WHAT ARE AMERICA’S INTERESTS IN THE TWENTY-FlRSTcentury world economy? And how can Washington attain them?
The energetic debate on the recent global economic convulsions has been devoid of answers to these enormously consequential questions for the United States and the world. The purpose of this book is to start filling this gap. This is an assessment of the US-led postwar global economic order, an account of the changes and challenges to it, and a road map for Washington to advance global growth and stability in the new century. This is also a call for leadership in the global economy and an assertion that the United States is the only nation able to exercise it.
Such a starting point may sound heady. After all, the past few years have been extraordinarily difficult for America. The United States has become portrayed as a nation divided at home and discredited abroad, its economy sullied by deficits and stifled by disinvestment, its global primacy overtaken by a near-audible power shift from West to East. In all too common depictions, America is passing the baton of global stewardship to emerging nations. A new world order led by China is said to be waiting in the shadows.
However, such arguments have analytical flaws. They assume linearity, seeing a world where emerging markets inexorably rise and America falls, when most of world history has been capricious and nonlinear. They regard the world economy as a zero-sum game in which China’s gain is America’s