TheCommodore
Topic Author
Posts: 3458
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2007 2:14 am

Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:11 am

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
“At first, they'll only dislike what you say, but the more correct you start sounding the more they'll dislike you.”
 
AzoresLover
Posts: 756
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2004 4:43 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:30 am

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.
 
UAL747
Posts: 6725
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 1999 5:42 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:35 am

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
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
User avatar
czbbflier
Posts: 864
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:28 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:50 am

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.
 
steeler83
Posts: 7391
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:06 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:51 am

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.
 
fr8mech
Posts: 6672
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:52 am

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 avatar
czbbflier
Posts: 864
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:28 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:37 am

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.
 
aloges
Posts: 14842
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:38 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:02 am

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.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
MingToo
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:07 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:39 am

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 avatar
EA CO AS
Posts: 13502
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2001 8:54 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:47 am

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

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
Airport
Posts: 545
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:52 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:10 am

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
 
Maverick623
Posts: 4641
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:13 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:21 am

: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
 
MingToo
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:07 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:24 am

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]
 
MingToo
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:07 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:27 am

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

That attitude sums up the issues nicely. We are invincible etc.
 
Airport
Posts: 545
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:52 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:48 am

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
 
Maverick623
Posts: 4641
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:13 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:55 am

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
 
MingToo
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:07 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:08 am

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.
 
fr8mech
Posts: 6672
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:10 am

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.
 
Klaus
Posts: 20622
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:10 am

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.
 
Klaus
Posts: 20622
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:18 am

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.
 
baroque
Posts: 12302
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:15 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:31 am

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.
 
Klaus
Posts: 20622
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:49 am

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.
 
baroque
Posts: 12302
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:15 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:17 pm

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.
 
slider
Posts: 6814
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:52 pm

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.
 
baroque
Posts: 12302
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:15 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:03 pm

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???  
 
Arrow
Posts: 2325
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2002 7:44 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:18 pm

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 17):
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.

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's power and influence fade as the empire disintegrated. America can still be a very big, happy, prosperous lesser power as long as it doesn't try to stop the tide from coming in.

But if it can't get over the social disconnects that Fr8mech alludes to here -- that will do them in. Democracy must evolve and change with changing values and circumstances. Too many Americans are mired in an 18th century time-warp that sees its federal government as nothing more than the civilian controller of the armed forces -- because that's what it says in the Constitution. Meanwhile the nation's infrastructure and its ability to look after its own citizens -- whether a federal or a state responsibility -- is rapidly diminishing. Look back to that horribly divisive debate over health care reform, where the needs of a huge chunk of the country's citizens took second place (sometimes third) to a political firestorm over what Fr8mech defines as "mission creep."

That's the US achilles heel. And as has been the case with the fall of most empires over the millennia, it will occur (if it occurs) as a result of political paralysis within, not because of an external threat. The real damage from 9/11 was not the tragedy itself, but the all-consuming fear it generated afterwards and the inner turmoil that still exists today. You've got to hope that some sanity will rise from the ashes somewhere, but it's sure hard to pick it out these days.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
FlyDeltaJets87
Posts: 4479
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:51 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:21 pm

Quoting aloges (Reply 7):

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.

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 this country recognize the debt problem for what it really is.
"Let's Roll"- Todd Beamer, United Airlines Flight 93, Sept. 11, 2001
 
wingman
Posts: 2830
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 4:25 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:37 pm

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 done so many times in the past to their peril. China's rise is inexorable, to a point. It has one thing that the US doesn't have to worry about down the road and that is approximately 1 billion people not getting their share of something they have long been told they are entitled to by Chairman Mao. At some point this could represent a real problem and when I read stories about towns and villages in China being patrolled to prevent the local populace from scurrying off to the big city, well that tells me something is already in play. And Europe has its own fairly desperate issues, lack of unity on the continental level and an aging population that is going to be sucking retirement and benefit resources for decades to come. It makes our little Baby-boomer issue practically trivial by comparison.

This may sound very simplistic but I don't worry all that much about the US in the long term. We have problems that we can overcome just as we have in the past. We have a huge amount of space and excellent relations with a trading and political partner that has yet even more. In addition, we have plenty of natural resources and a dynamic and young population. And despite the idiots at Fox News and MSNBC doing everything in their power to destroy common sense and intelligent debate, we still have enough sensible people in this country to limit extremists to mere yapping on national TV. When we need to we can get things done in relatively short order. The stimulus is an example of this. Both Right and Left in government came together with an economic package they thought would save this country from the very ruin some forecasters gleefully await. I agree with most intelligent economists that that is exactly what would have happened had we not rammed this massive spending bill through.

Anyway, the bill is about to start coming due but if any country can pull itself up by the bootstraps and do the tough slog back to prosperity I can't think of a better candidate that the US. It won't be much fun but we'll be OK in the "end". And then it'll happen all over again. Plus ca change my friends.
 
Rj111
Posts: 3007
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:02 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:15 pm

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 the population makeup will be very top heavy at some point.
 
connies4ever
Posts: 3393
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:59 pm

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't necessarily buy everything that's there, but for a long time I have believed the American economy is in far worse shape than has been acknowledged by the government -- of any stripe. And, the ramifications of a hyperinflationary death spiral in the US are very hard to see clearly: there are (obviously) economic issues, but the political, geo-political, and military ones are perhaps of more immediate concern.

But I think something is coming down the pike at the US. And I really don't think there's anything the US can realistically do about it without a serious step up in the tax rates to, at least initially, trim the year over year deficit, and then actually start paying down the accumulated debt. A tall order but we did it, about 1994-2003. Everyone suffered in the pocketbook, Medicare got hit big time, the military was threadbare. Things that were a "public good" government service became for fee.

And of course there was the GST (Goods and Services Tax, federal) now integrated with each of the provinces Provincial Sales tax into an HST (Harmonised Sales Tax). British readers will be familiar with this if you think of it as the VAT (Value Added Tax). This is coming to the US whether Americans want it or not. It is a very effective way of raking in revenue and I can't see an alternative to it short/medium term.

Bringing in the GST here in Canada allowed us to start running surpluses by 1998, and over a decade, we were abvle to lower our debt/GDP ratio from 70% to about 30%. IIRC the US is around 80% currently and projections out over the next several years indicate this will go well over 100% - putting America in the same camp as Italy and Japan (tyou're already at Greek levels).

Tough to contemplate, but the alternative is something like living in Zimbabwe.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
comorin
Posts: 3857
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 5:52 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:53 pm

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 soap per person can result in dizzying growth rates.

I don't see China or India being a threat, rather, they just become bigger markets for the US.

Industrial production in the US is growing quite well, thank you, as was discussed in a previous thread a few months back. Its the increase in productivity that has made it a jobless expansion.

America is not used to being #2 at anything, and its military will ensure economic might well before doomsday occurs.

Final thought - civilizations decay because of a loss of collective will. Imagine if we woke up one morning and just didn't feel bothered to go to work. That would scare me, as it would be the beginning of The End. Chinese Opium could do that...
 
fr8mech
Posts: 6672
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:17 pm

Quoting Arrow (Reply 25):
But if it can't get over the social disconnects that Fr8mech alludes to here -- that will do them in. Democracy must evolve and change with changing values and circumstances. Too many Americans are mired in an 18th century time-warp that sees its federal government as nothing more than the civilian controller of the armed forces -- because that's what it says in the Constitution. Meanwhile the nation's infrastructure and its ability to look after its own citizens -- whether a federal or a state responsibility -- is rapidly diminishing. Look back to that horribly divisive debate over health care reform, where the needs of a huge chunk of the country's citizens took second place (sometimes third) to a political firestorm over what Fr8mech defines as "mission creep."

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 century views. Those views have gotten the US through quite a few more troubles than we have know. Those views are the views that made the US the economic, military and political powerhouse that it is. Your premise is that the US needs to join the rest of the world in its policies and motivations. That is false.

The federal government has certain powers delegated to it. The states have powers delegated to them...those not delegated to the federal government. My thesis is that if the federal government stopped encroaching on the States' powers, the federal government would certainly have the means to deal with crumbling infra-structure, even if we slashed taxes at the federal level. I would most certainly rather pay more taxes to my local government than the federal government.
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
 
MingToo
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:07 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:15 pm

Quoting comorin (Reply 30):
Its the increase in productivity that has made it a jobless expansion.

Productivity statistics just reflect the increasing outsourcing of labour to cheaper countries which leave the 'per employed person' figures looking better as the 'per capita' figures fall.
 
BN747
Posts: 5344
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 5:48 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:53 pm

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
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.

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 as he was in the 1850s...

..meaning it's a new era, Wars have united Nations and Empires for centuries, it is time for us move past that belief..just as we no longer rely on candle-makers to make our nights tolerable.

Now that we're a bit more intellectual (thus lazier) society..perhaps we need to find a new model for national cohesion.

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
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.

True to a very small extent.

I think the bigger problem is identity...National Identity.

Chinese young nationals unify under the one banner that is China and can point to a single history as it's roots.

The US can't do that. US History has many levels to it.

Asian American History
Latino American History
Native American History
Black American History
White American History

Those varied and very histories have lead us to the grouping we live in today. It has lit the match to a silent struggle to tell the story of America today. Many white kids don't like being BS'd about American History, each successive generation has grown up to find that they'd been BS'd about their countries origins, therefore they cast great doubt on any truth coming from authority figures. It starts with teachers and parents and takes off from there. As they educate themselves .. they reach a conclusion of 'whatelse will (our leaders lie to us about). They forgive the Santa Claus lies, the Tooth Fairy lies even the Easter Bunny. But things that have an effect on their very lives and the lives of their fellow Americans...they realize something isn't right.

That causes a rift.

Now take the same scenario and apply it to each demographic and you arrive at a different set of perspectives of a 'sense of where you come from' and where it has lead you to...by each group.

Some groups take that very seriously because if history is an indicator..some feel on edge more than others about the security of their future. They worry that the dominate culture may (which has a history of being deceptive and disingenuous) may very well attempt to change the rules to keep them in place as 'the dominate culture'.

The Dominate Culture is great fear of it losing it's place at the head of the table as the leading force in the society. It is in a near state of panic in the shadow of the nation's 1st black head of state. The divide that has one side cheering that and another side in great distress over it..is the one of the biggest unifying issues period. That's called bring the people together in understanding who they are. Instead of bickering over the ridiculous.


The Dominate Culture is showing signs of having problems coming to exist on a ' level like everyone else', not the individual..but the group. The choices are fight it (the changing dynamic)... or welcome it..but it is coming to an end. Does that spell the end of America? To many of the Dominate Culture..it certainly does, you hear them mumble about it almost hourly. The coming mix culture should be mature enough to welcome the change without any kind of senseless 'payback mentality' which some loser leaders will surely try to exploit. If either of the two worse case scenarios occur...(1-Dominate Culture goes down fighting and swing or 2- New equal culture gravitates toward 'payback mode') thsi country will implode and self-destruct.

If the country can unify and enlighten itself... it has everything it needs to overcome every challenge that lands before it. It possesses all the resources necessary to achieve that. It can over come it's debts. New thinking in terms of 'Green Power' Industries.... this country can own it, if it so desires.

With it's great diversity, it can 'out-China' China itself...if it puts it's mind to it. But as Abe Lincoln called it over 140 years ago...a House Divided can not Stand. It still holds true to this day.

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
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!

Yeah, EXCEPT if you were Arab American...it was a nightmare. You were Scapegoat #1.. stil are on some fronts.
You can thank long standing racial divisions for that instantaneous divide.

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
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.

Yes, their world was one of the 1st to look back on history..but didn't learn from it...they way those very heroes treated Asian Americans (but not German Americans) was appalling. By Making 'black Americans' fight for 'the right to fight' was disgusting of that generation. To say that was the way it was ..doesn't cut the mustard, it was wrong and it is wrong today to simply ignore it.

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.

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.

A very bad mantra to live by or base the future on.

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
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.

You just did...see your quote.

The other 'weight' on the unbalanced scaled is the continued 'unequaled distribution of wealth'...

....the long standing aphorism 'The Rich get Richer, while the Poor get Poorer' can now be etched in stone. It's a fact and cannot be disputed by anyone. The call for a re-distribution of wealth' means to take away from thsoe who have and give to those who do not. That's not the way to go..but there has to be ' a better distribution' of wealth.

There must be an break on the stranglehold the seriously powerful have on nearly all that is influential form politics to military might to natural resources. The masses must feel included much more than they do now... because to continue the way it is now..will only breed more and more discontent. The poor can be scared into silence..but that can only hold up for so long. But time can be bought thru disease and famine. It sounds cruel, but the it can easily be introduced as a natural phenomena and the masses would have no clue ...and more importantly, no defense. Their numbers dwindle .. and the whole process begins again, with the wealthiest in a greater position than before.

With people being the animals they are..they do get tired of watching the same person on stage forever. They actually do crave change in that state of existence. The rich can be rich forever and never grow tired of it. The same cannot be said for the other side of the equation.


Imagine, the Bush Family having in office from 1870 til today and imagine the Queen of England having the exact equal measure of power as the POTUS...and it having extended back to Henry Tudor... the Brits in this day age would have a revolution that would be...well disasterous, beheadings might be di riguer!

Certain things of great influence (wealth and power) do grow stale in the eyes of those without it. There must be a greater distribution of wealth.

BN747

[Edited 2010-07-29 17:48:52]
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
 
Airport
Posts: 545
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:52 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:18 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
Fear can be a great motivator, but it usually is a very bad advisor.

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 out of this economic implosion we're facing. And I can't think of anything other than war that could unite us in the way we need it, in the modern world we live in.

Quoting BN747 (Reply 33):
..meaning it's a new era, Wars have united Nations and Empires for centuries, it is time for us move past that belief..just as we no longer rely on candle-makers to make our nights tolerable.

And what exactly, do you think, will motivate us and universally unite us?

Quoting BN747 (Reply 33):

Now that we're a bit more intellectual (thus lazier) society..perhaps we need to find a new model for national cohesion.

It'd be beyond great if we could.

There is one other thing that I could see as a motivating and uniting factor, not quite to same degree which war causes, and that is exploration of the unknown -- like back in the 1800s-1900s, when the world was a much larger and more mysterious place. When thinking about places in the Far East, and South America required so much imagination.

That's my only other guess.

Quoting BN747 (Reply 33):
Those varied and very histories have lead us to the grouping we live in today. It has lit the match to a silent struggle to tell the story of America today. Many white kids don't like being BS'd about American History, each successive generation has grown up to find that they'd been BS'd about their countries origins, therefore they cast great doubt on any truth coming from authority figures. It starts with teachers and parents and takes off from there. As they educate themselves .. they reach a conclusion of 'whatelse will (our leaders lie to us about). They forgive the Santa Claus lies, the Tooth Fairy lies even the Easter Bunny. But things that have an effect on their very lives and the lives of their fellow Americans...they realize something isn't right.

Yes! I am happy you said that -- I completely agree with that.   

I think we FAR too much candy up our history when teaching it to kids today. And it diminishes our credibility later on in education if we don't tell them the truth.

In fact, in general I think we baby kids too much. Not that we should necessarily be more strict, but I think we really under-challenge them. For example, I look back to a lot of cartoons I watched as a kid, and then I look at what a lot of kids watch today on TV, and the ones that were on TV when I was a kid were way more intellectually stimulating and entertaining. I've worked at Elementary Schools here in the US, and I've lost count at how many times I've felt that the kids were so much more capable than what they were doing.

Quoting BN747 (Reply 33):
The Dominate Culture is great fear of it losing it's place at the head of the table as the leading force in the society. It is in a near state of panic in the shadow of the nation's 1st black head of state. The divide that has one side cheering that and another side in great distress over it..is the one of the biggest unifying issues period. That's called bring the people together in understanding who they are. Instead of bickering over the ridiculous
Quoting BN747 (Reply 33):
If the country can unify and enlighten itself... it has everything it needs to overcome every challenge that lands before it. It possesses all the resources necessary to achieve that. It can over come it's debts. New thinking in terms of 'Green Power' Industries.... this country can own it, if it so desires.

Again, I completely agree, but the emphasis is placed on the "if the country can unify and enlighten itself..."
That's a very huge if -- and how do we do that?

Quoting BN747 (Reply 33):
Yeah, EXCEPT if you were Arab American...it was a nightmare. You were Scapegoat #1.. stil are on some fronts.
You can thank long standing racial divisions for that instantaneous divide.

And I can't argue against that. That is the one almost universally terrible thing about war is the racism/elitism/attitudes that can stem from that.

Quoting BN747 (Reply 33):
Yes, their world was one of the 1st to look back on history..but didn't learn from it...they way those very heroes treated Asian Americans (but not German Americans) was appalling. By Making 'black Americans' fight for 'the right to fight' was disgusting of that generation. To say that was the way it was ..doesn't cut the mustard, it was wrong and it is wrong today to simply ignore it.

Well, I do think as we become more educated and more intellegent as a society, such things can and will be prevented, or at least less likely, in the future.

Quoting BN747 (Reply 33):
A very bad mantra to live by or base the future on.

I completely agree. It is a very crappy mantra to live by -- but I fear it's simply human nature. I fear there aren't alternative things that will unite in the same ways which war can.

As to base the future on... well, we'll see I suppose. Klaus is completely correct. There are so many variables, that it really is damn near impossible to predict anything. If I could repost my original post, I wouldn't say what I said with so much certainty because it aboslutely is the truth that neither I, nor anyone, can really know what's going to happen.

It's just my best guess...

Cheers,
Anthony/Airport
 
Merlot
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:17 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:07 am

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 have some kind of complaint with America (practically everyone = even most Americans).

With that said, all of the specific facts about US debt especially, are quite cogent and cast doubt on how dominant, or not-so-dominant, America will be in the future.

Quoting aloges (Reply 7):
So while it's going to be an uphill battle, it'll probably be fine because it has always been one.

Good point, and lets also realize that America and Europe are much closer together in the same boat than conventional wisdom or the press ever mentions. If America is to fall, it is the fall of Europe as well, their economies operate the same way.

Besides the oversimplifications and steady ignorance of contrary data, Niall Ferguson's most questionable habit is comparing ancient empires and/or empires built largely on overseas conquests to modern day America. Well, of course the British Empire, the Spanish Empire, the Roman Empire etc... fell, they were based on subjugating foreign peoples and resources! and declined when administering a vast overseas territory became impossible.

. . . . . the US "Empire", insofar as it is an empire, is unique in history of empires in that it is entirely organic. This alone means Ferguson's grammer-school logic that since all previous empires fell, America must one day fall....not logical at all.

Quoting MingToo (Reply 8):
We will just be forced to adjust our standard of living downwards relative to the rest of the world

No, European and US growth in terms of "standard of living" is and has been for a long time lower than that of the relatively impoverished Chinese or Indians, who are growing so fast because they are just now experiencing the Industrial Revolution that started in England 150 years ago.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
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

The fashion in the 80s was to tell your kids to take Japanese in school, sign up for Japanese business management lessons and assume that all America would be paying rent to Japan by now because of all the US debt they owned and the vast trade imbalance (hmmm..sound familiar to today? China?)

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
China has huge challenges before it as well, and they will likely experience major crises of their own in the coming decades

No, I believe only the thundering herd of pundits and their followers who implictly argue China will face no internal strife, no external wars, no recessions/depressions, no environmental or resource disasters and instead will grow straight up without pause for 100 years when they will finally arrive at European and American standards of wealth.

Of course no one knows what the future holds, but repeating and believing the popular press and their view of the future is probably the best way to be proven wrong...and even if America falls, look at the history Niall Ferguson points to: France, Britain, Rome were once imperial, but later fell, yet today reign as among the very best places to live on earth.

Merlot
 
flymia
Posts: 6810
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 6:33 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:08 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 29):
I don't necessarily buy everything that's there, but for a long time I have believed the American economy is in far worse shape than has been acknowledged by the government --

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 modernize rapidly I dont see much to worry about for a while.

Maybe if the US would stop spending so much money helping other countries feed their people and keeping people across the world safe we wouldnt be in the money mess. Oh wait if we did that everyone would hate us. But when we do something then people hate the US. Its always a lose lost situation.

As for the future as long as immigration continues we will have a pretty good population age range unlike much of Europe and other industrialized countries around the world. The US has some of the most natural resources in the world if not that most variety in the world. And there are still plenty of areas that have not been mined yet.

Maybe the US might not be the huge only superpower but it has not been most of its history. But as long as the world is supported by the US economy I dont see much of a collapse.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
11Bravo
Posts: 1679
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:54 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:50 am

America has become lazy and foolish. Historically, the backb

Quoting flymia (Reply 36):
Maybe if the US would stop spending so much money helping other countries feed their people and keeping people across the world safe we wouldnt be in the money mess.

Foreign Aid and FMS is something like 2% of the Federal Budget. So you think a 2% budget cut is a game changer? How does that work?

Quoting flymia (Reply 36):
The US has some of the most natural resources in the world if not that most variety in the world

Unfortunately, our petroleum usage is off the reservation, so we are sending somewhere north of $300 billion a year to foreign countries. That trend is a killer, and it is not sustainable in the long run. That is easily the largest outflow of cash in American history.
WhaleJets Rule!
 
texan
Posts: 4061
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 2:23 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:37 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 11):
An amateur historian who manages to somehow claim expertise in matters of economics, and compares the economy of Greece to America:

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 one of them. Ferguson has predicted the decline and fall of the U.S. for at least a decade -- I started reading his work for a History of the British Empire course in college and came across a good number of articles saying he expected the U.S. empire to collapse soon. Ferguson uses tired rhetoric and unpersuasive examples -- unfortunate because he is a very intelligent person who has the ability to write well.

Let's take at his assertions one by one:

Quote:
All empires, no matter how magnificent, are condemned to decline and fall.

Likely a correct statement, but, since we have not yet seen all the empires, his assertion is overbroad.

Quote:
Great powers and empires operate somewhere between order and disorder. They can appear to operate quite stably for some time; they seem to be in equilibrium but are, in fact, constantly adapting. But a small trigger can set off a ''phase transition'' from a benign equilibrium to a crisis - a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and brings about a hurricane in south-eastern England.

Elegant writing and a great use of imagery. But it doesn't do anything to prove his point. If that were really true, the British government would no doubt have "Amazon Butterfly Watchers" stationed throughout the Amazon and reporting back how many times each butterfly flapped its wings.

Quote:
The most obvious point is that imperial falls are associated with fiscal crises - sharp imbalances between revenues and expenditures, and the mounting cost of servicing a mountain of public debt.

Usually yes. Financial malfeasance or misadventure changes public perception of government -- look at the 2008 elections for a recent example or the 1992 or 1932 elections to see other power-shifting changes. Ferguson seems to assert that one can predict imperial collapses with major financial crises. Following his logic, the U.S. should have fallen in the 1920s and early 1930s. Yet the U.S. rode out the storm -- as did many other nations.

Quote:
The Bourbon monarchy in France. . . . The sun set on the British Empire almost as suddenly. . . . Think of Ottoman Turkey in the 19th century . . . .

Again, this is not an apt comparison. 18th Century France, 20th Century Britain, and the 19th Century Ottoman Empires all collapsed during financially difficult times, true. But there are also huge differences between those three and the current U.S. For instance, both the British and Ottoman Empires covered vast amounts of territory that proved ungovernable in the long term. If you look through history, another one of the surest signs of a failing empire is overexpansion: the Greeks, Romans, Persians, and many other empires collapsed after expanding beyond what they could comfortably control. The U.S. has no major colonial holdings: Puerto Rico, the USVI, Guam, and other assorted islands in the Pacific, for the most part. So to compare a mostly economic empire to the governing empires of the aforementioned countries does not make for a compelling comparison.

Quote:
The fiscal position of the US is worse than that of Greece. But Greece is not a global power. In historical perspective, unless something radical is done soon, the US is heading into into Bourbon France territory. It is heading into Ottoman Turkey territory. It is heading into postwar Britain territory.

Ferguson fails to offer any evidence that the U.S. is any worse than Greece. In fact, since the U.S. controls its currency and can react to changes in currency valuation quickly -- if it wants to -- it is in a much stronger position than Greece. Moreover, the U.S. still produces a large number of exports -- something Greece does not do. And while other countries own large quantities of our debt, many of those countries are more at risk than the U.S. is. China, for instance, owns 22% of U.S. federal debt. If China or another country demands repayment, the U.S. would print more money, causing inflation to skyrocket and China receiving currency worth, at best, pennies on the dollar. In the meantime, they kill their own economy because the U.S. cannot afford to purchase imported consumer goods. Other countries are similarly affected. China no longer has anyplace to ship their goods because the collapse of the dollar would spell a global depression the likes of which we have never seen. China's economy collapses and the government falls there.

So while there is a risk that we won't be able to pay down our debt soon, there is no reason to believe any creditors are going to come calling. They know the financial and social reprecussions would resonate through their countries as well. The U.S. is not Greece or even Spain. The global economy can absorb those collapses and continue functioning. If the U.S. economy collapses, as Ferguson insinuates it will in the relatively near future, it presents a global disaster -- but also the rebuilding of the U.S. economy. If our prices and wages are lower, we will become net exporters. And since infrastructure and technology would still be in place, the U.S. would likely become an economic powerhouse once again.

But neither China nor any of our other creditors are stupid enough to collect. They realize the stakes and the dollar will continue to be propped up for years to come. Yes, the U.S. as we currently know it may change over time, but it is unlikely it will collapse in the near future.

Just my opinion.

Texan
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
 
User avatar
czbbflier
Posts: 864
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:28 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:58 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 9):
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?
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 with yours I can absolutely assure you that I do not see this a good or happy thing.

Rather, what I do delight in is finally finding someone more eloquent and credible than I whose viewpoint is in agreement with mine and who calls it as he sees it. I just feel that I have been a voice in the wilderness for more than a decade and I'm finally starting to sense that what I've have long seen and have been trying to communicate is what the mainstream is finally starting to understand.

It's not popular, it's not happy. There's no syrupy Hollywood ending. It's not even remotely good news, but it's economic reality: something that has been lacking in policy dialogue in the United States for the better part of fifty years. That you see it as anti-american merely underscores how defensive, inflexible and entrenched you are in your alternate reality.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 11):
A person who is seemingly excited at the prospect of "riding out the wave" on a deserted island while China takes over the world.
My friend, that is funny. I'd be excited to ride out any wave on a deserted island. Imagine how less stressful it would be to simply drop a hook in the water and pull out dinner. Imagine how wonderful it would be to live in a place where there are not hoards of people jostling and pushing, competing for whatever they can scavenge in the 'race to the bottom' in good times as well as in bad.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 17):
If you don't agree with the war, you change the government.
That's exactly what happened in 2008. Unfortunately, as many predicted, it wasn't enough.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 17):
The pendulum has swung too far to one side. That will be corrected with the next election and the pendulum will swing again.
That's funny. I thought the pendulum swung wildly from one side to the other in the last election. Trouble is, the way the US government is set up with checks and balances, you have either these wild pendulum swings or else you have a total log-jam where the only way to get stuff passed is to bribe the other side of the Congressional House and Senate.

Alas, that is exactly how you (collectively) got into this mess in the first place.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
China has huge challenges before it as well, and they will likely experience major crises of their own in the coming decades.
Right on. That might be an excellent thread another time.

I actually don't believe that the China as we know it today will last in its current trajectory. The thing about China and most other emerging economies is that while the prosperity appears to be a mile wide it is only an inch deep. And in China, it is often thinner than that. There are hush-hush reports of riots in the back country because the poverty is so abject and government doesn't care because it's so focused on feeding the goose that's laying the golden egg.

Eventually, the disparity between the haves and have-nots will just simply become too great and there will be a massive retrenchment to the collective identity as China has historically done. Entrepreneurialism and individuality are historically anathema to the Chinese way of doing things.

Also, productivity, although high right now, is all artificial. The backbone of the Chinese economy is still very, very manual and agrarian. Yes, Shanghai is very modern, but drive 50 miles into the countryside and I'm quite certain you'll still see ox and carts carrying relatively poor agricultural products to market resulting from dozens if not hundreds of hours of back-breaking labour.

The difference between China and the United States is that in the US there is the availability to all to benefit in the social and economic exchanges that take place not to mention room and desire to backfill economic investment as well as to expand in new ventures. The natural resources are there. The labour force is there. The infrastructure to make this all happen, although battered and faltering, is still there.

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.

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.
   Klaus, you have hit the nail on the head.

Quoting Slider (Reply 23):
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.
Slider, I agree with your last three lines. Most certainly, I don't see the republic 'failing'. I don't see the United States reverting to a monarch anytime soon. Indeed, I don't see the coming of a Second Republic. There is no need to start again. This one will do just fine.

Your other arguments would be more credible if you at least appeared to be balanced in your viewpoint. The trouble is that you seem to fail to acknowledge the faults of the Republican governments as well as Democratic. For example, how could Frank and Dodd possibly brazenly permit anything when under Bush II the Democrats were in the minority in Congress? If you are so keen to lay fault with the Dems, then in fairness, there has to be some reckoning for the GOP too. The fact is, the Clinton years were arguably the best of the best. The US Treasury was getting into pretty good shape. Previous debt incurred by Reagan and Bush I (and Carter before them) was getting paid off. The economic boom was fuelled by optimism and real investment. The following eight were built on not much more than hubris- and oil.

The over-deregulation of the banking industry under GWB is universally seen to have been the reason for this collapse. That's obvious: How can you possibly sell a two-hundred thousand dollar house to someone making $15.00 an hour? Yet that is what was happening.

Quoting wingman (Reply 27):
Anyway, the bill is about to start coming due but if any country can pull itself up by the bootstraps and do the tough slog back to prosperity I can't think of a better candidate that the US. It won't be much fun but we'll be OK in the "end".
I agree completely with this statement. It will involve a serious re-intrenchment back to the "Olde USA", whatever that is- and I don't know because I haven't ever seen it.

But if you elect Ron Paul should he run again in 2014, you might just have a chance. He was the only Presidential candidate that was talking about returning to some semblance of the original vision of the United States. Even that won't be enough however, because a full recovery from this recession is going to take the better part of 20 years, far longer than he could be President. Maybe more. And then only if the retrenchment is deep, with commitment from all sides complete and the willingness to tackle the root causes of the faltering economy is unwavering- something that I highly doubt we will see. A solution will be found but the recovery will just be that more protracted.

Sadly, any way you cut it, the happy, prosperous easy-to-get-rich days of the 1990s and 2000s are over for a generation. Maybe two.

Quoting texan (Reply 38):
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 one of them.
Thank you for debunking a completely unfair statement. However, I do take issue with your assertions about his piece.

Quoting texan (Reply 38):
If that were really true, the British government would no doubt have "Amazon Butterfly Watchers" stationed throughout the Amazon and reporting back how many times each butterfly flapped its wings.

It is a metaphor for small variables which, when taken together add up to a big result. I learned it as the "Peking Butterfly" theory. There are a lot of little things that have gone wrong in the United States and the result is a big mess that is only just now becoming undeniable.

Quoting texan (Reply 38):
Following his logic, the U.S. should have fallen in the 1920s and early 1930s. Yet the U.S. rode out the storm -- as did many other nations.
Not true because the United States still had resources and manpower to retrench, consolidate and relaunch. This is still possible if the United States can reduce significantly or better yet, eliminate its addiction to 20 million barrels of oil every day. Indeed, this is the formula that will make Wingman's assertion (see above) succeed.

Quoting texan (Reply 38):
one of the surest signs of a failing empire is overexpansion: the Greeks, Romans, Persians, and many other empires collapsed after expanding beyond what they could comfortably control. The U.S. has no major colonial holdings:
The U.S. does not have an 'empire' in the classic sense, this is true. However, it is fighting a war in an attempt to expand its sphere of influence into a resiliently impenetrable region of the planet tens of thousands of miles away. The cost of waging that war is clearly becoming prohibitive and indicative of over-reaching it's ability which, in another manner of speaking, is overexpansion.

Quoting texan (Reply 38):
Moreover, the U.S. still produces a large number of exports --
True but sadly, its exports are still vastly overshadowed by its imports. As is its balance of payments.

Quoting texan (Reply 38):
If the U.S. economy collapses, as Ferguson insinuates it will in the relatively near future, it presents a global disaste
That it would. Doubtlessly.

Quoting texan (Reply 38):
but also the rebuilding of the U.S. economy. If our prices and wages are lower, we will become net exporters.
Which is the silver-lining of a massively dark cloud for the United States. It is the undoing of a few other economies, however, as global economics is more or less a zero-sum game.

Quoting texan (Reply 38):
But neither China nor any of our other creditors are stupid enough to collect.
They aren't going to back up to the door of the US Treasury with an armoured car, point a gun or two and say, "Pay Up". Interest payments will slowly eat up the government's cash-flow until all revenue through taxes is paid out monthly to cover the accumulated (and still accumulating) debt. The real crisis happens when governments have to start borrowing to pay the interest on previous debt. And at the rate the US government is spending, that won't be too long from now.

Compound interest: it's not only a surefire way to get rich, it's also an express-lane to the poor house. This is what brought Canada to the brink of financial crisis in the 1990s as Scarlot pointed out a few replies above.

Just as it is with paying off a credit card bill, you have to work very hard and reap no improved standard of living for a long time until the debt burden is eased and you can start to pay for new projects moving forward.

Unfortunately, this is complicated because the domestic infrastructure in the US is in such deplorable state that both must be done simultaneously so both get done at a painfully slow pace. Try to pay off $30,000 in credit card debt, replace the roof on your house, have the transmission in your car rebuilt, send the kids to college and save for retirement all at the same time- and all at a time when you've had to take a wage roll-back at work to save your job. It's kinda like that.
 
MingToo
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:07 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:08 am

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 28):
China will likely overtake the US without a "Decline and fall".

Agree. Doom laden predictions of crashes are rarely correct. The world tends to change slowly, but it does change.

Quoting BN747 (Reply 33):
There must be an break on the stranglehold the seriously powerful have on nearly all that is influential form politics to military might to natural resources.

The American people without doubt have the ability to solve any problems. You just need to get your government out of the way. And that applies to both Republican and Democrat administrations. You don't need the choice between overpriced private health care and overpriced public healthcare, you need the choice to have cost effective healthcare. That choice does not seem to be on the table.

Quoting merlot (Reply 35):
Good point, and lets also realize that America and Europe are much closer together in the same boat than conventional wisdom or the press ever mentions. If America is to fall, it is the fall of Europe as well, their economies operate the same way.

We aren't all that different for sure. We have the same underlying problems.

Quoting merlot (Reply 35):
The fashion in the 80s was to tell your kids to take Japanese in school, sign up for Japanese business management lessons and assume that all America would be paying rent to Japan by now because of all the US debt they owned and the vast trade imbalance (hmmm..sound familiar to today? China?)

The US has a very different relationship with Japan than with China. For example, lots of military bases in Japan which the Japanese can't seem to get rid of even if they want to. Not so with China. So a very different scenario.

Quoting flymia (Reply 36):
See the problem I see with the argument of the US economy is the world relies on the US economy.

It relies on people in the US being prepared to borrow money and then spend it. The US culture has a much greater propensity for that than others. But this is changing too. China exports more to Europe than the US now.

Quoting flymia (Reply 36):
Maybe if the US would stop spending so much money helping other countries feed their people and keeping people across the world safe we wouldnt be in the money mess.

This is the sort of thinking that gets in the way of solving the problems. The US military isn't a charity. It doesn't go around policing the world for the benefit of others. It does it for economic reasons. Sometimes that coincides with helping others, often it does not.

Quoting texan (Reply 38):
Again, this is not an apt comparison. 18th Century France, 20th Century Britain, and the 19th Century Ottoman Empires all collapsed during financially difficult times, true. But there are also huge differences between those three and the current U.S. For instance, both the British and Ottoman Empires covered vast amounts of territory that proved ungovernable in the long term. If you look through history, another one of the surest signs of a failing empire is overexpansion: the Greeks, Romans, Persians, and many other empires collapsed after expanding beyond what they could comfortably control. The U.S. has no major colonial holdings: Puerto Rico, the USVI, Guam, and other assorted islands in the Pacific, for the most part. So to compare a mostly economic empire to the governing empires of the aforementioned countries does not make for a compelling comparison.

The US 'empire' is different in character to previous empires. The world has become a more sophisticated place with a lot more media attention. You can't just go around blatantly controlling other countries any more, it has to be more subtle.

It is much better now to just team up with the local despots like the Saudi Royals and scratch each others backs.

Even so, the US now has more troops in foreign lands than the British did at the height of the British Empire.

This is not done for 'freedom or democracy' (unless the people vote the right way, in which case they do get democracy) or to 'fight them there before they come here'. It is primarily for economic reasons. This is why the 'war on terror' strategies seem so flawed. Because, while there is an element of fighting terrorism, the larger objective is geostrategic.

The usual argument against this is to say 'how can the war in Iraq' possibly be economically beneficial ? Well the original cost estimate was only $50 billion. It was seen to be economically beneficial, it just didn't turn out that way. This is the point at which this imperialism turns into a cost not a profit. That is what has taken down just about every empire in history.

It's a lot better to back out gracefully than spend ever more dollars for ever less returns.
 
dragon6172
Posts: 796
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 9:56 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:38 am

Quoting UAL747 (Reply 2):
but I feel the US is it's own worst enemy in all facets

Could not agree more. I would guess that the decline of most countries have started from withen their own borders.

Quoting Airport (Reply 10):
I think chocolate ice cream tastes good... can we at least agree on that?

Works for me!

Quoting czbbflier (Reply 39):
This is still possible if the United States can reduce significantly or better yet, eliminate its addiction to 20 million barrels of oil every day.

I've thought for a while that this is key to our future success. If we could just reduce our oil requirement to what we can produce ourselves that would be a start.
Phrogs Phorever
 
MingToo
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:07 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:41 am

Quoting dragon6172 (Reply 41):
Quoting czbbflier (Reply 39):
This is still possible if the United States can reduce significantly or better yet, eliminate its addiction to 20 million barrels of oil every day.

I've thought for a while that this is key to our future success. If we could just reduce our oil requirement to what we can produce ourselves that would be a start.

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 than Saudi produces which has the largest reserves which bubble out of the ground when you stick a spade in. BP is (was) the largest producer in the US at around 600,000 barrels per day. You'd need 18 times that to fill the gap.

However, independence could be possible through a multi-faceted approach.

Firstly, you really don't need to be independent of Canada. There is no issue importing oil from them. So that's 2.5 million barrels a day that you really don't need to worry about.

Second, you need to consider the whole energy equation and not just oil. If you can produce more electricity, then you can move from heating homes by oil to heating them electrically freeing up the oil from other uses.

Renewables aren't going to make much of a dent, its a dream that they will do the job. Nuclear is really the only option at this point. And again, the fuel comes from Canada and Australia, not a problem.

In addition to more production, you need to make efficiency gains in the use of electricity too. Low energy lighting etc.

But realistically, efficiency gains in the use of oil are going to be needed as well. High speed rail might help very long term, but it's really not going to make much of a dent. The infrastructure and layout of the US is dependent on vehicles (plus that's what everyone wants). So you need to give up a little and downsize to more reasonable sized vehicles, use more hybrid technology and so on.

All of these combined could move things a long way towards energy independence ... or to be more precise independence from unreliable sources.

But all of this requires buy-in from the public. There is only one way I can see that happening. And that is to admit that the US is in the Middle East for oil and energy and make energy efficiency and change the patriot thing to do (which it is) because you are doing your part to stop US soldiers getting shot in places like Iraq.

Can't see it happening though. The US government has rather painted itself into a corner on this.
 
User avatar
Dreadnought
Posts: 9841
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:31 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:20 pm

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."

A classic quote. However I would say that it mainly applies to representative democracies (republics) rather than democracies. The problem is politicians. In our country, politicians are in charge. We elect different politicians and they do the same things.

Look at Switzerland. They have been a democracy for over 700 years and have not suffered the same problems. The difference is that the People have the final say on all important issues through referendums. If you want to raise taxes or provide a new social benefit, people will vote on it and historically the Swiss people have made the right decisions, often in opposition to the elected national assembly which is much more willing to expand government (they are politicians after all. The people of Switzerland have firmly resisted letting the federal government grow too much (and the Swiss constitution is largely based on the US Constitution).

Quoting czbbflier (Reply 3):
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.

The problem is spending, not taxes.
Forget dogs and cats - Spay and neuter your liberals.
 
connies4ever
Posts: 3393
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:31 pm

Quoting MingToo (Reply 42):
Firstly, you really don't need to be independent of Canada. There is no issue importing oil from them. So that's 2.5 million barrels a day that you really don't need to worry about.

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 line is that the US needs this oil (and actually more), and there is a vast amount of it in place. Current SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_assisted_gravity_drainage) technology is quite wasteful in terms of both energy and water usage, and also the amount of CO2 releases involved. About 1/3 of a barrel of oil equivalent to get a barrel of oil, and oil recovery rates of only about 30-35%. There is pretty new technology called THAI (Toe-to-Heel Air Injection http://scitizen.com/future-energies/...xtend-the-oil-age-_a-14-3449.html) that could raise recovery rates to perhaps 80%, reduce water consumption, and as well CO2 production. THAI has been demonstrated in the field, but only on fairly small scales.

Which I think would eliminate much of the 'dirty oil' talk.

Quoting MingToo (Reply 42):
Renewables aren't going to make much of a dent, its a dream that they will do the job. Nuclear is really the only option at this point. And again, the fuel comes from Canada and Australia, not a problem.
Quoting MingToo (Reply 42):
But realistically, efficiency gains in the use of oil are going to be needed as well. High speed rail might help very long term, but it's really not going to make much of a dent. The infrastructure and layout of the US is dependent on vehicles (plus that's what everyone wants). So you need to give up a little and downsize to more reasonable sized vehicles, use more hybrid technology and so on.

With the infrastructure and layout of both the US & Canada making society dependent on vehicles, a real win on the energy usage front would be much more investment in public transit: buses, LRT, and subways -- although that's easily the most expensive. Also densification of the urban scene: more people in a smaller space, more ability to walk to/from work, shopping, and entertainment. But redesigning our cities will take a lot of time.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
baroque
Posts: 12302
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:15 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:05 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 44):
Which I think would eliminate much of the 'dirty oil' talk.

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 will certainly help, but the lower the API gravity, the higher the effective cost will be in terms of carbon dioxide. And you will still need buckets of hydrogen to make products that anyone wants to buy. But there is a lot of oil in the A tar sands.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 44):
But redesigning our cities will take a lot of time.

Sure will. And not much sign - here at least - of anyone trying seriously to do it.
 
Arrow
Posts: 2325
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2002 7:44 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:12 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 43):
The problem is spending, not taxes.

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 the short-medium term have to collect enough revenue to reverse the trend (while also cutting spending of course), as other nations did when they faced the same problem.

This piece in today's Vancouver Sun has some rather startling tax comparisons between Canada and the US, indicating that overall tax rates in capitalist USA are considerably higher than in socialist Canada -- and the gap will likely widen. But when Canada was going through its numbing debt crisis 15 years ago, it solved the problem by cutting spending AND raising taxes. Short term pain for long term gain.

How Canada can cash in on the U.S. economic malaise

Canada has the opportunity of a lifetime waiting to be seized.

Non-financial institutions in the United States have almost $2 trillion US in cash on their balance sheets but have no desire to invest there. Luring some of that money to Canada will help further modernize our economy, create jobs, generate more tax revenue and raise our standard of living.


http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/...conomic+malaise/3340011/story.html

Skip the rah-rah Canada BS in the piece, and look at the detailed tax comparisons (including the health care comparison) to see what a hole the US is really in right now -- and how it won't dig its way out with the usual "cut taxes, spur growth" mantra that is almost like a faith-based religious belief among conservatives down there.

This is part of what I see as the social disconnects that need to be addressed if the US is to avoid the slide everyone is talking about on this thread. That's why it is depressing to watch the US left and right at loggerheads, unable to see the iceberg looming just ahead in the fog. As a result the US is neither cutting spending nor raising taxes, when it needs to do both.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
dragon6172
Posts: 796
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 9:56 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:34 pm

Quoting MingToo (Reply 42):
All of these combined could move things a long way towards energy independence ... or to be more precise independence from unreliable sources.

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!!
Phrogs Phorever
 
slider
Posts: 6814
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:12 pm

Quoting czbbflier (Reply 39):
The trouble is that you seem to fail to acknowledge the faults of the Republican governments as well as Democratic.

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 actively repeal or enforce those regs that should have been acted upon.  
 
MingToo
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:07 am

RE: Decline And Fall Of The US

Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:15 pm

Quoting dragon6172 (Reply 47):
Quoting MingToo (Reply 42):
All of these combined could move things a long way towards energy independence ... or to be more precise independence from unreliable sources.

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!!

Yes ! I did realise that after re-reading ... you were talking about reducing consumption and somehow I started talking about increasing production .. sorry .. brain hiccup.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: cledaybuck, JJJ and 8 guests