The most powerful and influential country today is less open and stable. This is exacerbating the lack of global leadership, and this needs to change.
Fifteen years ago I wrote the book ‘The Jay Curve: A New Way to Understand the Rise and Fall of Nations’. I wanted to help the reader understand why some developing countries continue to grow and others experience great social unrest. It is time to unleash that tool on what is happening in the biggest superpowers, across all sectors in the United States.
The J-curve shows the relationship between a country’s openness (its political processes and the independent movement of people, goods and information within and beyond its borders) and its stability (whether its institutions can withstand shocks). The countries on the left side of the curve are fixed because they are closed. For example, in North Korea, Cuba and the Gulf countries, there is little or no competition in their political systems. They have the long-term political stability of open countries like Germany, Canada and Japan and are nowhere near dozens of other democracies. Those countries are on the right side of the curve.
- Ian Bremmer is also chairman of the Eurasia Group and GZERO Media’s Advisory Board on ‘Us Vs. Theme: The Failure of Globalization ‘.
- The most powerful and influential country in the world is much less open and stable than it was 30 years ago.
- This is exacerbating the global leadership shortage and this evolution needs to be reversed.
A country that moves from left to right – from closed to more open – must first go through a period of instability. It shows the fall in the J-curve. It happened when Mikhail Gorbachev wanted to open the Soviet Union or when South Africa loosened its apartheid regime. Some countries succeed in that change, while others break down.
Countries can also scroll from right to left. Despite Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his loss after the 2020 election, the United States remains a mature democracy on the right side of the curve, despite the failed U.S. capitalist uprising on January 6 and the distrust among many Americans that Joe Biden actually won the election. . At no time was the country on the brink of dictatorship. American companies have once again demonstrated their shock resistance. The military is politically neutral and the judiciary handles disputes over election results in accordance with the law.
However, as other companies began to destroy their legitimacy, the United States became less open and less flexible. Confidence in the election results, the most basic building block of democracy, took a drastic step.
There were credible allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump’s allegations that 3 million Americans then voted illegally for Hillary Clinton are baseless. His accusation that election fraud is making him win in 2020 is based on loose sand. Misinformation on traditional and social media made things worse. All of this has undermined confidence in the fairness of the election more than any event in the last 140 years.
Power has effectively been transferred from parliament to administration. This is clear from the overwhelming presidential ‘executive orders’ issued by Obama, Trump and Biden.
Congress has not been popular for a long time, but its hyper-discriminatory language and predictable party tax vote undermine the hope that Congress can act in the interests of all Americans. Politicians must continue to seek money. Lack of transparency on where that money is coming from will definitely not help.
The fact that many former politicians are becoming corporate campaigners is fueling voter cynicism. Radical political polarization casts doubt on the ability of parliament to better control the government or its own members. The long-standing inability of parliament to pass proper legislation has also shifted power effectively to the administration. This is clear from the overwhelming presidential ‘executive orders’ issued by Obama, Trump and Biden.
Finally, disrespect for the media is on the rise. In any open society, honest and willing journalists can put authority figures into their responsibilities. Unfortunately, polarizing ideas that tarnish American politics are reflected in the marketplace.
The media’s drive to gain market share destroys the credibility of journalism among millions of Americans. Journalists are seen by many as party campaigners. Social media exacerbates those divisions with less misinformation than the mainstream media standards within party factions. Until the misinformation becomes news itself, leading news journalists should ask office owners to comment on the news …
American companies have proven their opposition under Trump. American wealth and technological advantage have increased in most parts of the world.
Because of all these evolutions, the American J-curve is different than it was 30 years ago. American companies have proven their opposition under Trump, and American wealth and technological advantage to the greater part of the world have increased. That positive evolution makes the United States more stable at every level of transparency. But America is increasingly polarized. It exacerbates political paralysis and pushes the country into the J-curve.
The United States is not the only country plagued by bitter divisive voters, cynical public opinion, inequality, indiscriminate journalism and structural racism. But in the richest democracies in the world, those problems are huge in the United States. As the most powerful and influential country becomes more and more divided and inactive, it exacerbates the lack of global leadership.
The United States must quickly reverse its fall on the J-curve. Otherwise, we will all experience the consequences.
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