Vox is yet again prematurely predicting the collapse of the US empire/hegemony, with the Coronavirus as a precipitating factor. Yet again, he is wrong (just a he is wrong about civic nationalism not working, about predictions of civil war and unrest, and a bunch of other things). By his logic, the Spanish Flu should have marked the end of the US hegemony 100 years ago, too.
I am predicting the opposite, that the virus will only help to strengthen the US-global economic, cultural, and military hegemony, similar to how the US increased and solidified its dominance after 911 and the 2008 financial crisis. For example, the five largest tech firms in the US , in terms of market cap, are larger now relative to the overall size of the global economy, than ever before. Just Amazon and Apple are worth more than the entirely of the FTSE 100, an index of 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalisation, at approx. $2.2 trillion. It’s not about America falling behind, but quite the opposite: top American tech firms such as Amazon and Google are subsuming the rest of the world, but also the US government is, globally, bigger, more powerful, and more relevant than ever under Trump.
Just as the US set an international precedent after 911 in global surveillance and anti-terrorism that has since been adopted by many other countries, and then in 2008 setting a new precedent in terms of drastic monetary policy to stave off deflation and crisis during the financial crisis, when Trump suggested social distancing on March 10th, dozens of other nations immediacy followed suit with distancing, shutdown, and quarantine programs of their own. In terms of engagement and readership, Trump’s twitter account is bigger and more relevant then ever and has become a social network and media company in its own right, as the biggest, most important, and most popular account on Twitter by far. Meanwhile, UK Twitter accounts get far less engagement. Trump has more influence, through his keystrokes alone, than entire nations.
Also, pandemics, by definition, affect many countries, so even though the US has been affected, so too have its peers and competitors. So it’s not that the US is falling behind, but that everyone else is falling too, so the US is still stronger relative to everyone else, which is what really matters. This is similar to the 2008 financial crisis, in which Europe was also affected, but the US recovered faster and boomed afterwards but Europe and the rest of the world except China fell into stagnation. As further evidence of the US economic hegemony not being hurt by the virus, the US dollar is stronger than ever and keeps making new highs as the Euro , Pound, and emerging market currencies keep falling. In times of crisis, investors, funds, pensions, etc. seek stability, and the US still comes out way ahead in that regard, because as bad as the crisis may seem here, in these smaller and less intelligent and less competent countries, it is only worse.
Vox is one of those people who is perhaps too smart for his own good, that he is smart enough to conceive an idealization or version of reality in his own mind that is different from what actually is happening and empirically obvious.