world will be ravaged by the effects of ecological overshoot, e.g., climate change, and war. The U.S is self-destructing and China is falling apart. Both the U.S. and China will be lucky to still be in one piece in 2035.

    Hell, we’ll all be VERY lucky not to be 25% poorer by then– yet still on our way to being 50% poorer by 2050. China will not be exempt from the collapse of global industrial civilization.

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