Franck Biancheri

World crisis The Path to the World Afterwards

15 x 23 cm - 168 p

4.5020.00

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The financial and economic crisis that the world has been facing in the past two years marks the end of the world order established after 1945. In 1989, the “Soviet pillar” has collapsed and we are now witnessing the accelerated decomposition of the “Western pillar” with the United States at the heart of the process of disintegration.

    After two decades spent living in the myth of an “ended history” in which our Western camp would be imposed universally, it is almost impossible to imagine “a world after” where tendencies would not be defined in Washington or Wall Street, where “Anglo-American” would not necessarily mean “modern” and where the dollar would no longer be king.

    As in Eastern Europe before 1989, neither our media nor our leaders are capable of helping us “imagine the unimaginable”, they are too busy trying to make us “forget the unforgettable”, in particular, the socio-economic consequences of the crisis throughout the world. This book attempts to fill this lack of anticipation of our leaders and elites by giving a concrete vision of the future in Europe and the world by 2020.

    What conflicts can this world-after-the-crisis generate? How to prepare for monetary and economic upheavals coming up in the next few years? How can we and should we cope as Europeans? How will interact the emerging powers such as Brazil, India, Russia and China in the first place? What difficulties will these countries meet on their way up? How can our children position themselves to prepare for this world after, as citizens and as professionals?

    These are some of the questions that this book tries to answer by providing leads for reflection and action to the individual as much as to the group. Because this crisis we are experiencing is not only the end of the “world before”, it is also an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild a “world after”, provided not to be mistaken about the dangers, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Weight 280 g
Dimensions 15 × 23 cm
Type

Paperback, PDF

Language

FR, EN, GER, SPA, ITA

SUMMARY

The current crisis is a global systemic crisis

  • The crisis thrusts us outside the world shaped by three centuries of European and Western domination
  • Measuring the extent of the challenge posed for anticipating the world after the crisis
  • The present depends as much on our experiences as our expectations
  • Taking stock of the current crisis, a global systemic crisis
  • The recovery that can’t happen
  • The West is committing suicide with the new bubble in Government borrowing

2010-2020 : Build a new global governance or gradually sink into a conflict between major regional blocs

  • The decade 2010 – 2020 The lynchpin of world order for the following decades
  • The inability of the G20 to change the international game in 2009 leads to inevitable global geopolitical dislocation
  • Two major trends will steer the 2010-2020 decade
  • The French case: The French and France at the crossroads influence history again or sink into anonymity
  • Europeans are the only possible switchmen for the world train between 2010 and 2020
  • The first half of the decade marked primarily by world geopolitical dislocation
  • The rapid disintegration of the whole of the current international system
  • The downfall of the strategic ties of the world financial, economic, monetary and strategic system
  • The crisis, the catalyst of the restoration of the supremacy of the real economy over the virtual economy
  • 2010-2020 decade, towards a knockout victory by the gold over the Dollar
  • Nuclear Proliferation 2010-2020 : Towards a new treaty or in the direction of world chaos
  • Strategic dislocation of the big global players
  • The United States facing the historic “perfect storm”
  • The European Union in the face of its destiny as a future-maker. Between global switchman or National-Europeanism
  • Russia is better prepared than the others for this historic transition
  • China, when the provincial cousin becomes one of the big bosses
  • Japan and Taiwan, two examples of the emergence of an Asian bloc around Beijing between now and 2015
  • Latin America, so close to becoming an innovative international player, but so close to the U.S
  • Africa, more suitors and little hope
  • Middle East and the Muslim world. The more things happen, the less it changes
  • Israel 2020, two scenarios: Towards the end of the state of Israel, or towards a lasting Israeli state
  • The Resurgence of Turkey 2010-2020, the gradual exit from the Western camp
  • The Balkans 2014, the last EU enlargement

Adapt France to the “world after”. Ten years to exit the two century-old centralized model

Europe, a crucial decade to anchor in the reality of the Europeans and the world after the crisis

  • European integration : A laboratory prototype suddenly cast into history in 1989
  • Since the mid-1990s, the European elite haven’t known what to do with Europe except preventing its citizens taking control
  • The EU in the face of the challenge of its historical anchor in the people
  • The Brussels elite are just as parochial as their Parisian counterparts
  • The Eurozone, the only engine of European integration
  • R (evolution) in key foreign languages within the EU between now and 2020. French, German and Russian, the coming decade’s winning threesome
  • Value of international university degrees 2010-2020, look out for the crisis in “subprime” degrees!
  • In a world in full upheaval, prestigious university degrees will also become risky investments!
  • 2012, European education in the face of the post-Erasmus rendez-vous
  • The great European academic challenge in the years 2010-2020: Putting in place a successor to Erasmus
  • The decade when Islam converts to Europe
  • Progressive forces in Europe no longer have a future at national level
  • EU 2020, towards polycentrism and the end of the 1950s triangle

Two narratives of the future 2010-2020

  • The painful dawn of the “world after”
  • The tragic twilight of the “world before”

THE AUTHOR

Franck Biancheri

Franck Biancheri (1961 – 2012) was the Director of studies at LEAP (Laboratoire Européen d’Anticipation Politique) which foresaw the “global systemic crisis” as early as February 2006, and which has ever since been anticipating its evolution in the Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB) whose public announcements are translated in more than 70 different languages and read by more than 10 million people worldwide each month.

He was also one of the fathers of the Erasmus programme. Over the last twenty years, his activities have led him to bring his expertise to many governments and institutions of the European Union, as well as to the United States, the Muslim world, Latin America and Asia. He have also created two trans-European political parties : IDE which ran in the 1989 European election (France, Spain, Netherlands) and Newropeans which ran in the 2009 European elections (Germany, France, Netherlands).

EXCERPTS

The first half of the decade marked primarily by world geopolitical dislocation

The crisis, because it wasn’t anticipated by world leaders, is advancing at its own speed. In 2009 the financial efforts, without historical precedent, of the United States, Europe, China, Japan and other countries have allowed only two things to happen: to anesthetize the general population in various countries in order to postpone a violent political and social reaction and to save the major financial institutions without reforming them. All that done at the cost of an intolerable State debt burden, the conversion of a very large part (around 30%) of the world economy into a “zombie economy” (that’s to say surviving only through direct or indirect state aid or even via the manipulation of accounting rules) and a growing distrust of Western public opinion vis-à-vis all the ruling classes rightly suspected of being no more than the representatives of the most powerful financial interests. Alongside these very visible events, and ultimately in the short or medium term, the crisis represents other secular trends profoundly changing the world order we know, in particular China and India’s return to power and the end of a Western centric world.

The decade now dawning will be the setting for the interaction between these two “stages” of the crisis which, whilst being correlated of course, are not identical. The secular trends can be seen, over a decade, as data, that’s to say as events for which one can prepare without really being able to affect their progress while other events (lasting between two to five years on average) may on the contrary be directly affected by our decisions (those of the leaders and/or the people).

The first part of this decade will be essentially marked, first, by the growing emergence of secular trends marking the end of Western-centrism and, secondly, by the consequences of the financial crisis and especially the reactions to it in 2009. Reactions that led to excessive state debt and, in particular, excessive debt of the mainstay of the world order in recent decades, the United States. China being the preferred vehicle for these secular trends in action and the United States being, at the same time, the country at the heart of the financial crisis and its consequences¹, we can say that it will be Sino-American relations that will determine the pace and the magnitude of the shocks that we will experience between now and the middle of the 2010-2020 period.

Similarly, the other players (new, former or reinvented² powers) will of course act and react in the coming years, either according to the development of the USA China relationship and its consequences, or according to their own expectations for the world in the decades to come. It is most likely that this group that can give birth to the most fruitful initiatives and ideas to prevent the second part of the decade turning into a descent into hell for most of the planet and allow, between now and 2020, a lasting new world order to start to take shape. Given what has happened since the recognized beginning of the crisis, the USA-China duo has in fact very little chance of avoiding a sterile confrontation.

Neither the Chinese leadership, nor the U.S. elite seem to be able to do anything but defend/promote their own vested interests. Their mutual conflict and its domestic consequences for both countries will also demand all their attention, leaving them little room to think about the future of the world. That said, there is no guarantee, of course, that the contributions of the other layers will be able to divert the world from the logic of a zero sum game and, therefore, conflicts between blocs such as those which will quickly establish themselves in the relationship between the USA and China. It is, moreover, for this reason that there are two accounts of the future in this book. The main difference between the two hinges on this factor: the divergence of assumed developments becoming more and more apparent during the second half of the decade. But let’s not anticipate (for once) the end of the book. Let’s first look at the likely developments for the main geopolitical players for the 2010-2020 decade, as well as the general framework oftheir interplay, in more detail.

These likely developments will be a chain of events that will lead to the disintegration of the current international system, particularly through the collapse or paralysis of the major international institutions and the strategic links of the global monetary and financial system, and the beginning of a process of structural rebuilding of the major global players like the United States, the EU, Russia, Asia and Latin America, fluctuating between the beginning of disruption for some and the continuation of reorganization for others.

¹ This may seem surprising but I don’t think that the United States would be a central player in the currently emerging secular trends. In the end they will only have been, at a global level, a substitute for European power for the time that it took the latter to complete it’s painful metamorphosis from “European powers” to “ the European power” during the twentieth century. It really is Europeans, as the EU, who make up one of the new potential powers of the twenty-first century, alongside China, India and Russia, not least because it was an entity that didn’t exist in the world order until the 1990s. It took the fall of the Berlin Wall for the European community project to leave its experimental cocoon. We will come back to this later in the book.

² We can put Russia, China, India … and the EU in this latter category. In another guise, these powers were already major historical players. While Brazil or South Africa, for example, are actually new players. Today the United States is undeniably a former power.

 

The United States facing the historic “perfect storm”

    For the United States the process of strategic dislocation from 2010 has become so topical that it is one of the four themes of a report presented to the Pentagon in December 2008 by Nathan P. Freier of the Strategic Studies Institute of the United States’ Army War College¹. In it he describes the risk of dismemberment of the United States’ territory and its borders under the impact of the crisis². Indeed, if one considers the three key factors mentioned above, the United States is at the heart of a “perfect storm”³ in this regard:

    • Of the four political entities considered it is that which relies entirely on the « Dollar/Debts » base. It is even that which has fueled their power and wealth in these recent decades. And today the whole of their financial system has become insolvent whilst Dollar creation spirals out of control¹¹.

    • The socio-economic fabric of the country is far more diverse than an idealized vision of a uniform America from East to West would have us believe. Socio-ethnic tensions are huge with, henceforth, a strong Hispanic element linked to drug traffickers that plague the country’s southern border. The different regions’ economic interests increasingly diverge in the face of the crisis: for example, California’s near-bankruptcy problems are not the same at all as those of states where the auto industry is collapsing and they are different again from Florida’s. Texas does not have the same problems as New York, and so on. And the richest states are unwilling to pay for the poorest, a classic event leading to secession.

    • Finally, the quasi-monopoly of Washington and the Federal state in the response to the crisis requires the use of highly centralized plans, standardized and therefore unable to take the widely varying situations from one State to another into account. This simple fact already guarantees that the measures already implemented will not be very effective, as we have seen elsewhere for more than a year.

    At this stage it seems useful to recall that in choosing to be inspired by Abraham Lincoln, the new U.S. President has taken a significant historical risk because Lincoln was not only the end of slavery, but also the Civil War and the Greenback, the currency created by the Government without the backing of gold or silver¹², intended to finance the Civil War effort and which subsequently ignited very high inflation in the United States. Barack Obama should be wary of history which has a tendency to be very ironic.

¹ Source: Strategic Studies Institute, 04/11/2008.

² The border with Mexico is becoming a battleground for drugs trafficking. Source: Armed Forces Journal, 01/2009; Spacewar, 05/06/2008

³ Source: Strategic Studies Institute, 04/11/2008.

¹¹ The border with Mexico is becoming a battleground for drugs trafficking. Source: Armed Forces Journal, 01/2009; Spacewar, 05/06/2008

¹² The border with Mexico is becoming a battleground for drugs trafficking. Source: Armed Forces Journal, 01/2009; Spacewar, 05/06/2008

 

The Eurozone, the only engine of European integration

    Fortunately there was, nevertheless, a real institutional step forward in this lost decade, it’s the slow emergence (often too slow) of the Eurozone as an engine of European integration. A natural consequence of the Euro’s creation and the common destiny that it brings to those who share it, the Eurozone has helped to refocus the Community project on the continent, by marginalizing the United Kingdom, which doesn’t share the continent’s objectives at all (for another decade at least). The current crisis has greatly accelerated this marginalization and has even contributed to reversing the process. It is now the continent and the Eurozone, which weighs more and more on London, the City and their progress. This aspect will accelerate in the coming ten years since losing U.S. support and the City’s power at the same time, the United Kingdom will find itself very weak and isolated. In any case, it’s the opportunity to recapture a part of the European project where it began to be badly diverted in the late 1980s, when the teams encouraged by Margaret Thatcher were all operational. The European Central Bank¹ has thus become the mainstay of European independence and the resumption of the project for continental integration. Therefore, it’s really around the Eurozone that European political construction must be relaunched. The two components will be economic governance and its democratic control. It is by this means that the historic challenge of democratizing² the European project can be raised again, not by approaching it head-on via the twenty seven member-states.

    Through the Euro, now a major international currency, the link is made quite naturally with Europe’s other great challenge for the 2010-2010 decade, Europe’s role in the world. As indicated earlier, the crisis represents a unique historical opportunity for Europeans to reposition themselves as one of the major forces shaping the coming century. We’ve already reviewed the advantages of Europe here, and it is certainly in targeting the international monetary system’s imperative reconstruction that this role will evolve. Then, towards the middle of the decade, due to U.S. withdrawal from Europe and rising risks (more or less serious depending on the scenario), it will be time to merge the United Kingdom with a true leap ahead in joint defence. Until then, the joint diplomatic service, a useful development from the Lisbon Treaty, will have started to generate “the joint diplomatic interest”³ on a daily basis, whatever the worth of the High Representative who is supposed to lead. After the middle of the decade, it will be necessary, of course, to move up a gear to take on the European role in the world if we want to avoid the world taking the tragic path to the following decade.

¹ Which represents the future of the European institutional system not only because it has exited the archaic trinity of Brussels-Luxembourg-Strasbourg, but also its method of recruitment bans careers and immunity for life like the traditional EU system.

² A process that can only come from below, from citizens and which has been in continuous development since the early 1990s: increasing power from the Erasmus generations, internet development and related lowering of the costs of organizational development on a European scale, collapse of the national political classes’ credibility, widespread perception of the growing importance of European decisions. On this last point, the crisis has done a great service for the Eurozone.

³ This is where the institutions are unbeatable, they automatically create their own raison d’être.

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