Although frantic efforts are being made to reduce the damage of US downgrade, the risk of contagion, spreading from the weakened historic centres into the new zones of accumulation – most -particularly in Asia – is substantial.
New Capitalism was relatively insulated from the financial crisis, with China, Brazil and other major economies recovering rapidly from the 2007-8 crash. But as the world economy moves into a second phase of crisis, their own imbalances may become revealed. Overcapacity could be worse than feared, with export markets collapsing and domestic demand unable to compensate.
The downgrade shock could feed back into Europe. But whatever the day-by-day jitters - the real import of the downgrade is symbolic. It reflects the changing balance of international forces.