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Who is Emmanuel Todd ?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Stalin, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. Stalin

    Stalin Active Member

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    AT A TIME when American military power is unchallenged and the Bush administration is as rampant as ever, it may seem premature to announce "the breakdown of the American order". But that is precisely what Emmanuel Todd has done in After the Empire. The French demographer and statistician is no stranger to controversy: in 1976 he was the first to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union, on the basis of a careful analysis of its declining birth-rate.

    In this latest thought-provoking book, Todd predicts the end of another empire. He examines the fundamental weaknesses of the US to conclude that, contrary to conventional wisdom, America is fast losing its grip on the world stage in economic, military and ideological terms.

    America became an empire not by strategy but by accident, following the sudden collapse of its main adversary. With the globalisation of investment, it then indulged in the luxury of conspicuous consumption on a cushion of incoming capital while floating deeper and deeper into debt. To keep the rest of the world in check, and prevent its creditors calling in the chips, all America needed to do then was to wield a big stick, according to Todd. Even then, America chose the lazy option.

    "The real America is too weak to take on anyone except military midgets," Todd says. Hence the hostility to such states as North Korea, Cuba, and even Iraq, an underdeveloped country of 24 million exhausted by a decade of sanctions. Todd argues that such "conflicts that represent little or no military risk" allow a US presence throughout the world. In any case, America would be incapable of challenging a more powerful country.

    The risk for America, Todd argues, is that its clumsy tactics could backfire by provoking a geostrategic realignment in Europe and Asia. Increasingly, the rest of the world is producing so that America can consume. If Europe, Russia and Japan draw closer as a result of the "drunken sailor" swaggering of the US, then Washington will have achieved exactly the opposite of what it sought.

    Writing for an English-language readership in a fresh introduction, Todd insists that he is not just another anti-American French intellectual. In France, the Todd family, with its Jewish- American background, "is suspected of having a culpable preference for America and England".

    Todd is at his most convincing when examining developments from his perspective as a demographer. He demonstrates the twin benefits of a drop in birth- rates and rise in literacy. His contrasting studies of American, European and Russian family structures are fascinating. After the Empire seems on shakier ground when drawing conclusions from economic trends.

    Todd insists that he yearns for America to return to its true self: liberal, democratic and productive. But, right now, "only one threat to global stability hangs over the world today - the United States itself, which was once a protector and is now a predator.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20040311/ai_n12773436

    Editorial Reviews
    From Publishers Weekly

    A bestseller in Europe, this provocative but erratic manifesto stands Euro-anxiety about American hegemony on its head. French demographer Todd (The Final Fall: An Essay on the Decomposition of the Soviet Sphere) cites Paul Kennedy's theory of imperial overstretch and Michael Lind's notion of the American overclass to paint America as a "predatory" but weakening empire, its unilateralism and militarism a sign of frailty, not strength. Misguided free trade policies, he contends, have hollowed out America's industrial base and decimated its working and middle classes, polarizing the country into a society of plutocrats and plebeians. Dependent on imports, America has degenerated into a parasitic, Keynesian consumer-of-last-resort, injecting demand into the world economy while producing nothing of value. To mask its decline, America pursues a foreign policy of "theatrical micromilitarism," picking fights with helpless Third World countries like Iraq to convince the world's real power centers-Europe, Japan and Russia-of its military prowess and validate its spurious image as global policeman. Written in a witty polemical style, Todd's grand but cursory arguments range across economics, military history and geopolitics in ways that might make specialists cringe. Particularly reductionist is his demographic and anthropological view of political science, in which birth and literacy rates and peasant family structures are virtually the sole determinants of a society's politics (but, it should be noted, he used declining birth rates in the Soviet Union to predict its downfall). Todd's eccentric views-on the American trade deficit, the racial attitudes of "the Anglo-Saxon mind," the prevalence of marriages between cousins in Islamic countries, the "castrating" feminism of American women-pull in too many directions to be classified as right or left. His characterization of the United States may hold more than a grain of truth, but some readers might bristle before they see it.
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

    From Booklist

    Todd, a researcher at the French National Institute for Demographic Studies, has authored numerous books, one of which (The Final Fall, 1979) predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union well before it came to pass. Now he has written what may be the most important work since Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man (1992), positing that the U.S., despite its apparent position as the unipolar power of the planet, is overextended--our trade deficit is currently $500 billion per year, which means that the rest of the world is financing our consumerism. Todd is above all a demographer, and he bases much of his opinion on statistical elements--declining birth rates in the Soviet Union first cued him in to the country's approaching doom. So he notes some disturbing American phenomena, such as rising stratification based on educational credentials, and the "obsolescence of unreformable political institutions." In the end, he believes the U.S. should return to its nineteenth-century civilian, republican roots, and that Europe should follow that impulse. Already a best-seller in Europe, this book is destined to be much talked about and analyzed. Allen Weakland

    http://www.amazon.com/After-Empire-...bs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223276876&sr=8-1

    Comrade Stalin of Gori
     
  2. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    excelent..........are you just spamming?
     
  3. Stalin

    Stalin Active Member

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    No, I always answer questions that show comprehension and scholarship.
     
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