One of the strong arguments against continued American hegemony is the growing disparity between the haves and have-nots across the world. The last three decades has seen the rise of multi-billionaires such as
“Ivan Bosky, Tupac Shakur, George Soros, Notorious B.I.G., Rupert Murdoch, Snoop Doggy Dawg, Donald Trump, Don King, … ,Rio favela gang leaders, Chilean arms merchants, Russian disco magnates, Hong Kong real estate barons, the children, grand– and great-grandchildren of European nobilityand self– made Internet entrepreneurs alike, second and third generation Arab royalty, a cross-national section of narcotics kings, and all the other noveau riche prancing around the globe in their Lear Jets, Ultra Yachts and limousines (to say nothing of the wannabes). Their affinity is vulgarity, greed and ostentatious lifestyles. They are neither high cultured, traditional old rich or new innovators, but instead are backbiters and syndicators, currency and stock speculators, arms merchants, hustlers, money launderers, tycoons, spoiled children, carneys for prurient material and intellectual pabulum to the masses.” (Buchanan, 2000, p.1)
In this scenario, questioning the continued hegemony of the United States is a legitimate exercise. The global capitalist order as it exists is defined by consumption rather than productivity. With the motto of the Public Relations industry being ‘Image is Everything’, the real value of commodities get buried. When technological innovation meets power of productivity, as it does in the current economic order, consumption levels go up, standards of living also generally go up. But is this enough, when real incomes for a majority of the population has stagnated or declined? In many developing countries, indigenous culture and social harmony has been disrupted by the invasion of foreign capital, giving rise to increase in corruption. (Grondin, 2005, p.228) The array of corporate and government scams in these regions have multiplied in this period, while civility and culture have also degenerated.
“New forms of ideological extremism and nihilism have entered public discourse. These are in equal part a product of historical amnesia and post- materialist angst, in which the return to primary group identification takes on immediatist, self-absorbed, atomizing, and social Darwinian characteristics in a context of increasing globalization of production. This is a vulgar form of capitalist social organization, one that is highly efficient, highly stratified, utterly competitive and often brutish in its cultural and political dimensions.” (Buchanan, 2000, p.2)
Read in this context, we see American hegemony of the global economic order as not a heroic project intent on raising the standard-of-living of subaltern groups across the world. Instead, it is an opportunistic and exploitative program designed to serve global economic elites. If the general population were to benefit at all, it is purely incidental, with no such deliberate goals being set. It should also be remembered that the newly emerging billionaires in the last three decades are all from developing economies, giving credence to the theory that while neo-liberalism erases national boundaries, it keeps intact boundaries of social class. For example, “as equality among elites is expanded by the simultaneous global promotion of pluralism and markets, inequalities between and within subordinate social groups are increased as well. This serves the interests of the lumpen masters over the short term, but provides little assurance of stability, much less peace and justice, over the long-term.” (Buchanan, 2000, p.3)
Another lamentable tendency in the current global economic order is its apathy toward pressing human concerns. Global warming and the threat of nuclear warfare are two such concerns, with both having the potential to annihilate the entire species – rich and poor alike. In this context, we need to convince ourselves that contined American hegemony will reduce the chances of such catastrophes occuring. But evidence from the ground point in the opposite direction, clearly indicating that the prevailing economic order has negatively impacted a vast majority of human beings. Erosion of national sovereignty, concentration of power in the hands of Mn Cs, declining political stability in many regions, hurdles for democracy promotion are all symptoms of the global affliction. It is clearly in reaction to the excesses of American and capitalistic hegemony that grassroots mass movements are starting to emerge in different parts of the Third World. (Pozo, 2007, p.55)