The international Macro economy of each era is defined by the base of its economy.
The base of the economy in 15th to early 20th century Europe was imperialism. Small countries, like the U.K., Belgium, Portugal, Spain and Germany, controlled vast areas of the globe which they used their superior technology to control. (cf. “Guns, Germs and Steel.”) These imperialistic powers garnered tremendous wealth from their empires, far more than the home country itself could have produced.
After World War 2 the great empires collapsed as the colonies demanded independence. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the world order has apparently abandoned imperialism.
The great exception to this is Vladimir Putin, who wants to recreate the old Russian Empire. Note the expansion into Ukraine and Poland.
The Problem With Russia Is Russia
By Oksana Zabuzhko, The New York Times, Feb. 20, 2023
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Chechnya was one of the two autonomous republics of the newly independent Russian Federation that claimed independence. (The other one was Tatarstan.) But world leaders were by then quite fed up with the discovery that all those union republics that they had for decades regarded simply as administrative units of Russia — Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan and others, still harder to pronounce — appeared to be real things. The West’s shock at this new geography meant that independent Ichkeria [Chechnya] had not the slimmest chance of recognition…
Russia will not become a democracy until it falls apart. That’s because Russia is not really a nation-state but the same premodern multiethnic empire living on geographic expansion and resource looting as 300 years ago — and is thus doomed to reproduce, again and again, under whatever ideological cover, the same prison-ward-like political structure that alone keeps it together.
One intellectual holdover from the imperialistic 19th century is the idea that preserving the Russian empire would be less catastrophic, in terms of humanitarian consequences, than recognizing the right to life of dozens of peoples whose lot under Moscow’s rule was never anything other than dogged survival, under the threat of extinction. This prejudice helped the empire to survive twice in the 20th century, in 1921 and in 1991. It is high time to rethink it…[end quote]
It’s no wonder that Putin is maintaining a propaganda stranglehold over the Russian media’s coverage of his invasion of Ukraine. Russia could face dismemberment if all its ethnic minorities rose to demand independence like Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Poland is acutely aware that it will be next on the menu if Ukraine falls. Since Poland is a NATO member, that could bring on World War 3.
A nuclear war could spoil anyone’s Macroeconomic day.
We should not imagine that the concept of imperialism is dead and left in the dust of the 20th century. It’s alive and dangerous today.