But it is not defined by Obama.
It is defined by the financial tsunami. It is defined by the de-leveraging. It is defined by the return to invest on values, not on derivatives.
Different countries have risen to power at different periods. Besides their power, the economic shift brought by these countries exert its influence on their own citizens and then project to the world. The new value becomes universal, and everyone in the world is willing to pay for it. Money funnel to those countries and propel their growth.
UK - Industrial Revolution -> improved efficiency and throughput and division of labour.
Germany - 2nd Industrial Revolution -> electricity prevails and further enhances not only efficiency and throughput but also the decreased size (and interference).
USA - Booming of invention -> self-propelling steamboat; automobile; aircraft; light bulbs; recorders; radio; microwaves; TV; telephone; rockets; satellite; fax; computer; internet.
Japan - do what USA can do, and only better and cheaper, except a lack of advance on high tech like computer and internet.
Whenever a new product (and its adhered value, life style, production and management models) emerges, the country of origin can enjoy the booming period when every other country needs to pay premium to access the technology and the underlying value. What brought USA out from 1980's crisis is more than FED policy; it was first the PC then the internet that pulled USA out from previous recession and fuels the growth without having had USD weakened, inflation thrived, and trading deficit enlarged.
Following these products are the values: mass customization, a combination of responsiveness, niche market segmentations, and efficiency. It was origionated from USA, excelled in Japan, and perfected in USA again.
With the influx of money to embrace these values, USA has a large pool of capital. Under the loose FED policy, it leads to a rocketing growth of investment - even to areas that create transactional price but no realistic value, like derivative finance and derivative property markets. It means a waste of resources. High amount of liquidity, high amount of resources consumption, and low amount of value creation, result in today's financial collapse.
Constructive collapse it is.
A shift of paradigm will happen. Corporates, big and small, start to face this shift without knowing what the new values are. This is why global economies, particularly the previously largest beneficiary, USA, has entered an uncertain age. Uncertainty defines risk; and with a huge evaporation of non-asset backed or virtual-asset backed securities, investors become highly risk adverse, and take money out. There comes the difficult period.
Whether or not USA, and OECD economies, can resurrect from dying depends not on the financial saving measures. It depends on if any new values, represented by any new products, can be invented and wide-spreaded to the world, and embraced by the users and consumers. This is where opportunity for future lies.
Can it be environmental-related technologies that can shift our life-style from a simple open cycle to a more complicated, dynamically balanced, and recycling cycle? Or can it be simply another more advanced tools, like A.I. robots or genetically-engineered-what-so-ever-tools, that enhance production but still follow the same old values at the golden oldies?
I don't know.
All I know is: no matter it is Obama or McCain's office, as long as the new president embraces the changes and encourages the citizens to create, develop, and spread the changes, then USA can recover. Otherwise, it is just another Japan.
The same is applicable to China. The new world is knocking door. Open the door, and China will get the jewel of the crown. Open it not, China will be another S.E. Asian or Latin American country.