Imma list the institutions Ian Bremmer is a part of. He is founder and president of the Eurasia Group, a risk management and consulting firm with New York, DC and London offices as well as consulting and research contracts on every continent. Their role is to asses the risk of instability due to capital flows, domestic and international governmental policies, energy markets, etc. and provide a strategy for firms hoping to operate and thrive in an unstable environment.
He created an index to judge that type of risk as part of a joint venture w/ Citigroup in 2001.
Bremmer serves on the Board the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, was named as a ‘Young Global Leader’ of the World Economic Forum, and in 2010 was appointed Chair of the Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Geopolitical Risk. He fills similar roles in think tanks that work with private firms and public departments to identify market opportunities, and are called the EastWest Institute, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the World Policy Institute. Oh he’s also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, because of course he is.
Bremmer is listed as an adjunct professor at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs on multiple bios at Amazon and his various firms and organizations, but he isn’t listed as a faculty member anywhere at Columbia itself, because he doesn’t teach classes or conduct research. But that’s more like a little tidbit complementing the main course above.
Now. If you were to create the absolute best economic environment for the personal economic and professional career interests of Ian Bremmer, I don’t think I’m telling tales out of school when I say it would be covered by dozens if not hundreds of overlapping bilateral trade agreements, feature large and unstable coalitions of public, private, and quasi-public institutions operating from regional to global levels, and operate within complex resource constraints whose legal titles are not only unsettled but are easily able to be unsettled if resolved.
Now. Bremmer has written a slew of books under the aegis of academic objectivity while brandishing his Stanford PhD. Just sober conclusions following from the established facts. What’s his new book about?
THE INEVITABILITY AND DESIRABILITY OF THE EXACT ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT OUTLINED ABOVE
The US is constrained domestically and economically from underwriting the military and economic systems that have existed since the end of WWII? Well look the answer isn’t finding new ways to work towards broad international institutions that are able to carry out general and specific mandates relatively auton, but on creating a complex and shifting web of small treaties with individual nations whose terms and conditions are constantly adapting to become more efficient.
The nigh opaque regulatory and legal environment for global resources and public goods such a scenario would entail is no problem either, because private firms working in cooperation with domestic or small regional public institutions can offer the most efficient ways for different states to get different resources the most efficiently, and if one becomes more successful the others will fall by the wayside until creative destruction results in new entities on top.
The states which are going to fair best are going to be the ones that have the broadest array of small treaties and relationships with other states, firms and regional organizations. To allow them to respond fastest and most effectively to an environment that behavior would create. Pivot states! Everyone should be a pivot state. Just start signing shit, we’ll work it out later.
All of this is presented with an aura of inevitability and almost celebration, since there will be new opportunities in the adventure ahead. For people like Ian Bremmer. And for governments with similarly-sized balls who are unafraid to break with decades of norms and agreements on international conduct. Because when you have more and smaller treaties and more ambiguous private-public partnerships, you have more and better opportunities to play states off each other, to use public resources for private ends, to make it harder for forces opposing Bremmer’s vision to coalesce, function and influence policy, and to in general forge an international economic and political environment that works less and less for the common good.
A concept of social democracy which can organize local interests to harness international resources and capital flows is incomprehensible to him. Environmental, labor, human rights legal regimes: dead. Their houses burned to the ground. An overarching economic order where the reserve currencies and prices play regulating role without the need for the broad overarching institutions Bremmer says are impossible now is a specter. Eric Rauchway is good on this point.
John Quiggen in general is good on this stuff. Here’s a quick blog example of this Bremmer’s vision in practice, here’s a paper of the larger intellectual and political history and issues, here’s a collection of blog output and here’s a collection of scholarly output, but a gloss of one scholar isn’t going to provide that much detail if that’s what you’re looking for. Google is most definitely your friend for this stuff.
I think Bremmer, more than anyone else I can think of, illustrates the total horror of the current centrist-dominated media environment. This cracker is in fucking Harpers slinging this shit in a motherfucking question and answer format. The usual blog suspects like Crooked Timber or Naked Capitalism don’t write on him. And that’s not to call those entities centrist, but to point out that there is far more pernicious centrist nonsense than can be debunked by people who know and give a shit about this stuff.
But in the mean time Bremmer’s in our mediaz, destroyin our public spherez. He goes on the Daily Show 18 months ago and talks about more versus less regulation, which fuck that noise, what he is really talking about is more regulation setting up the political and economic environment he needs to do his shit and less regulation to guard against the shit he wants to do. (He’s scheduled to appear next Tuesday on TDS too. Let’s see if we can get Stewart to treat him like he should). Bremmer goes on Greta fucking Van fucking Sustfuck and just repeats his profitable conclusions as objective academic facts into lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere, he’s the Eggman. And never gets challenged. Anywhere. Ever.
So this is way too long and except for the occasional swearing probably incoherent but there’s one overarching message: fuck Ian Bremmer, son, any which way you can.