Posted by: captainfalcon | January 7, 2010


All you have shown is that it is better for a state to have more than less international power. But (arguably) it is also better for a state to have more than less equality. Even assuming (crudely) that there is a one-to-one inverse variance (to put it douchily and, perhaps, inaccurately as well) between international power (provisionally defined as the ability to get other States to do what you want) and equality, your analysis doesn’t indicate what proportion of international power to equality is optimal. (You haven’t even given us the resources to figure out how much weaker the United States would have had to have been before it was unable to satisfy the interests you think we were uniquely well-positioned to satisfy.)

Further, you’ve given no reason to think there is a one-to-one inverse variance between equality and international power. For example: social democracies tend to have interests in common. Our becoming a social democracy, then, might change our international preferences to be in accord with a broad bloc of states, which would enhance our ability (with respect these preferences) to “get what we want.” (Of course, this cuts both ways. Social democracies also tend not to spend on national defense, so our becoming a social democracy might accelerate the dilapidation of our military.)

Finally, there’s got to be something wrong with this: “if push comes to shove and it all becomes too much, we can default no problem.  What are our creditors going to do, invade?” (It sounds like Andrew.)

But everyone should read Manzi’s piece.


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