Roger Altman mulls the inauspicious consequences of a global economic crisis with U.S. origins. According to Mr. Altman, the world is likely to see increasingly powerful states, more regulation of unfettered markets, less free trade/rising protectionism, more insular financial systems, and a decline of the American laissez-faire ethos. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has encouraged these seismic changes, proclaming “the return of the state” and the “end of the ideology of public powerlesness.” The fallout’s likely winner will be China, which has weathered the recession better than others, largely due to an non-integrated banking system. However, China will face the Herculean challenge of stimulating domestic consumption and shifting its economic growth engine away from exports. The emerging power must also deal with seemingly intractable demographic problems before it can be coronated as a legitimate world leader.