Running down the press:
America took a giant step forward yesterday in human relations and, much more quietly, a giant step backwards in the world economy.
Both steps are irrevocable, but one out of two ain’t bad.
As everyone knows, Barack Obama took the big step forward, arguably as big a stride for the country as the Emancipation Proclamation — even if there’s still enough racism to let John McCain squeak past him in November.
As the New York Times, among everyone else, noted, Bill Clinton gave him the push forward by relinquishing his ersatz title as America’s first black president (as Toni Morrison absurdly called him) and proclaiming:
God bless the Democrats, who have screwed up so many other things, for having the guts to do this.
In the background, American hegemony in planetary economic affairs is wheezing its last gasps. Whether that’s good news or bad news, it’s big news. Your children’s future, already mortgaged, is in essence being flipped by Wall Street bankers and will now be at the mercy of other bankers in other countries.
This less sexy story may turn out to be just as important as the Obama Drama in the long run. See this morning’s Wall Street Journal for the best accounting:
The Securities and Exchange Commission signaled the demise of U.S. accounting standards, kicking off a process Wednesday that could ultimately require all publicly listed American companies to follow an international model instead. . . .
The agency also laid out a road map by which all U.S. companies would switch to International Financial Reporting Standards, or IFRS, beginning in 2014, at the expense of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the guiding light of accountants for decades.
The proposal marks the capstone of Mr. Cox’s push as chairman to lower global barriers for U.S. investors. It also stems from a concern, voiced more loudly before the credit crunch took hold, that Wall Street was losing business to overseas competitors. In particular, some say the New York Stock Exchange and other U.S. exchanges have been a less attractive place for global companies to list their shares because of the distinct U.S. accounting standards.
This is a true upheaval in the bidness world. It will mean that there will be even less regulation of the silk-suited gangsters who manipulate money.
Rich people, in other words, are finally being globalized. Unlike American workers, they have the money to make this pay off for them. Who do you think will suffer as a result?
And by this step by bankers toward erasing the financial borders between the U.S. and the rest of the world, the U.S. consumers will even more rapidly decline as a force, compared with the huge and rapidly expanding middle classes in China and India.
We’re not No. 1. Get used to it.