Manufacturing plant

Globalization is on the decline but the United States is uniquely positioned to come out on top, geopolitics expert says in new book

In his new book, ‘The End of the World Is Just the Beginning’, geopolitical analyst Peter Zeihan argues that the upheavals in the world today are the result of a dismantling of the global order that characterized the post-war period up to the present day. .

After World War II, the United States struck a bargain with its war-torn allies that the United States would take care of global security and in return our allies would have access to “all chains of supplying all markets and all materials in the world” if they sided with us against the Soviet Union, Zeihan said.

Manufacturing plant

Workers lower an R1T truck body onto an assembly line chassis, April 11, 2022, at the Rivian Electric Vehicles plant in Normal, Illinois. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/Getty Images)

This arrangement led to mass industrialization and urbanization. What took the United States decades, for example, took China a single generation to achieve in terms of economic growth and development. But industrialization has come at a significant cost: almost all developed countries – with a few exceptions – are experiencing significant population decline.

“When you leave the farm to go to town, you have fewer children. And if you play like this for 70 years, it’s not that the world is short of children – it happened 30 years ago – the world is now running out of adults,” Zeihan said. “And so we have a population bomb, which is happening at the same time that Americans have largely lost interest in the structure that allowed the Old World to occur.”

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In his book, Zeihan argues that China is experiencing perhaps one of the largest population declines in the world.

“China has compressed seven decades of population decline into a single generation. And if the new Census Bureau data on China is correct, they already have more people in their 50s than in their 40s than in their 30s than in their twenties to teens,” Zeihan said. “We’re looking at a systemic economic collapse within the decade assuming nothing else goes wrong.”

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Chinese immigration inspection officers in protective suits parade near a container ship at a port in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Chinatopix via AP/AP Pictures)

Zeihan said the United States does not suffer from such a severe demographic problem as other countries, given that baby boomers in the United States are having more children than their counterparts around the world. While acknowledging that Millennials do not have children to the extent that their parents did, Zeihan argued that the implications of this will not be felt for at least 60 years, which will give time for United States.

Another important factor in the dismantling of globalization is that the United States largely loses interest in global affairs, being more preoccupied with domestic issues and petty politics.

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“The United States is kind of done dealing with the world right now…we’re burning all of our mental bandwidth on things that are domestic,” Zeihan said. “In a way it’s positive because it means we’re really not worried about the rest of the world. But for the rest of the world it’s a bit of a disaster because the rest of the world doesn’t work. not in a globalized system without the United States holding the ceiling.”

Zeihan said global upheavals, namely supply chain disruptions, price shocks and wars, were bound to happen anyway, but were accelerated by certain political and geopolitical events.

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A rescuer stands on the rubble of a building destroyed by Russian shelling, as they begin to search for bodies, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Borodyanka, Kyiv region, Ukraine , April 10, 2022. (REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/Reuters Photos)

“That was always going to happen in the 2020s. COVID accelerated that by probably two or three years, (former President) Trump by a year, President Biden by probably a year, then the Ukraine war, ( there was) kind of a crash,” Zeihan said. “We didn’t have the institutional and cultural capacity right now to have a globalized supply chain system because it requires certain sacrifices that we we are, at least for the moment, unwilling to consider.”

Despite the bleak picture Zeihan paints for the rest of the world in his book, he predicts that the United States, with its relatively isolated geography, promising demographics and simpler supply chains, is well positioned not only to face the storm, but also to get out of it. at the top in the coming decades. However, it will take time and effort. To bring inflation down and stay safe from disruptions in the fragmented global supply chain, for example, the United States needs to double its industrial and manufacturing capacity.

“It’s not a straight line. There are a lot of bumps along the road, there are a lot of things that we can and probably will go wrong with. But the structural things that we don’t have to beat. It’s geographic, it’s local, and it’s demographic.”

He added: “These are things that work for us but work against most of the rest of the world. And with every American build to success, with every global decline, more money and more skilled people are going to move to The United States. So the ballast is good. The context is good, the future is good. But we still have to work hard. There’s no getting around it.

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Zeihan’s book, “The End of the World Is Only the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization” was published June 14 by Harper Business Books.

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