|The Empire Strikes a Match in a
World Full of Oil
Tassos Malliaris Review:
The Empire Strikes a Match in a World Full of Oil by Joel
For the gods perceive things in the future,
ordinary people things in the present,
but the wise perceive things about to happen.
Life of Apollonios of Tyana, viii, 7
This book is an encyclopedic tour de force: it covers world
history, politics and economics to address three topics that
are inextricably bound together: the future of warfare, the
future of our imperial wars, and the future of American
society, government, and economics.
The book is organized in four parts with 18 chapters. The
first part evaluates the successes and failures of past
empires including the Athenian Empire and the British
Empire. Here the author interprets history brilliantly and
draws powerful lessons. The second part discusses the
foundations of the American Empire. Most readers will
find the topics familiar but the lessons are surprising. The
third part addresses the current new World Order. It
appears complex until the author discerns its reality. The
last part concludes with a vision of two futures: this is
where Philostratos’ quote above is fully demonstrated.
Joel Gibbons as a truly wise man has perceived the things
to happen and invites us to choose reflectively.
America currently faces two potential futures. America can
either proceed on the current course, which leads to a
world that we dominate militarily, politically and
economically representing the culmination of the plans of
all other past empires that could not actually make it
happen. This, the author argues won‘t work, not only
because it didn‘t work for Britain, but because it didn‘t
work for Athens. In failing, and to a large extent even in
success, it takes from the working class people of America
and gives to the world class of oligarchs. There is only so
much profit to go around, and the people who develop the
plan get theirs first. England did not profit from empire;
the London bankers profited from empire. The rest of the
country was left to sink in poverty and underdevelopment.
The second future is not a plan, it is a commitment. How it
works out in reality is something that all of us will
participate in creating. But it is a commitment to the rule
of law and to international organizations where the natural
rights of men and women are safest and their property and
livelihoods are most nearly insured.
Readers who are uncertain about the American future and
skeptical about the effectiveness of the checkbook versus
the sword can find much wisdom in this delightful book.
Professor A.G. "Tassos" Malliaris is the Walter F.
Mullady Professor of Economics and Finance at Loyola
University of Chicago