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The benighted state of AmericaThe World Were InWill HuttonLittle Brown 1799 pp320Where is Americas Star Wars missile defence shield when we need it Will Hutton is on a rant and his target is the United StatesHuttons America is not the America of conventional wisdom Huttons America is a failed society the most unequal society in the industrialised West As an economic model Huttons America is a failure as well the obsession with short-term profits to satisfy shareholders has drained US industry of innovation and long-term planning Worse left defenceless by the collapse of American liberalism the US has been taken over by conservatives who are emptying America of whatever good it had On the world stage America is a rogue state hostile to all forms of international co-operation and multilateralist endeavourJeepers One is tempted to glance bashfully down at ones shoelaces chuckle Ronald Reagan-like and say to Hutton There you go again But a Hutton rant cannot be dismissed so casually to it he brings formidable erudition meticulous analysis and prodigious researchThis is particularly true on economic matters To make his case about the sad state of the American corporation for example Hutton marshals a remarkable argument centred on Americas Boeing diminished in its drive to enrich executives and Wall Street and Europes Airbus eschewing short-term profits in order to become the most successful aircraft manufacturer in the world He may be wrong but if he is he is imposingly wrongHis scholarship suffers however from being twisted into an attack matrix Perhaps America is not the model for the rest of the world that Britain and other countries make it out to be Especially since 11 September the go-it-alone tendencies of the Bush administration are an affront to the world order These are important arguments and eminently worthy of discussion But Hutton goes wobbly on Britain and EuropeHe wants us to believe that Britains only choice is to ditch America and become a full
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