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New Left Review 80, March-April 2013


régis debray

DECLINE OF THE WEST?

America searches for its identity; Europe has lost its way; China is rediscovering itself. And so the melancholy ‘violins of autumn’ reprise their refrain in the lands of the setting sun. Strange times: the hardy-perennial notion of ‘the West’ is ubiquitously used to ennoble the usual suspects, the us, the uk and France; opinion-makers celebrate ‘occidentalism’ and call for further rounds of Western military intervention—yet Spengler’s infamous coinage, The Decline of the West, features once again in the comment pages. Enough of Rambo; back to Hamlet. The causes of the malaise are clear: demographic submersion, deindustrialization, public debts and deficits, environmental pollution, falling competitiveness, exchange rate of the yuan, loss of faith in the growth model; etc. The catalogue is all too well known.

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