Two major trends are reversing, and trust in centralized institutions is eroding.
I tend to be years early on identifying trends, but three that will make a difference going forward are what I call “The Three Ds”: Delegitimization, Definancialization and Deglobalization.
Broadly speaking, the global economy and thus globalization and its sibling, financialization, depend on the legitimacy of centralized institutions. These include nation-state governments, international organizations such as the IMF, central banks, the mainstream global media, and various Central State agencies tasked with reporting data accurately, for example the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S. and equivalent agencies in other trading blocs.
By far the grandest experiments in legitimization of the past 20 years are the European Union (EU) and its common currency, the euro, and China’s one-party rule combining a command economy with a quasi-free enterprise model, i.e. “Capitalism with Chinese characteristics.”
The vortex of insolvency gripping Europe is rapidly chewing through what remains of the legitimacy of the euro and the EU institutions tasked with overseeing the financial sector. As the legitimacy of these agencies erodes, the rot spreads to the political institutions which have placed their legitimacy in the hands of bureaucrats and central bankers.
As for the euro and the EU’s grand integration experiment, we can turn to George W. Bush’s inimitable phrase for a summary: this sucker’s going down. The subprime mortgage meltdown offers a cogent preview of Europe’s future.