A. Conflicting ways out of the recession
In the United States, a political dispute is raging over the right direction for the nation. The “change”-President and his Democrats propagate the necessity of checking and, if possible, reversing the progressive decay of the country, especially the process of de-industrialization and the impoverishment of entire sections of the population. The Republican opposition, radicalized by the “Tea Party” movement, rejects all of the state’s corrective interventions into the course and results of capitalist competition as eating up funds and sabotaging America’s traditional path to success. The dispute rages, fittingly, over revenues and expenditures in the nation’s budget. What makes the debate so explosive is the fact that the Republican opposition has used the legally stipulated debt ceiling as leverage for extorting and credibly threatening to remain obstinate even in the face of government insolvency.
B. The U.S. has to be concerned about its money
The economic basis of the power of the United States has long since reached beyond the capitalistic achievements of its own country. With its credits and investments, with exquisite financial products and a lot of dollars, America has brought about a global financial business that opens up the entire world as a source of wealth for the nation. Through its successes in accumulation, this business has caused a critical devaluation of its dollar-denominated wealth, a case of global over-accumulation. The state saw itself compelled to stop the ruinous impact of this crisis by its own creation of money, and proved capable of doing so. This success, however, has a price. The marketing of the debts the state creates as a substitute for the worthless securities of the credit trade is meeting with reservations. The equation according to which U.S. credit functions as money capital worldwide, so essential for America and the world economy, is no longer valid in the unconditional sense required by the global financial business. Of course, the dollars themselves, with which the Fed has been “flooding the markets” to facilitate the financing of business and government debts, are still being used worldwide as means of business. But the preservation of their value is being put into question, not least by major rivals that earn a lot of money on America, ambitiously using their accumulated dollar stocks to build up their own financial power, one that is less dependent on American credit and credit money. In the meantime, America’s European allies have had some success — precarious, but notable — in their attempts to turn the euro into an alternative world money of equal rank. In the wake of the crisis, America’s crisis policy, the calculations of the financial sector, and the competitive efforts of other world economic powers all represent a threat to U.S. money and credit, and undermine the continued existence of its exceptional political-economic position.
With their fight over the budget, those in charge in America are dealing with this “state of the nation” in a way that is appropriate for a democracy and a market economy. The fact that their world economic power is dependent upon foreign calculations with American credit and credit money, and that this power is no longer beyond all doubt, appears to them as a challenge posed by rival states, an affair in the competitive struggle of nations, which America is bound to win just because it has always done so. What America’s politicians are fighting about — in a fittingly fundamental way, given the magnitude of the challenge — is how.