Noah Smith sees the “War Economy” as the coming organizing principle of U.S. politics.
Today, I read a long-form post called “The War Economy”. It states that “political economy” is a set of economic policies with the intent to reshape our economies.
The 1920s and onwards had “the New Deal”.
The post-WW2 era had “Neo Liberalism”.
What’s the next organizing principle to align an entire nation?
Smith argues that “climate change” by itself has failed to produce an organizing principle so far. “The Green New Deal” died and there hasn’t been significant progress ever since.
He leads it back to the “Moral Equivalent of War” idea of William James.
The main question is: How to sustain political unity and virtue in the absence of war or a credible threat?
Climate Change is a long-term game:
- The worst consequences are delayed
- The direct impact of an individual is not enough to impact climate change
Risks are far removed. Personal impact is ambiguous.
In war, you pick up arms and point at the enemy.
But what to do if the enemy is a decades-long degradation of our planet?
An idea: Use the narrative of national defense to advance technology, bring progress, and rally the nation.
Here’s Noah’s article 👇
The War Economy
"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
One of my corollary thoughts is:
IF: Economic policies ⇒ Reshape our economies
THEN: Strong narratives ⇒ Reshape our values