The New American State

My new book The New American State is publishing by the end of October 2020. It will be available on Amazon as Kindle version. Read foreword and grab your copy.

What will happen to America and to the world? How will the lives of the next few American generations change, and what factors will decide whether the citizens of the United States will live well? Are we at a turning point in the political history of mankind and of America in particular, one in which people overall, be they “ordinary” or “extraordinarily empowered,” will make fewer and fewer decisions? To what extent are political and social processes objective, and to what extent can we govern them? What depends on us?

It took ten years for tens of millions of American citizens to recover from the so-called “Great Recession.” In 2018, the Census Bureau announced that “for the first time in 11 years, the official poverty rate was significantly lower than 2007, the year before the most recent recession.” This state of reduced poverty, however, was a fact for only two years. In 2020, the economic crisis caused by covid-19 further reduced incomes and increased poverty. Poverty rates in the United States in the first two decades of the 21st century were higher than in the 1970s.

The trend in the development of American corporate profits is just the opposite. They are on an aggressively increasing curve. In contrast, the number of small businesses starting up and closing has been identical between 2000 and 2019. In 2019, 33% of small businesses indicated they had insufficient capital and revenue. To this we should add that 78% of their owners are over 40 years of age, and 53% are over 50. American small business is shrinking under conditions of a high average age, a shortage of income and capital, and an increasingly corporatizing economy. Its share of the US GDP has been steadily declining over the past 20 years. American capitalism is mutating. This is inevitably leading to changes in the social structure of society, in the political process, in representation, and in the constitution and exercise of power.

The concentration of economic resources in corporations and the weakening of small business is feudalizing American society. The degree of dependency is increasing. On the one hand, the freedom of the individual American citizen is limited by indebtedness. In 2019, the consumer debt of Americans, accumulated in credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and other similar types of debt was higher even than in 2008, the year of the Great Recession. This indebtedness will not decrease in the next several years. For a number of reasons, one of which is the economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, American citizens will owe even more.

The shortage of economic resources and the shrinking market share of small businesses are increasing economic inequality. The individual is becoming increasingly dependent on corporations. In the United States, a modern equivalent of an aristocracy is being created – a privileged social stratum that has two fundamental characteristics – increasing hereditary wealth and control over the economic, public, and political spheres. It may sound strange to most people, but America is in the process of an “aristocratization of the state.

In parallel with the increasing dependence of the individual, the decrease in his freedom, and the division of society according to all kinds of social and economic features, there is a process afoot in the United States of deep division in worldview and politics. The formal difference between the political principles and values of the Republican and Democratic parties is growing. The differences between Republicans and Democrats have always been clear – especially in the economic and social spheres. The cores of the two parties, however, are becoming increasingly polarized and increasingly radical. There are practically no conditions for reaching consensus. In conditions of growing political polarization, the American majority system produces a specific state of politics and power – “governance of radicalized minorities.” This is extremely harmful to American society.

The New American State is a book about the challenges facing the modern U.S. state and the attempts of today’s rulers to expand the gray area within it for their own or someone else’s benefit. This is a book warning that it is entirely possible for today’s rulers to push the American state to a condition in which there is a physical and institutional blurring of the boundaries between the branches of government . It is even possible for the United States to go backwards historically in terms of citizens’ rights and freedoms. Two dangerous trends to change the state and state system are at hand.

The first would be a transformation of the modern state into a condition known to us historically from the late aristocratic era and from the period of the creation of nation-states. This is a political condition established on the personal authority and will of the ruler and the surrounding elite, and respectively, on the specific hierarchy of the state system ensuing therefrom. This tendency is accompanied by cultural xenophobia, the absolutization of nationality and nation, and by a longing for ethnic and even racial separatism. It is based on notions of the nation-state, nation, and ethnicity known to us from past historical periods. Its adherents thrust collectivistic conceptions of statehood, inevitably associated with the restriction of individual freedoms, into our daily lives.

The second trend is connected with the political and cultural conception that it is good for people and for the world to establish universal standards and universal order. This trend uses economic globalization to change the model of the political development of nation-states. Through the establishment of “universal standards,” countries with weak institutions become jurisdictions that apply the same political model, regardless of specific historically established cultural and historical characteristics. This is a type of state system in which informal unelected groups, not controlled by the citizens, along with “elites,” influence political decisions or directly make and impose them. In its mutated modern form, this trend offers us the creation of a global dystopia.

Both trends are dangerous. And both turn to the past, rewriting it for self-serving purposes, in order to change our future. One takes us back to a world of limitations that very much resembles pre-war aristocratic Europe. The other pushes us into a power matrix in which, behind the façade of universal rights, decisions are not made in the official institutions of the nation-state. And the latter serve as an instrument to legitimize the decisions already taken.