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E-mail: artguillenrom hotmail. Member of the National System of Researchers of Mexico. The global crisis of reinforced the deflationary tendencies, as well as the withdrawal of the central countries inwards. After the Great Recession , most economies have experienced semi-stagnation and deglobalization processes. The crisis accelerated the decline of the hegemony of the United States.
While they retain an overwhelming military advantage and maintain financial hegemony, they have lost ground in production, in international trade and in direct foreign investment. The objective of this article is to analyze the changes experienced in the trade policy of the United States of America USA since the arrival of Donald Trump to the government, which has been characterized by the rise of an aggressive protectionism and the abandonment of multilateral negotiation mechanisms.
Protectionism is not a new phenomenon in that country. Even in the post-war period, in which the United States became the hegemonic power of the capitalist system and assumed the role of leader of trade liberalization, trade barriers, tariff or non-tariff, did not cease to apply.
It is argued that the current trade policy of the US administration responds to the adverse circumstances in which the world economy unfolds and the changes that are taking place in the geopolitical order. The main factors that have produced that dramatic turn in trade policy are, first, the great global crisis that broke out in which outcome continues to face an environment of radical uncertainty, and, second, the deepening of the decline of the US hegemony, which although its roots go back to the seventies, accelerated with the global crisis.
This crisis has led to a scenario of economic stagnation, deflationary tendencies and deglobalization in most of the developed countries, but it has not prevented, up to now, the unstoppable rise of China as an emerging power.
Second section examines the recent development of the global crisis and its relationship with the process of stagnation experienced in most of the old Western powers, as well as the limitations of the economic policy applied by governments and central banks to achieve a vigorous recovery of the economy. In the third section, the process of declining US hegemony is analyzed in the framework of the fragmentation of world order, the predominance of centrifugal tendencies within it, the formation of new geopolitical alliances and the tendencies towards the constitution of a multipolar order.
The fourth section analyzes the trade policy of aggressive protectionism of the Donald Trump government, which is inscribed as mentioned above, in the context of the crisis and the hegemonic decline of that power. At the same time, this policy is articulated with the ultraconservative, racist and xenophobic strategy followed by the administration with republican support, and which is the ideological cement of the population, mainly Caucasian that allowed Trump to reach the government and achieve its re-election in In , the global economic-financial crisis began.
This has been the deepest crisis that capitalism has faced in its long history, more serious and complex than the one faced during the Interwar period of the last century. The multidimensional nature of the crisis - which announces the historical limits of this mode of production - is compounded by the inability of governments and multilateral institutions to find a way out to restore the dynamism that characterized the system in the two decades that followed to the Second World War. These changes prefigure the end of the unipolar world in force since the fall of the Soviet Union and the birth of a multipolar order yet to be defined.
Among the main changes of the present era are the hegemonic decline of the United States and the rise of China and other emerging powers. The global crisis has driven the deflationary tendencies that have been latent in the world economy for years, as well as the withdrawal of the core countries inwards.
Once the Great Recession ended, most of the developed economies experienced processes of cyclical recovery, but within a general framework of economic semi-stagnation. At the same time, a slow but significant process of trade deglobalization and reinforcement of protectionist policies was detonated. After the storm of the Great Recession in began a cyclical recovery process that lasts to date. But it is also one of the most mediocre expansive phases, which in the theoretical field, has led to the resurgence of secular stagnation theory.
That recovery also coincided with the European crisis of , which almost caused the dissolution of European integration, as well as with the continuity of the lethargy of the Japanese economy, whose productive anemia has spread for more than three decades. The unconventional expansive monetary policies of the central banks followed since the outbreak of the global crisis inflated the assets of these central banks to unprecedented levels, thus preventing the world economy from repeating a depression similar to the one of the s.
That policy avoided the increase of open unemployment rates, but failed to substantially reactivate investment or economic growth. The balance sheets of the main central banks of the world accumulate a whopping Of the total figure, the FED has 3. These securities remain on their balance sheets, with no prospect of being able to sell them, since doing so would bring down the prices of the bonds and would stop any attempt of monetary normalization.
For a long time now, what is normal in capitalism is a persistent abnormality! Most of the economies of the developed countries prostrated themselves in a situation of semi-stagnation; financialization remained unchanged, new financial bubbles were created and deflationary tendencies remained latent. The inflation that was the main enemy at the beginning of the eighties has paradoxically become one of the most desired objectives of the economic policy of governments and central banks.
Furthermore, if a recession or a new financial crisis were to occur, central banks could not use monetary policy as a countercyclical weapon. GDP growth in developed countries has been anemic and emerging economies have seen their growth slowed down including China or have entered recession, as is the case in Brazil, Argentina and other countries.
In there was a slight upturn as the global GDP grew 3. However, as noted below, this upturn lost strength at the end of Due to the crisis, international trade collapsed, leaving the external market as an important escape valve for semi-stagnant economies no longer.
China itself was driven to modify its economic model, so that it can rely more on domestic consumption. While foreign trade in goods increased at twice the rate of world GDP in the period before the global crisis, since the increase in foreign trade has registered similar rates and even lower than the growth of GDP Table 1 and Figure 1. This means that the international movement of goods has not only lost dynamism, but has also slowed down the intense process of trade globalization that began in the s.
October Since the second postwar period, trade globalization, which we can measure through the degree of openness of the economies world exports as a percentage of GDP , gained momentum. As can be seen in Figure 2 , that process accelerated markedly after the great crisis of the late s. Source: World Bank. Its maximum point was reached in when it registered On the contrary, since the great recession of , this index has tended to fall sharply, indicating a clear process of trade deglobalization linked to economic stagnation and the rise of protectionism.
In , the export coefficient was around almost five percentage points lower than in the period before the global crisis The reversion of globalization is not confined solely to merchandise trade.
This begins to affect foreign direct investment FDI flows. After having rebounded at the end of the Great Recession , they have been declining since The decline was accentuated in The decrease was more pronounced in the developed countries and in the so-called economies in transition ex socialist countries , while the flows to the underdeveloped economies remained stagnant.
In that negative behavior of the FDI flows, had an important influence the marked decrease in the flows linked to the mergers and acquisitions processes. These flows fell from billion dollars bd in to bd in In this reversal has played an important role the tax reduction decided by the Trump administration, which has led many TNCs to repatriate capital to the United States to benefit from the tax cut.
According to UNCTAD a , the reflux of FDI is not only due to the climate of uncertainty that surrounds the world economy, but also influenced by a lower profitability of capital. The rate of return has decreased consistently since , going from 8. This decrease has affected practically all regions of the globe. The phantom of the rate of profit reappears although neither neoliberals nor Keynesians want to see it. The search for high returns in financial markets in order to maximize profits is explained by the stagnation of the investment process and the lower expectations of profit in the productive sphere of the economy.
Since the volatility of financial markets intensified in April , financial globalization resented the tide change with the contraction of portfolio capital flows to the so-called emerging countries. Among the factors that have contributed to this incipient process of financial deglobalization, are the three interest rates increases decreed by the FED in , the appreciation of the dollar, and the appearance of strong currency devaluations in Argentina, Turkey and Brazil. Briefly, the world economy is more than eleven years old since the beginning of the cyclical recovery.
It has been a long phase, but unequal and fragile, to the point that even in the dominant circles of capital there is great uncertainty about its course. The IMF itself recognizes that at the present time the risks are greater. It states that:. Financial vulnerabilities, which have accumulated during years of extremely low rates and volatility, could make the road head bumpy and could put growth at risk […] Central banks may respond to higher inflation more aggressively than currently expected, which could lead to a sharp tightening of financial conditions.
UNCTAD b makes a deeper analysis of the situation and considers the tendency of governments and central banks to rely almost exclusively on monetary policy to overcome the crisis to be wrong:. The persistent weakness of effective demand, compounded by post-crisis deleveraging by households and firms, dampened productive investment, while higher income inequality and lower employment rates prevented a strong rebound of consumption.
It does not help that governments remain reluctant to spend to support growth. For this organization, rather than facing a return to normalcy, we would be facing new financial turbulences:. Indeed, the risks of greater financial turmoil are high.
These have been presented openly since the last quarter of There is no need to be surprised. The financial regulation instead of strengthening after the irruption of the crisis except the light effort of the Dodd-Frank Law, now blurred , has opted to continue with deregulation, especially after the arrival of the Trump administration.
In addition, little was done to solve the global imbalances, which played an important role in the financial bubbles that led to the crisis, and which instead of decreasing have increased.
The decline of the hegemony of the United States in the world was exacerbated by the irruption of the global crisis of However, this process of decline did not begin then, but several decades earlier. The establishment of neoliberalism in the eighties, during the administration of Ronald Reagan allowed stopping the US decline, through the application of a radical and aggressive monetary policy under the leadership of Secretary of the Treasury Paul Volcker.
This policy not only succeeded in stopping the strong inflation of the previous decade, but also prevented the decline of the dollar and its eventual abandonment as a key currency of the system. At the same time that policy triggered the external debt crisis in the peripheries of the system. Globalization allowed the imperial power to recover the initiative in the remodeling of capitalist economies and represented a new source of profits for the transnational capital through the relocation of its capitals in the peripheries.
The space for valorization of capitals was greatly expanded with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the European socialist camp and with the insertion of China into neoliberal globalization.
With this last crisis, the process of decline of the US hegemony that had been contained with globalization accelerated provoking a major change in the correlation of forces of the powers in the world system.
Neoliberal globalization caused profound changes in the structure of the world economy. During the last three decades, the United States began an unequal but unstoppable process of declining hegemony since the Second World War and became the largest debtor on the planet, while China emerged as the main industrial and manufacturing workshop and first trade power. China was consolidated, as the main creditor center, while the United States, as happened with the United Kingdom in the Interwar period, became the main debtor.
This country became a highly rentier economy that uses its monetary, financial and military supremacy to maintain its hegemony. The United States, the debtor country, benefits from the importation of Chinese products at low prices and the secure purchase by the Asian power of debt securities generated by its growing external deficit, while China benefits from counting with a large market for its exports and for the accumulation of large monetary reserves Roach, The dynamic pole of the world economy leaned definitively towards Asia, and mainly towards China.
The impressive development of China gained strength with the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping from An export model was established based on the impulse of capitalist production relations and external opening. In this way, China inserted itself into neoliberal globalization, but without passively accepting the Washington Consensus recipes and maintaining autonomy in the design and application of its macroeconomic policies.
However impressive these numbers are, they minimize the relative weight of China in the world economy. If instead of using the GDP data at constant prices - we use the data in terms of the purchasing power the currencies PPP, for its acronym in English , which eliminates the distortion of the exchange rates in the data - , the rise of China turns out to be much more spectacular and the North American decline more pronounced.
As can be seen in Figure 3 , the share of Chinese GDP in world production has continued to increase during the last decade, going from 4.
La Economia Mundial Y El Imperialismo