According to a Pew Research Centre survey conducted in 2022, there has been and continues to be a growing trend among Americans (47% vs. 19%).
Roughly a third of U.S. adults (32%) say their nation’s influence on the global stage has stayed about the same.
The growing trend and belief that the decline of American power is a cultural and economic issue internal to the United States and other Western powers due to deindustrialisation.
The American system of world power is not dying.
The American government either deliberately or unintentionally bought its alliance at the end of World War II (1945) to win the Cold War (1945 to 1989) by sacrificing the working classes inside the United States and in developed Nations in the Global North.
The biggest reason for losing faith in the Western world is that the nature of work is changing from an industrial and brawn economy to an intellectual, design and brainpower economy, leaving people behind.
Since the end of World War II, the world has become more prosperous, and more people have been brought out of extreme poverty.
This brings the discussion of China and Russia being active opponents of the economic global system developed by the United States in the post-World War II period.
These two nations, mainly China, will not be the world’s next superpower in the 21st century; it will be another American century because China became prosperous due to the American system and geographic limitations of Russia and China.
How did the Americans win friends and influence people to buy into globalisation led by the United States at the end of World War II? There are three main reasons for American success and why this success still applies to American power in the 21st century.
The United States of America unlike every other nation that had industrialised and had great power status before and after 1945, the USA did not have any significant enemies.
In contrast, the English, French, Germans, Polish, Russian and many others worldwide had historical enemies going back centuries, if not thousands of years. For example, the Vietnamese and the Chinese have been enemies for at least 2000 years.
The British and the French had been at each other’s throats since before the Norman conquest in 1066 to 1815 with Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.
The United States has only had three enemies historically. The first enemy was the USA’s old colonial masters, the British, which Americans fought a long war from 1775 to 1783 to win their independence, and the Brits also burnt down the White House in the War of 1812.
To the Americans, the British were more of a psychological enemy born out of the trauma of the War of Independence, with the famous Confederate general Robert E. Lee spending the first part of his career building American defences against a possible British invasion.
The next enemy of the United States was the Mexicans, which the Americans thought a brief war between 1845 and 1848 called the Mexican-American War, in which America took half of the Mexican’s lands.
The final and, in some ways, a continuous enemy of the United States and the only nation that realistically threatened the very existence of America was the Russians.
The Americans were fighting a Cold War from 1945 to 1989, with the Russians threatening America with nuclear annihilation.
With this brief overview of American history and, to a lesser extent, global history, the United States in 1945 had only existed from 1776 with the Declaration of Independence or 1789 with the ratification and implementation of the American Constitution, depending upon your view of the American start date as a nation.
America in 1945 was at most 169 years old.
This meant that with the United States dominating the whole of the northern hemisphere and having no bad blood with nations of Europe and around the globe, the United States was in the perfect position to be a guarantor of global peace and prosperity.
At the end of World War II, the world was in ruins.
The United States is facing another potential World War against the Soviet Union to fight the Russians and to expand the American spirit’s influence.
The USA came up with a novel solution that was truly unique in human history, which was corporations, specialisation, and globalisation to build a global economy.
The Soviet Union and its successor, the Russian Federation, could not and still cannot beat the USA due to the Russian society, particularly its government class, using the outdated view of economics and imperialism to build power and influence.
The global economy was born in 1945, and with it, the American peace in Europe that had not existed since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476.
The reason for so many European wars since the 16th century was their view of economics that the only way a nation can become wealthy is by another country losing.
They viewed economics as a zero-sum game of the only winners and losers.
Therefore, their view of economics was that Imperial centres would go out into the world, build their empires, and trade predominantly within the Imperial territories.
This meant no nation traded significantly with others, and no specialisation existed.
Before 1945, if a country had no access to raw materials such as coal and steel, that nation would not industrialise.
What the Americans did by guaranteeing global security of global shipping lanes was that all countries that were part of the American-led security system could industrialise without fear of invasion or the loss of access to materials.
Globalisation and the Wealth of Nations
Globalisation as we know it comes from specialisation, which Leads to Economies of Scale.
The economies of scale mean that the more time individuals focus on one particular task, the more they become specialised and more effective in performing those tasks.
The Economist and philosopher Adam Smith, the author of The Wealth of Nations, first published in 1776, used the example of the production of a pin.
Smith advocated that each part of the production chain should focus purely on the specialisation.
The miners concentrate on the mining, and the People working on the manufacturing, transportation and other services and skills that go into producing one item focus on that part of the supply chain.
A great example of a modern supply chain is one vehicle comprising 21,000 specialised components from different global supply chains.
If one part is unavailable nationally, that vehicle won’t run.1945, the USA created a global marketplace for its allies and enemies.
For example, the Chinese Communist Party opened its economy after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, and Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978.The rise of China was only possible with the creation of globalisation and specialisation.
What the Western economies, including the USA, did was to deindustrialise their economies, focus on design technology and be active in the more value-added sectors of the economy, according to the analyst and writer Peter Zeihan.
Countries like South Korea, Japan and China were able to enter the global economy due to wealthy nations seeing their young populations as cheap labour as a means to produce cheap manufacturing goods around the globe.
The classic example of Japan was that they became rich and then transformed their economies using manufacturing to become consumer-led economies and economies that focus more on the higher value aspect of global supply chains.
China is Getting Old
Unfortunately for China, they are becoming old before they can get rich.
China, like Japan, faces the same issue: an ageing population due to the improvement of their economies, eugenic policies in China with the one-child policy created in 1980 and social factors that have led to the collapse and growth of the population.
For the Japanese, the issue was partly caused by the 1973 oil crisis in the 1970s, the last time Japan had a stable birthrate of 2.1 due to instability that led to couples deciding not to have children and putting off parenthood.
For the Chinese, the Chinese Communist Party implemented the one-child policy due to fear of overpopulation.
For nations to have a healthy demographic, there needs to be more young than older people in the system. If a country has too many older people at the top of a democratic pyramid, it will collapse.
If that nation has not transitioned to a post-industrial society, there won’t be young people to work the hard manufacturing jobs. China has experienced fantastic household income growth over the last 40 years, mainly from 2001 to 2021.China’s citizens were estimated to hold just 9% of the world’s wealth.
That figure has now more than doubled, while median wealth in the country has skyrocketed from $3,111 to $26,752 between 2000 and 2021.Comparison In Japan, the average household net wealth is estimated at USD 294,735, lower than the OECD average of USD 323,960.
When looking at statistics, China is getting old before it can get rich, which means its economy won’t survive without industrialisation or access to the globalised economy.
Why the USA will still be Number One
The reasons why the United States of America will emerge as the great power of the 21st century and why this century will be another American was due to the mistakes and geographical limitations of America’s opponents in the form of Communist China, Soviet Russia and its successor Russian Federation.
Against the Chinese, all the Americans have to do is cut off access to American technical skills, which the Biden administration is already doing, and wait for the Chinese to die of old age.
For the Russian Federation, the last time the Russians had a population boom was during the Soviet period before the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
The Russians are geographically limited to Eurasia and are blocked by American allies in the Baltic, Balkans, Black Sea and the Pacific.
Furthermore, the Russians operated on the old view of economics and empire; the nation must have Imperial territories and focus trading just within the Empire.
The Russians are also using the last of its generation, born in the 1990s, to fight the war in Ukraine.
The Chinese have not had children due to the one-child policy, and experiencing seven generations of industrialisation in one generation means they also experienced seven generations of demographic decline within one generation.
Unlike Great Britain, the first nation to industrialise and where the Industrial Revolution started in 1769, the United Kingdom experienced a slow population decline over seven generations.
When societies experience industrialisation, they move away from an agricultural economy with plenty of open space, and children are free labour on the farm.
When people start living in cities, children become an expensive burden in the short term, which naturally means people stop having children or have fewer.