Monopoly rots – anywhere, anytime. In the round of monopoly the world has seen with the U.S. in that unchallenged position in less than last couple of decades, geopolitics has not been an exception.

Rarely had history the privilege to see a leader passing on his/her baton of leadership to someone else beyond family and friends, acknowledging the time to be right for present leadership to end; and a new era to begin.  

U.S. is not an exception. Present U.S. administration under the neo-cons would rather bite the bullet to stick to their perception of unchallenged power at any costs, without caring much about the growing voices coming from both within the U.S. and from rest of the world. 

They say markets continuously give business world signals – managements that ignore those signals or believe they can forcefully shut those signals against them with their monopoly power are bound to be doomed.  

Geopolitics is no exception, and the rest of the world along with its rising wave of voices from within the U.S.  and from outside have been sending those signals tirelessly to the wrong policies of Bush-Cheney administrations, apparently to no effect.  

The voices have only grown strong – from Latin America to Europe to elsewhere. And Bush-Cheney administration in the U.S., like those doomed monopolies, thinks it  can very much ignore these signals, and continue imposing its rotten policies on the world, unchallenged.  

The World Bank and the Wolfowitz crisis have been viewed from multiple perspectives. Barring a section comprising people who are guided by their personal  pay-back principle to Wolfowitz; the consensus has been Wolfowitz must go – and sooner that happens, better it is for the World Bank and for Wolfowitz and also for all other vested and legitimate stakeholders of the Bank.  

And the issue has grown beyond the boundaries of the pay-rise case to a much larger power struggle between the US and the EU. It’s only natural when the credibility of that monopoly leadership, more under Bush-Cheney administration is tarnished, people tend to make a mountain out of a molehill as in this case of pay rise issue, apparently at the core of that contention. 

Wolfowitz, irrespective of the rights and wrongs that stand in his records, merely happens to be the pawn behind that rotting monopoly power. And by demanding his ouster from the World Bank, the world at large has been trying to send a signal that unless the U.S. amends its foreign policies; the world would only be too happy to see an early ouster of the U.S. from the global superpower status as well. 

Thankfully Europe has come up well to provide leadership to the world at a critical time when the world was moving like radar less ship in the ocean infested with challenges like global warming, global terrorism and breakdown of global trade. Unlike the U.S.; Europe so far has walked its talk by discussing first what it itself can do to reduce emissions unilaterally irrespective of how other economies join in. 

That’s a much welcome change, though nothing much has happened in tackling these three global challenges.

Incidentally Europe also happens to be against Wolfowitz sticking on with the World Bank any longer. 

It’s high time that the U.S. realizes that it should pass on the baton of world leadership back to Europe for some time. The economy of Europe looks strong, deficits are controlled compared to record, unmanageable and unsustainable deficits in the U.S., NATO military power is the strongest at this moment, and unlike U.S. who always commanded a premium for its leadership; Europe, at least for now, is ready to make the 1st compromise. 

And then Asia is coming up fast with the unanimous global view that 21st century is the century of Asia. 

A section of people in the U.S., irrespective of their views on the correctness of policies of Bush-Cheney administration believes U.S. taxpayers money is being wasted on the World Bank. That’s a valid concern because the World Bank has been made that way by the same policy-makers of the U.S.  

Poor people of the world never had a voice on how the World Bank can really make meaningful sustainable differences to the billions of their lot that live below less than a-dollar-a-day or less than two-dollars-a-day.  Innumerable corrupt governments representing these poor people were matter of fact hand-in-gloves with the same U.S. policy-makers. 

We all know how it feels to be taxed, more so when the way the tax-money is wasted away or even same tax-money cause further sufferings to the people who pay the tax (taking the cost of Iraq war as an example). However at the same time it’s equally important to point out that it’s the poor Asian economies who fund U.S. deficits by holding $4 trillions of forex reserves; majority of that being in U.S. currencies or bonds; and lend almost $2-billion a day to ensure America and Americans can maintain their standard of consumptions, fund the Iraq war and provide lip-service to institutions like the World Bank with  insignificant aid, when compared with the other spends or borrowings.   

So when U.S. government spends money in Iraq or provides a small fraction of that war-spend as aid to the World Bank; that money either comes from the U.S. citizens; or from those very poor Asian governments who have empowered Fed. to print and raise as much money as it desires by being the underwriter of the instrument called U.S. Dollar. 

Effectively the mechanism works like this: U.S. borrows a lot, from Americans and from poor Asians, and spends a small part on those resources on apparent humanitarian causes which actually seldom serves true humanitarian causes.  

The fooling has gone unchallenged for quite some time. It’s true that U.S. tax payers’ money is wrongly wasted on Iraq or in present frame of the World Bank; and it’s equally true that Chinese labor is exploited to fund that same Iraq war or to fund the small US-aid to the World Bank.  

They all point out the same thing – it’s high time that the U.S. proactively gives up its rotten monopoly status to Europe and to Asia in phases to help itself regain its true stature; and thereby help the world as well.  

The world gave that monopoly power to the U.S. when the need came after World War II by accepting $ as the global currency under the Bretton Woods system; and the world would again give U.S. its rightful status back when it’s due. Now it’s only fair that the U.S. returns that stature to others in Asia and Europe who can do justice to that responsibility rather than making the world worse by forcefully sticking on in its unlawful and irrelevant rotting monopoly status any longer than needed.

Ranjit Goswami is a Research Scholar with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, India; and is the author of the book “Wondering Man, Money & Go(l)d’“.

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