There are two kinds of solitude. One is solitude in obstruction, and the other is the toughness to be at the top. The former is the bitterness of helplessness, while the latter is the luxury of victory. If the Latin America in Marquez’s book is the former, then America in 20th century is more or less the latter. It is also interesting that the noble winning book’s name, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” also indicated that solitude won’t last more than a hundred years.

In the 20th century, America seized its position in wars and conflicts. It accomplished its hegemony in the battlefield and enjoyed the solitude of victory with its superior strategic position. When the old European powers struggled with the mess after war, America created a myth: with only 3% of the world’s population, it created, after World War II, over 30% of the global GDP. And Americans who enjoyed the solitude of victory have adopted an extremely luxurious life over the past century. Currently, Americans, who comprise only 3% of world’s population taking into consideration the currency rate, consume over 25% of the world’s oil and other fossil energy, and over 30% of world’s wealth.

However, the price for prosperity is huge. The United States is one of world’s resource rich countries. Even after a hundred years of massive oil exploitation, the U.S is still the third largest oil producer and the largest energy producer in the world. However, its own production can only provide approximately 60% of its energy consumption, and meets only 35% of its oil needs. American’s productivity has declined drastically. And over the past 30 years, the U.S. economy is overloaded by huge debt.

As the Chinese believe that family fortune rarely survive over three generations, experts seem to believe that prosperity won’t last over a hundred years. Former MIT Professor Kindleberger pointed out that the hegemony of world economy shifts in a 100 years’ circle. History has proved this notion. For hundreds of years, several European countries have enjoyed the glory of being the world’s leader. Spain and Portugal in 16th century, the Netherlands in 17th century, France in 18th century and Britain in 19th century: history has buried their glory of yesterday.

Will history repeat itself? In the 20th century, the U.S. Dollar has governed the world’s economy and America has worldwide economic hegemony. But just as the world stepped into the 21st century, Wall Street sounded the alarm with its lament.

Some said the core element of economic hegemony is currency and finance is the core of the modern economy. Long after the collapse of the Bretton Woods System, Wall Street—the current global finance capital – is today going through dangerous turbulence. The strong dollar is on the cliff of failure and the U.S economic hegemony is facing an unprecedented challenge. The world can not help wondering if the nightmare is arriving after one hundred years of prosperity.

If the nightmare comes true, the difficulties will be not be faced only by America’s ‘solitude of victory’. With globalization expanding day by day, there is no place on earth that allows for isolation from the outside. And the massive resource consumption in the last half century has forced intellectuals to think of the possibility of the next comprehensive, deep and global revolution—a comprehensive revolution of thoughts, values, production, living, regimes and resources.

When facing a shift of hegemony in the new century, some people will turn to history and destiny for answers and sigh for the joke of the time. Some people face the crisis with a smile and are not afraid of change and ups and downs. The one hundred years of solitude of victory once was a luxury, now it is a challenge and in the future will be a mystery.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply