Fonzy Shazam summarizes a talk by Tyler Cowen.
1. Globalization will decline.
2. There is a myth of the rational autocrat.
3. “Fortress (North) America” will see a continuation of the current stagnating trend.
To me, this sounds as if the underlying theme is the end of Pax Americana. Imagine a world in which irrational autocrats launch wars, and the U.S. is unable/unwilling to stop them. Global trade will decline, and the U.S. will see little economic progress, in part because our progress relies on increased globalization. I cannot tell which way the causal arrows run–from American stagnation to American weakness to an inability to contain armed conflict, or the other way around. In fact, the prospect of increased armed conflict is something that I am imputing–it may not factor into Tyler’s forecast at all.
I have been reading George Friedman’s Flashpoints. One theme that struck me was the way that Europe changed in 1914-1918 from being accustomed to civilization to being accustomed to barbarism. He argues that World War I desensitized people to barbarism, and this in turn made possible Soviet and Nazi atrocities. So far, I have only read the historical parts of the book, not any discussion of the present situation or future scenarios.
On a related note, what should we make of the fact that in response to the murder of one of its citizens, the United States is less forceful than Jordan? Your choices include:
a) Jordan currently has more forceful leadership than the U.S.
b) In fighting ISIS, the United States has a strategy that is more nuanced and will ultimately be more successful.
c) The United States is wisely playing down the significance of terrorism in order to save its resources for dealing with bigger threats.
d) The United States in fact does not have the military capability to defeat ISIS, and attempting a decisively forceful response would only expose that fact.