In Review :: How to Rule the World

How to Rule the World:
The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy

by Mark Engler

Nation Books, 384 pages, 2008, $16.95

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How to Rule the World was written before the crash, but Mark Engler’s analysis holds up to today’s events. The financial collapse is part of a long-term waning of U.S. world power, and anyhow, the author predicted it.

Engler’s critical insight is that the two dominant approaches to U.S. foreign policy are in trouble. Neoliberalism, the policy of the Clinton administration, centered on facilitating transnational corporations’ global access to natural resources, markets, and cheap labor, and restricting government spending to assure the resulting profits would flow—unencumbered by wage demands, regulations, or taxes—to those at the top. Those policies suffered a setback under the neoconservatism of the Bush administration, which preferred exercising military, often unilateral, power—never mind that segments of the corporate elite suffered and U.S. political and moral legitimacy took a hit.

Engler shows that both neoliberalism and neoconservatism are in disarray. This opens possibilities for new international relationships based on democratic values and aimed at increasing equity and sustainability.

The possibility is there, but it will take a movement—a ramped-up global justice movement, for example—to assure that the next U.S. president doesn’t try to re-establish an old, failed pattern—or create still more chaos in the attempt.

Sarah van Gelder wrote this article as part of Sustainable Happiness, the Winter 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Sarah is executive editor of YES! Magazine. Photo of Sarah van Gelder
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