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Talking to Paul Kennedy

Posted by: Michael Mandel on March 31

My colleague Steve LeVine recently interviewed Paul Kennedy, author of the seminal The Rise and Fall of Great Powers. Steve asked Kennedy about America’s future. Surprisingly, Kennedy was not as negative as I would have expected. Here’s what he said:

For me, the jury is out. It is as difficult as puzzling out where China is going. Is America still the vital power, or whether it is declining relatively. The debate has intensified. That fact tells me that the U.S. is not going to go away. There is a competing expectation, whether there is a world order that is more multi-polar, which I think we are moving toward, or a hub and spoke with the U.S. at the center.

The rest of the interview is here.

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Reader Comments


March 31, 2009 06:46 PM

While the financial sector will greatly diminish, the US will come out far ahead of most other countries if handled responsibly. In taking on debt, one takes on power as Alexander Hamilton recognized. No one else is in a position to do that at the scale we can. We have become net lenders again and remain the safe haven.


April 1, 2009 11:10 PM

are we really net lenders? And who do you mean by "we" specifically? Are you referring to US banks only? As a country, aren't we net debtors?


April 2, 2009 01:22 AM

Net in the current sense not the gross sense, see Brad Setser. We includes the Fed's currency swaps and the rise in savings rates.

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Michael Mandel, BW's award-winning chief economist, provides his unique perspective on the hot economic issues of the day. From globalization to the future of work to the ups and downs of the financial markets, Mandel-named 2006 economic journalist of the year by the World Leadership Forum-offers cutting edge analysis and commentary.

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