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Decline And Fall Of The US  
User currently offlineTheCommodore From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 2850 posts, RR: 8
Posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 4025 times:

Is the beginning of the end for the mighty US ?

Maybe !

And if so, will China emerge as the worlds next "super power" ?

Read on...

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/societ...fall-of-the-us-20100728-10w1x.html


Flown 905,468 kms or 2.356 times to the moon, 1296 hrs, Longest flight 10,524 kms
73 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAzoresLover From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 756 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3929 times:
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Here's an interesting quote from Alexander Fraser Tyler, who was a Scottish lawyer and writer. He made this quote in 1770 - 240 years ago:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy."



Those who want to do something will find a way; those who don't will find an excuse.
User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3923 times:

I think the US is going to implode on itself. The only jobs available here are in the service industry. Any other jobs are SO difficult to get and require so much experience. The desparity between the wealthy and the poor is increasing to it's highest levels. Racial tensions are rising. Religious tensions are rising. Political tensions are at the highest and meanest I've ever seen them.

People laugh, but I feel the US is it's own worst enemy in all facets, not China. Seems like the only time we can come together is during a disaster, and that now becomes politicized and divisive.

UAL


User currently offlineczbbflier From Canada, joined Jul 2006, 973 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3904 times:

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for posting this.

This is exactly what I have been trying to say for years now. It is wonderful to see it in print, written by someone of such eloquence.

I have never, ever understood how the United States has managed to sustain the "tax breaks" mantra for thirty years or so. Taxes pay for government. Government provides the underpinning of everything- security, stability etc. Yet today states are bankrupt, literally. But the tax breaks keep on coming.

As a candidate, the President proposed very, very modest tax increases and the ideologues who are completely blind to the reality and severity of the situation scream that he is a socialist.

National assets are sold off and leased back. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Where and when has a country EVER fought a sustained, distant war AND offered tax breaks to its citizenry at the same time?

The trade deficit has been in the red since WWII. The balance of payments has been in the red for decades.

Soon, I fear, there will be stagflation the likes of which was never seen in the 1970s. Interest rates are going to explode.

And those holding the debt will benefit- if it can be honoured.

An excellent example of the tipping point (which, I believe we have already passed) was the purchase of Volvo by Geely from Ford. On a thread right here in Non-Av, there were many people, many who would abhor government intervention here in the West, who were ecstatic that the Volvo brand was saved or else merely happy that the brand wouldn't be tinkered with. Trouble is, the profits from EVERY new Volvo, and EVERY spare part made by Volvo, will now flow directly into the central coffers of the Chinese government.

(Self gloss: Read the second last entry by Yours Truly. It will give you a taste of what I mean by trying construct the very argument advanced by this brilliant article published in the SMH.)

And so it seems to me that all the hand-wringing about making English the Official Language of the United States, and the proposed Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and no-fly lists, and the entire Customs and Border Protection saga, to name just a handful, seems like hysterical rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic because the gorilla is so large in the room... to mix my metaphors.

But in the end, when the bottom does finally fall out from under the American economy, as it just might this time around, the 200-year Anglo-American dominance of the global economy will end.

All those countries that have fared relatively better but are still in the Anglo-American sphere of influence are going to be adversely affected too. Canada, all of western Europe, Israel, South Africa, Japan, even Russia to a lesser extent, Austraila, New Zealand...

While I don't 'fear' what it will look like, I most certainly would like to find a puny island somewhere and live out my years in isolation... 'cause it ain't gonna look pretty. To quote Louis le Dernier as he was herded up to Madame Guillotine, «Aprés moi, le déluge»: After me, the deluge.

Just wait until the Chinese have to bail out the American economy- directly. And that day is not too far away at the rate we're going. After all, this last round of deficit / debt financing of this recession is being supported by the Chinese in all but name only....

However, regardless of what happens economically, I maintain one thing that I advanced a couple of days ago in the non-av thread Wikileaks, Reply #50, that so long as there is transparency in government and the ironclad guarantee of the right to free speech, the United States and all others who have the same principles, will continue to be international forces to be reckoned with one way or another as they will always be dealing with reality, rather than propaganda. The ability to dissent allows for conflict, resolution, compromise and ultimately, improvement.


User currently offlinesteeler83 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 9197 posts, RR: 20
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3905 times:

Quoting AzoresLover (Reply 1):
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy."

Yup, and we'll become a socialist country with a worthless economy.

Doing away with our manufacturing was one of the stupidest things this country has done -- that, and abandoning the infrastructure, and letting the Democratic party turn into a glorified circus act. Most Republicans aren't much better. Many of the real extreme right-wing are stuck in 1950 and/or before and try to enforce policies that really do not make sense.

That above sentiment doesn't necessarily have to be true. We forget about our history, about everything we fought and died for, and common sense goes right out the window.



Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
User currently offlinefr8mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5400 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3832 times:

Quoting czbbflier (Reply 3):
I have never, ever understood how the United States has managed to sustain the "tax breaks" mantra for thirty years or so. Taxes pay for government. Government provides the underpinning of everything- security, stability etc. Yet today states are bankrupt, literally. But the tax breaks keep on coming.
Quoting AzoresLover (Reply 1):
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

You have apparently missed the fact that a great deal of our treasure goes to transfer payments or entitlements.

Tax cuts, just about always raise revenue, but it just gets spent away. Taxes are necessary to run a country. But what happens when government decides that it needs to run more and more things? It starts to spend more and more money. Then it looks to raise taxes and take the money out of the economy, which slows the economy.

Our federal government has a serious case of mission creep. They want their hands in every facet of our lives. Some areas are the federal government's domain (we calls those the enumerated powers) others, they have just absorbed because we let them.

I'm not quite as eloquent as some may be, but I understand that an economy and a country can not continue to grow and prosper if it keeps taking money from its citizenry to give it to others, all the while taking its bloated cut.



When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineczbbflier From Canada, joined Jul 2006, 973 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3774 times:

Quoting UAL747 (Reply 2):
I think the US is going to implode on itself. The only jobs available here are in the service industry. Any other jobs are SO difficult to get and require so much experience. The desparity between the wealthy and the poor is increasing to it's highest levels. Racial tensions are rising. Religious tensions are rising. Political tensions are at the highest and meanest I've ever seen them

That was the other aspect I missed. Thank you UAL.

Sadly, I actually think that the combination of your points and mine are going to amount to a civil war. It's pretty extreme but there is such entrenchment on social issues with the middle-class being squeezed from both sides... this is a classic scenario that leads to overt conflict. There is no debating the issues anymore. It's my way or the highway. Lines in the sand are getting drawn. And I see this as a battle of egos more than anything else. It's dark. It's angry. And it's getting worse.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 5):
Tax cuts, just about always raise revenue, but it just gets spent away.

I am not so certain of this thesis that tax cuts has a direct correlation with rising government revenue. This whole recession (and the double-dip we are headed for) is all about paying for the last 30 years of fiscal irresponsibility.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 5):
Our federal government has a serious case of mission creep.

I would certainly agree if you include a couple of wars being waged on the other side of the planet. Horrendous waste of money and time- and lives.


User currently offlinealoges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8706 posts, RR: 43
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3734 times:

Not so fast.

The US has survived the Civil War, it ended slavery and segregation (easing racial tensions), Joseph McCarthy didn't bring democracy down, Watergate cost Nixon the most (and not the country) and the economy has been through various depressions before.

I agree, very much, that parts of the populace are stuck in the past. But other parts are at the cutting edge of innovation and building the future. So while it's going to be an uphill battle, it'll probably be fine because it has always been one.

Quoting AzoresLover (Reply 1):
Here's an interesting quote from Alexander Fraser Tyler, who was a Scottish lawyer and writer. He made this quote in 1770 - 240 years ago:

It is indeed interesting that he said that 240 years ago. The US is still a democratic nation. The quote shows extreme arrogance since it implies that the people living in a democracy are so utterly idiotic that they will never realise a possible debt problem.



Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineMingToo From Zimbabwe, joined Jun 2009, 464 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3712 times:

Quoting steeler83 (Reply 4):
Yup, and we'll become a socialist country with a worthless economy.
Quoting fr8mech (Reply 5):
I'm not quite as eloquent as some may be, but I understand that an economy and a country can not continue to grow and prosper if it keeps taking money from its citizenry to give it to others, all the while taking its bloated cut.

The argument about taxation, while important, is missing the bigger picture. You might make some minor differences with adjustments in the 'capitalist' versus 'socialist' nature of the economy but it isn't going to solve the underlying problem of competitiveness versus emerging economies. This applies to the US and to Europe. The US isn't going to magically stay 'on top of the pile' just by reducing taxes and Europe isn't going to either.

What we have in the west is a vast amount of baggage attached to the productive parts of our economy that make us uncompetitive against China and others. A few tax changes won't make much difference when a Chinese GM worker is paid $1 per hour and a US GM worker is paid $20 per hour (or whatever the real figures are). And neither will a revaluation of the Chinese currency by 40%, that will make it $1.40 per hour versus $20 per hour.

We have baggage in many areas. Large numbers of retired people to be supported by the earnings of the current workforce. Vast healthcare costs particularly in end of life care. We view these as essentials, which is fine but then don't expect to be competitive against those countries that don't or are happy with other arrangements.

The US has some advantages over Europe such as a more flexible labour system and a more driven work ethic. Europe has some advantages over the US such as a much better maintained infrastructure and one that is more resistant to higher energy costs which will be a big factor going forward.

But we are both in the same boat versus countries like China that have a far lower cost base. While it may seem that they are just manufacturing 'cheap tat', that isn't the case and they are catching up rapidly. Software development is already being outsourced to China and this isn't the Indian style of outsourcing which is more about business process implementation, China is getting more of the real stuff.

We have to accept that we are going to decline relatively to the East. So far we have tried to disguise it by creating a huge debt bubble collateralised on selling each other houses at ever increasing prices. Just more baggage.

This doesn't mean that we are going to collapse back into living in caves or that it's all going to happen tomorrow. Things always take a lot longer than you think. We will just be forced to adjust our standard of living downwards relative to the rest of the world.

Even if we create more high-tech industries then, putting aside political correctness, how many people can contribute to that ? Can 5% of the population who are able to design aircraft, drugs and iphones really support the other 95% who don't have that ability ? If that 95% can't compete on production with other countries, then they are left fighting for the scraps of the 5% by doing services for them. A 2 tier society where those that can have their every whim served by those that can't just to get by and live. Almost back to a feudal aristocracy.

Longer term, that same argument applies globally. What happens when technology advances to the point where the majority of the population can't contribute above what technology and automation can do ? The movement of jobs to lower wage countries is just an interim step, eventually those jobs will disappear entirely.

3 possible options:

1. The 95% revolt and force the 5% to share (Karl Marx)
2. The 5% eliminate the 95% (New World Order)
3. The 5% altruistically give to the 95% (Nobody).


User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13560 posts, RR: 62
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3705 times:
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Quoting czbbflier (Reply 3):
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for posting this.

This is exactly what I have been trying to say for years now. It is wonderful to see it in print, written by someone of such eloquence.

Interesting; it seems almost as if you delight in the thought of the U.S. being in a period of decline and possibly "falling" - why is that?



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineAirport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3696 times:

I completely agree with the article, however for a lot of different reasons.

First off, I'd peg it to a near certainty that the US will no longer be the leading nation it has been for the last 50-70 years. There is so much evidence to back it up, from an economic standpoint, from a historical standpoint, and most importantly a human nature standpoint.

Bear with me, I've had trouble eloquently wording this, if I misuse words I apologize in advance;

I think, beyond the economic troubles we have, one of the fundamental problems of our society is that so many people in the US, especially the younger generations, have had it so good for so long.

For the last 30-40 or so years, we've had a very high standard of living, no catastrophic wars, no immediate national emergencies that universally involve everyone in the nation. Well, it's arguable that we have, but that isn't the point -- the average Joe American has been able to live his life very comfortably at home if he so chooses, and if desired, can ignore wars, can ignore politics, can ignore terrorism, and crime for the most part without breaking a sweat so long as he can continue to earn his paycheck at work.

My generation, has no connection to great famines, terrible wars, assassinations or national tragedies (sans 9/11, which I'll get to in a bit), and for the most part, we've been able to live a very comfortable live under Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama.

The fundamental problem with a society living with a generally comfortable and easy life is that it causes us to become lazy, anxious, and concerned with petty problems that don't really matter. We've had no national tragedies that affect every single one of us universally on a deep emotional level to unite and strength us.

Why are so many kids in our society unpatriotic and uncaring about the future of their society? It's because they've had nothing to unite them.

Now I mentioned 9/11 -- remember how united our country was after 9/11? Remember all of the stories of how people became friendlier to each other, how spirited and united we were... it was because 9/11 gave us a reason to be united! We as a nation, for a brief moment, universally realized what we have and how quickly it can be taken away if we're not in it together and if we're not on our feet.

So what happened? The Iraq War happened. Whether you're for it or not, the problem was that so many questions were raised, the issue became so utterly complicated, and the war wasn't directly affecting my generation -- it was on an economic level, etc., but my point is that Joe American at home didn't really fear terrorism on the way to work/school. There wasn't much that actually threatened us here at home other than the occasional terrorist plot, which while a serious threat, doesn't grab a hold of us and shake us out of our apathy.

The wars we've fought over the last decade became nothing but depressing headlines on the news except for the fraction of my generation who genuinely cared -- that's not going to unite the US.

So, as such, the progressive generations care less and less about the country/US/Stars and Stripes, and the older generations who had genuine threats that united them such as the Soviet Union/Cold War, World War II are left scratching their heads wondering why.

The thing that I think would save our nation -- a war, a clear and obvious enemy, a very real threat to each and every one of us, and a universally understood reason what we're fighting for.

That would unite us. The war in Iraq/Afghanistan will not.

But, I think as war tactics have evolved, such a thing may never come.

Say what you want about World War II. I don't disagree with anyone that says it was a global tragedy. But what does it pay to be overly sensitive about it and not state what seems to me is an apparent truth: We had a war, a clear and obvious enemy, a very real threat, and a universally understood reason what we're fighting for. And it saved our nation from the depths of the Great Depression and united us in a way the world could have never seen coming.

World War II saved us and turned us into the thriving nation we've been over the last 70. We had a threat. We united and conquered that threat (I say that from a global standpoint, not just from a US standpoint, as we united with other nations around the world).

War such as that like World War II are terrible tragedies beyond comprehension, but such things can save us from failures like what we're experiencing today. Failures like how 1 in 3 students in high school will not graduate. Failures like how hostile we've become to each other for disagreeing on things that are insignificant and don't really matter. Failures like how depression and suicide rates have skyrocketed. And on, and on, and on...

I'm not saying we should a war with someone, I'm saying that what would save us will likely not come for a long, long time.

Feel free to hate me for saying everything I did, but it's what I honestly believe. Hell, I could be wrong. I probably am. But in the 19 years I've walked this planet, which granted isn't very long, it's the most accurate sounding picture based on the puzzle pieces of history I've examined.

And really, it's just my opinion. I think chocolate ice cream tastes good... can we at least agree on that?

Watch as my RR rating miraculously goes from 4 to 0 in a matter of minutes!  

Cheers,
Anthony/Airport


User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5602 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3684 times:

:Yawn:

So here, we have:

Quoting TheCommodore (Thread starter):

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/societ....html

An amateur historian who manages to somehow claim expertise in matters of economics, and compares the economy of Greece to America:

Quoting AzoresLover (Reply 1):
Here's an interesting quote from Alexander Fraser Tyler

A quote from a 50s newspaper masquerading as a "great man"; and,

Quoting czbbflier (Reply 3):

A person who is seemingly excited at the prospect of "riding out the wave" on a deserted island while China takes over the world.


Move along people, nothing to see here.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineMingToo From Zimbabwe, joined Jun 2009, 464 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3682 times:

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
The thing that I think would save our nation -- a war, a clear and obvious enemy, a very real threat to each and every one of us, and a universally understood reason what we're fighting for.

You do seem to be making the assumption that you win this war to succeed with this argument. You won't. Because nobody will. A war on the scale needed to create this kind of effect would have no winners.

The US came out of WW2 in a better economic position because you were only fighting overseas and not being bombed. From say a British perspective, it certainly bought the country together ... but we weren't in a great economic state at the end.

[Edited 2010-07-29 03:24:58]

User currently offlineMingToo From Zimbabwe, joined Jun 2009, 464 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3676 times:

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 11):
Move along people, nothing to see here.

That attitude sums up the issues nicely. We are invincible etc.


User currently offlineAirport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3657 times:

Quoting MingToo (Reply 12):
You do seem to be making the assumption that you win this war to succeed with this argument. You won't.

You're right, I did make that assumption, because you're right, if we lost such a war, we'd be in ruins. So we'd need to win, but I figured that was a given based on everything else I was saying. Obviously we can't lose, that wouldn't unite us, and a loss of such a modern day war could translate to a scale of catastrophe that makes WWII look like preschool.

And yes I completely agree, that such a war simply can't happen in the modern world which is why I said...

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
But, I think as war tactics have evolved, such a thing may never come.

And why my original argument is that unless we experience a national threat like that which we faced in WWII (which I think will never happen -- at least not for a long time), we are destined to no longer be a leading nation due to my and successive generation's huge and growing sense of apathy as a direct result of how easy and carefree we've been able to live our lives here at home.

I don't think such a total unification will ever come precisely because the world has changed to our disadvantage on nearly every front.

Cheers,
Anthony/Airport


User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5602 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3648 times:

Quoting MingToo (Reply 13):
That attitude sums up the issues nicely. We are invincible etc.

Absolutely invincible, the same as we have been from 1783. Never mind being invaded in 1812, fighting a civil war in the 1860s, WW1, The Great Depression, WW2, the oil crisis in the 1970s, 9/11, etc.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineMingToo From Zimbabwe, joined Jun 2009, 464 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3633 times:

Quoting Airport (Reply 14):
And why my original argument is that unless we experience a national threat like that which we faced in WWII (which I think will never happen -- at least not for a long time), we are destined to no longer be a leading nation due to my and successive generation's huge and growing sense of apathy as a direct result of how easy and carefree we've been able to live our lives here at home.

There is a another factor alongside the apathy, or perhaps what is actually the cause of that apathy. The idea that 'we are so successful because we are much smarter then the rest of the world'. There is some truth in that, not so much smarter but more that we are further along.

But a large part of our wealth does not come from our 'smartness' but from our exploitation of other countries. There are still people today who will argue that the British Empire collapsed or receded because we couldn't afford to keep helping all these other countries, the 'White Man's Burden'. Utter nonsense, we couldn't afford to keep repressing and them exploiting them.

To face up to these problems it is necessary to face up to the facts and not some ridiculous notion that the US military is some benevolent force sent around the world to help others at the US taxpayers expense. It isn't any more than the British Empire was. Iraq, Iran, Venezeula .. the 3 countries on the US hit list ... the 3 countries in the world with large oil reserves that are not friendly to western interests. It isn't a co-incidence. You might make the argument that indeed it isn't, but it is oil wealth that breeds these dictatorial governments that we must fight. What, like Saudi who we fight by selling them Black Hawk helicopters and Eurofighters.

So is China (or Russia or Brazil) going to send their military around the world as a charity helping 'freedom and democracy' ... no of course not. And neither do we unless it aligns with our interests.

But we are going to have to compete far more with China and others for the affections of smaller nations. This will hopefully put power back in the hands of those nations will have multiple bidders for the wares (although no doubt they will as always get used a proxies by the big boys too).

So for the US (or more generally the West) to sit around thinking we are rich just because we are smart and that looking after all these other countries is a burden is to deny reality and to become apathetic about solving our problems.


User currently offlinefr8mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5400 posts, RR: 14
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3630 times:

Quoting czbbflier (Reply 6):
I would certainly agree if you include a couple of wars being waged on the other side of the planet. Horrendous waste of money and time- and lives.



You mistake my definition of mission creep. Waging war is an enumerated power of the federal government. Therefore, whether you believe the war to be folly or not, does not matter; war is within the purview of the federal government. If you don't agree with the war, you change the government.

Mission creep is Social Security, the Department of Education, Health Care (insurance) Reform, etc. Mission creep is when the federal government enters into areas that it is not constitutional bound to enter. A massive bloated government that is unable to accomplish anything efficiently results from mission creep, among other things.

And, for the record, I do not believe the US is in decline, anymore than it was in 70's under Carter. The pendulum has swung too far to one side. That will be corrected with the next election and the pendulum will swing again.



When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 53
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3633 times:

According to a very similar kind of articles and movies from the 1980s, the USA would by now be totally dominated and effectively owned by Japan.

For some reason or other that doesn't seem to have come to pass, however.

Of course Europe would by now be decaying into ruins with the EU long ago having self-destructed as well – you could have asked any "expert" back then...

These things are just much, much more complex than such oversimplifications make them out to be.

In a similar way I consider talk of the immediately impending collapse of the USA as slightly premature.

It is very understandable that the massive repercussions of the financial crisis – and the huge debt burdens the state has decided to underwrite – raise fears, and they definitely should.

Fear can be a great motivator, but it usually is a very bad advisor.

One thing we've been relatively good at in Germany and several other european countries in recent years is tackling necessary reforms in a pragmatic and largely unideological way where problematic long-term developments had threatened to cause major damage.

The EU has also contributed to that development, largely forcing constructive compromise as the primary modus operandi instead of ideologically motivated extremism.

It seems that the US political system makes it much more difficult to tackle such reforms even where they are long overdue – health reform being a recent example there.

Decades of infrastructure neglect and lack of future-oriented planning have also left their marks.

On the other hand it is important to not confuse acute crisis measures like the ones which right now moved large-scale private corporate debt and losses into public debt and some long-overdue infrastructure investment with a persistent trend.

Of course it is essential for the political leadership to actually treat these emergency measures as such and not to turn them into permanent policy, but that is pretty obvious when looking at their volume.

I don't see any inevitability there – just a real and substantial challenge for the civil, corporate and political USA to stop screwing around and tackling the necessary reforms at long last.

The outcome is not decided by the absolute value of debt or other parameters at this point in time, but by the ability of the nation to adapt to a changing world and to plot an actually sustainable course for the long term on every level.

China, on the other hand, sees unprecedented success at this point, but so did Japan a few decades ago – it would be ludicrous to simply extrapolate linear growth at the same speed in all eternity.

China has huge challenges before it as well, and they will likely experience major crises of their own in the coming decades.

The fear of what might happen down the road should indeed help making pragmatic and substantial decisions to avert that outcome.

But it would be silly to completely lose sight of the bigger picture.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 53
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3621 times:

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 17):
And, for the record, I do not believe the US is in decline, anymore than it was in 70's under Carter. The pendulum has swung too far to one side. That will be corrected with the next election and the pendulum will swing again.

Most of the debt and other consequences as a consequence of the crisis are inevitable results of the neglect and deregulation by the previous administrations.

You merely now reap what the previous administrations have sowed – and that reaches at least back to the Reagan administration.

Seeing the chicken coming home to roost is certainly not a lot of fun, but denial just doesn't work in the long run.

The current administration has to deal with the hand it's got, and they've had relatively little choice in the immediate financial measures.

Most of which they actually inherited in mid-flight, if you need to be reminded.

I know that in conservative fairyland there will never be any consequences, but in reality that just ain't so.


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3611 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
Of course Europe would by now be decaying into ruins with the EU long ago having self-destructed as well – you could have asked any "expert" back then...

Reality check Klaus, Europe self destructed some little time ago. Not sure if it was late last year, but certainly by about March this year. Completely gone. The plane I took from LHR had to circle for hours over non-Tegel and then go back again. Just nothing there. If you like, I can contact some of my plate tectonics friends to find where your exact part of Germany has transubstantiated itself too!!!

In other news, Potsdam in June was really nice - must check where it really was.   

I guess the serious matter is, could there just be a qualitative difference between the Japan will take over the world and China IS taking over the world. China is bigger, but does that count? One difference is that China is taking over the world from an "interesting" banking status rather than what was to a large extent a bubble in Japanese property values. But then about 5 years ago, the Chinese banking system was forecast to be headed for doom, DOOM I tell you.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21442 posts, RR: 53
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3596 times:

Quoting Baroque (Reply 20):
Reality check Klaus, Europe self destructed some little time ago. Not sure if it was late last year, but certainly by about March this year. Completely gone. The plane I took from LHR had to circle for hours over non-Tegel and then go back again. Just nothing there.

Well, afterlife is treating me pretty well, I must say. Even the internet connection still seems to work!   

Quoting Baroque (Reply 20):
If you like, I can contact some of my plate tectonics friends to find where your exact part of Germany has transubstantiated itself too!!!

GPS and Google Maps still seems to suffer from the apparent illusion that I'm right where I've always been, but that just can't be right, can it?   

Quoting Baroque (Reply 20):
I guess the serious matter is, could there just be a qualitative difference between the Japan will take over the world and China IS taking over the world. China is bigger, but does that count? One difference is that China is taking over the world from an "interesting" banking status rather than what was to a large extent a bubble in Japanese property values. But then about 5 years ago, the Chinese banking system was forecast to be headed for doom, DOOM I tell you.

China now is of course very different from Japan back in the 1980s, but it's got its own sets of issues.

Right now they're going through a rapid growth phase and the regime appears to manage it reasonably well, but they've got their own bubbles and pitfalls as well. One of them being their very high reliance on cheap production for the rest of the world, while their own costs are rising at the same time. Social and political problems still remain substantial. And so on.

One probably shouldn't hope that they'll fall into the kind of stagnation Japan has found itself in, but there's plenty of reason to not expect unmitigated growth to continue forever.


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3487 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 21):
One probably shouldn't hope that they'll fall into the kind of stagnation Japan has found itself in, but there's plenty of reason to not expect unmitigated growth to continue forever.



And if it does not - as is most likely - there goes our spanking new resources tax!! I suspect the Chinese might be better than the Japanese at working out a solution to the "cheaper elsewhere" dilemma than were the Japanese. The Chinese just collected 45% of the Simandou iron ore deposit from Rio Tinto at a ceremony in China today. Maybe China will prove to be the colonial power that finally "sorts out" Africa.

Talking of reality checks, I managed to find Rote Grütze while in my illusion of Potsdam so Europe cannot have come to an end after all. There are some critical things in life and Rote Grütze is high on the list.


User currently offlineSlider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6799 posts, RR: 34
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3449 times:

Quoting UAL747 (Reply 2):
People laugh, but I feel the US is it's own worst enemy in all facets, not China.
Quoting czbbflier (Reply 3):
I have never, ever understood how the United States has managed to sustain the "tax breaks" mantra for thirty years or so. Taxes pay for government. Government provides the underpinning of everything- security, stability etc. Yet today states are bankrupt, literally. But the tax breaks keep on coming.

Fr8mech already popped this fallacy, but I’ll jump in also and skewer this one. It is hardly tax cuts but rampant unchecked spending that’s screwed us. An entitlement socialistic system that began in earnest with Wilsonian underpinnings, exploded by FDR. And the cyclicality is quite clear in terms of prosperity and taxation. Sorry, czb, that dog won’t hunt my friend.

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/0.../28/the-timeless-principles-of-ame

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
I think, beyond the economic troubles we have, one of the fundamental problems of our society is that so many people in the US, especially the younger generations, have had it so good for so long.

We’re spoiled. Your post was brilliant. Well said and you’re correct—our material prosperity has made us lazy and apathetic.

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
Watch as my RR rating miraculously goes from 4 to 0 in a matter of minutes!

Not at all!

Quoting Klaus (Reply 19):
Most of the debt and other consequences as a consequence of the crisis are inevitable results of the neglect and deregulation by the previous administrations

Survey says: WRONG. Klaus, I’d kindly ask you to enumerate which deregulation you speak of and what neglect precisely. There are plenty of faults with various administrations, going back to Jimmy Carter and the CRA act, which set the stage for it, to Clinton forcing CRA quotas. But Congress, led by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, brazenly permitted EXISTING REGULATIONS TO BE UNENFORCED. There’s the truth of the matter. If anything, we’ve had MORE regulation, whether Sarbanes-Oxley or what have you, and businesses have paid a high cost of added, not decreased, compliance in general terms. None of the existing financial crisis is due to the easing of regulations when the loopholes and exploitation have been possible all along. Government in GENERAL, however, is far too cozy with corporate interests.

Congress is on the take, outright bribery abounds.

As long as a people are virtuous, a nation can be free. When we stray from that, it is difficult to sustain. Paraphrasing Ben Franklin.


**
I don’t think the republic is doomed. I get discouraged, but it’s not unsalvageable.


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3446 times:

Quoting Slider (Reply 23):
Government in GENERAL, however, is far too cozy with corporate interests.

Congress is on the take, outright bribery abounds.

Not much room in there for the dreaded liberal lefties to have much of a role then???  


25 Arrow : The US won't falter because of the rise of China et al. That's just a natural, evolutionary change in world order much like the one that saw Britain'
26 FlyDeltaJets87 : Um, have you seen our latest debt figures and tell me, are those figures getting better or worse? Then try to convince me that many of the people in
27 wingman : I think about this topic quite a bit and always fall back on what others have said above, people like to count this country out and done, and they've
28 RJ111 : China will likely overtake the US without a "Decline and fall". My only wonder with them is what will happen to with the single child policy. Surely t
29 Post contains links connies4ever : For a non-official, but perhaps MORE accurate picture of the state of the US economy, perhaps people should take a look at: www.shadowstats.com I don'
30 comorin : Some thoughts: Most nations are just as likely to implode when left to themselves. If your per capita is $100, then buying a couple of extra bars of s
31 fr8mech : But you're looking at the US throught he prizm of other countries' values and mores and not through our own. You say that we're miored in 18th centur
32 MingToo : Productivity statistics just reflect the increasing outsourcing of labour to cheaper countries which leave the 'per employed person' figures looking
33 BN747 : If National Tragedies is the only thing that can hold us together..then we are doomed for sure. The candle-maker is no longer the hottest act in town
34 Post contains images Airport : I completely agree with this and much of your post. But the question is, if not fear, then what will unite us? I think we need universal unity to get
35 merlot : Niall Ferguson is rolled out of his doom and gloom cave anytime the US suffers a string of setbacks and always makes popular reading among those who h
36 flymia : See the problem I see with the argument of the US economy is the world relies on the US economy. If the US fell so would the world. Unless China can
37 11Bravo : America has become lazy and foolish. Historically, the backb Foreign Aid and FMS is something like 2% of the Federal Budget. So you think a 2% budget
38 texan : I wouldn't call Niall Ferguson an "amateur historian" at all. He is quite versed in history and has written some excellent pieces. But this is not on
39 Post contains images czbbflier : Not at all. I do not take any delight in someone else's pain. As a person who lives next door in a country whose economy is 80% dependent on trade wit
40 MingToo : Agree. Doom laden predictions of crashes are rarely correct. The world tends to change slowly, but it does change. The American people without doubt
41 dragon6172 : Could not agree more. I would guess that the decline of most countries have started from withen their own borders. Works for me! I've thought for a w
42 MingToo : Just !! A masterful understatement ! Frankly, that just isn't going to happen. You are talking about 11 million barrels of oil per day. That is more
43 Dreadnought : A classic quote. However I would say that it mainly applies to representative democracies (republics) rather than democracies. The problem is politic
44 Post contains links connies4ever : I have kind of laughed at the various talking heads who have complained about 'dirty oil' coming from the tar/oil sands (you pick the term). Bottom l
45 Post contains images Baroque : Oh bother Spelled with a u and two ggs! More homework, and I just got 4 megs of homework tonight already on the dreaded Bakken!! Improved recovery wi
46 Post contains links Arrow : The two are inextricably linked, don't you think? And if the problem is a monumental debt -- still growing through deficits -- you will at least in t
47 dragon6172 : All of those things are really what I meant by what I said. Was just at work and did not have time to write it all out!!
48 Post contains images Slider : Well, let me then do so. I do acknowledge the fiscal restraint of the Clinton administration and the sloth of the Republicans in Congress who didn't
49 MingToo : Yes ! I did realise that after re-reading ... you were talking about reducing consumption and somehow I started talking about increasing production .
50 seb146 : I think beyond that, people just accept whatever is handed to them from the media. I am speaking of Americans in general, not one particular politica
51 AGM100 : As long as there are Americans like me .... we have a chance. Creators ..investors , employers of people , creative , proud producers risk taker ... n
52 MingToo : Or if you do expect that, then go and work on Wall Street and make money far beyond your contribution to the nation and when you get knocked down, do
53 Post contains links MingToo : Try reading the Asia Times for a different perspective. Of course have a healthy skepticism just as you would for any source. http://www.atimes.com
54 IMissPiedmont : The rise and "fall" of societies is as old as time. We in the US are as reluctant to admit it as all past and all future persons will be. It means not
55 AirframeAS : Wasn't there a thread on this one EXACT topic, exact thread title that did NOT end well and eventually got deleted??
56 Post contains links czbbflier : Thank you, my friend. With this addendum I agree with you 100%. Alas, in a market economy, demanding supply is not the answer. Creating the demand is
57 AGM100 : I am a damn good citizen that's why ! I provide for me and my family , I pay taxes , I vote , I give to my community . And yes I am proud of myself a
58 czbbflier : lol. The thought that you might have been saying that never even crossed my mind. BTW- welcome back to A.net!
59 StarAC17 : If the US falls as an empire and the roots of that failure get traced back to 9/11 in the future history books then Bin Laden's goal with 9/11 will b
60 AGM100 : That came out wrong on my part ... I was not trying to say I was better than anyone. PBS does a pretty good job .... but they are heinously left wing
61 PhilGil : American exceptionalism is a myth. The primary reason the US was the dominant power during the 20th century was that western Europe (America's primary
62 Dreadnought : You start out well by pointing out that our main problem stems from a corrupted federal government, but then want to give the same corrupt government
63 avent : And out of control militarism which reaped the benefits of finding a replacement for the Iron Curtain/Commie threat with the War on Terror which effe
64 PhilGil : Point taken, but dismantling Washington isn't going to solve our problems. As I said, the federal goveernment is the only entity with the resources t
65 eaa3 : Without having read the entire thread I would like to say that the decline of the United States is greatly exaggerated.
66 Dreadnought : Frankly I don't think it can be fixed. The US is not Denmark. We have 300+ million people. Bureaucracies don't scale well beyond a certain point, and
67 PhilGil : Bigger isn't always less efficient. Businesses use the economy of scale argument all the time. That being said, I don't disagree with you that the US
68 Dreadnought : Up to a certain point, but then they split it up. You think Coca Cola, with operations in every state and almost every country just operate one big s
69 Post contains images deltaownsall : If only it were so simple. I very much agree, but it's sad that everyone loves to tout this idea until they happen upon an argument in which they can
70 Ken777 : The greatest power the US has these days is it's markets. We are huge and open, allowing countries like China to have rapid and successful growth. Not
71 Baroque : True enough, but also true that the person who gave the meaning of that phrase its fame did eventually die. Perhaps you should worry about Halley's c
72 DeltaMD90 : Honestly, as a super patriotic American, I don't really care if our "empire falls." I'd rather have a good economy, good relations with other countrie
73 Ken777 : And if we have all that we will be far from a failure. Just like a lot of other countries in this world.
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