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Old 07-18-2008, 11:20 PM   #1
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Question Is America a Nation in Decline?

i'm bored and stuck at work all night and since i'm fascinated and disgusted by the u.s. at the same time (like many others), this thread came about. a friend of mine whose views are a little more harsh than mine tried to convince me that america's time is up and other nations are gonna take the lead in this century. now, usually i "counterattack" these kind of views because i think america still has a lot to offer, but these days i feel like i'm running out of arguments.

- the public debt is bigger than any time in history and the bailout of fannie mae and freddie mac is gonna double (!) it. i'm afraid there are more bailouts to come.

- the dollar is collapsing, and the national currency normally tells a lot about a nation's economic strength.

- the overextended military is just surreal.

- the fact that gated communities prosper everywhere around the nation isn't a good sign for society at all - and get this: close to 50% of all new-born buildings in california in 08 were in gated communites. goodbye society, welcome brazil.

- inflation is high and will probably stay high for a long, long time to come, hurting especially the middle-class (and "lower").

- the eroding of the economic base due to stiff competition from china has left the country vulnerable; economically as vulnerable as europe.

- the illegal immigration is even worse than in europe, and we've had our fair share of illegals over the last years

i could go on like this for quite some time. on the other hand: every crisis, no matter how big, has always cleaned out the system and the country emerged stronger than ever.

so what say you? is america slowly going down or is the picture i just painted gonna be completely outdated in, let's say, five years' time, maybe 10 years? we all know china is going to be a major force in this century, the only question for me is: will it be the only one?

please refrain from stupid bashing.
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

yeah... interesting... i used to be pretty harsh...

vulnerable is a good word... the star that burns the brightest burns the shortest so they reckon...

rrainer, i really feel its how the country was built... the railroads... it was a pretty cut throat, get ahead economy from the start... all growing, all consuming monster...

at some stage, what was the 'capitalist blueprint' for the world, became the 'consumerist blueprint' for the world... which... is largely unsustainable.

like you say, countries do emerge from periods of hardship... and for the majority of history wars have tied a nation and nations together... but... in the age where i can talk to you like this... sometimes, its just hard to believe in propaganda... when, the horses mouth at the click of a button says otherwise.

EDIT: yeah, i still kinda believe that the u.s. will come out of this, and, the apathy that seemed to have paralyzed a lot of the neutral people will disappear soon... and, with any hope, the u.s. will make some tough, decisions that leading nations take and lead the world in a few different areas other than the traditional ones... even if it means stepping further down the spiral for a while...

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Old 07-18-2008, 11:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

the western civilization is in decline
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

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Originally Posted by G4. View Post
the western civilization is in decline

yeah... i think there is still some sensibility in parts of europe... the new central europe... society is at an amazing time there... in the twilight between one ideal and the next... massive unsustainable consumption still hasnt caught on... tho... it looks as tho it will soon.. sadly...
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

...and Global Warming will fry everything!!!


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Old 07-19-2008, 12:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

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...and Global Warming will fry everything!!!






i actually believe its not a bad thing this global warming... except it its making things colder in summer here in ireland
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrainer View Post
i a friend of mine whose views are a little more harsh than mine tried to convince me that america's time is up and other nations are gonna take the lead in this century.
Such as ?
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

china, india, maybe russia, some also say brazil is about to blossom.

*edit: oh, you're referring to that particular friend? he said china would take the lead.
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

Sooner or later it will happen.
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrainer View Post
china, india, maybe russia, some also say brazil is about to blossom.
I'd say that Russia poses the biggest threat to the United States due to the fact that most of their past failures had more to do with the system of government that was being employed, communism was counterproductive to their economic stability and growth, but Vladimir Putin has really brought forth change and it seems that his successor Medvedev is being kept under control, which leads one to believe that Putin is still pulling the strings behind the scenes.

I mean, we've all heard the horror stories of Russians starving while food was in plenitude, but simply not being distributed to the people, but Russian economists finally seem to have a voice, meaning capitalism (free market growth), which leads to more economic growth, also in terms of their military and weaponry they certainly are in a stronger position of command right now than the United States that has soldiers deployed throughout the middle east.

China could also pose a mild threat, but as for Brazil -- absolutely not. India will drown eventually, they can't possibly sustain their economic growth, what goes up must come down.

Brazil and India simply do not have what it takes to compete with the United States over an extended period of time, while China and Russia possess the necessary resources to do so.

In any case, I'm confident that the United States will rebound and return to the top of the totem pole -- the worst possible case scenario would be for the United States to drop to 2nd or 3rd, but considering that we are in a tennis forum, let's apply the case of Roger Federer's so-called "decline", yes, he is declining -- but is he going to suddenly drop to #19 or #20 which would be the equivalent of the United States dropping to #5 or #6 -- absolutely not, his best tennis is still better than most and the same can be said for the American economy -- it's still better than most, even when in debt, which to follow my storyline would be the equivalent of stating that even MonoFed is better than most.

Last edited by prima donna : 07-19-2008 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:28 AM   #11
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prima donna View Post
I'd say that Russia poses the biggest threat to the United States due to the fact that most of their past failures had more to do with the system of government that was being employed, communism was counterproductive to their economic stability and growth, but Vladimir Putin has really brought forth change and it seems that his successor Medvedev is being kept under control, which leads one to believe that Putin is still pulling the strings behind the scenes.

I mean, we've all heard the horror stories of Russians starving while food was in plenitude, but simply not being distributed to the people, but Russian economists have finally seem to have a voice, meaning capitalism (free market growth), which leads to more economic growth, also in terms of their military and weaponry they certainly are in a stronger position of command right now than the United States that has soldiers deployed throughout the middle east.

China could also pose a mild threat, but as for Brazil -- absolutely not. India will drown eventually, they can't possibly sustain their economic growth, what goes up must come down.

Brazil and India simply do not have what it takes to compete with the United States over an extended period of time, while China and Russia possess the necessary resources to do so.
that is pretty much..uhm...exactly my opinion. i'd swap china for russia though in terms of future strenth, simply because of the billion people living in china while russia is de facto shrinking. but russia works, no doubt. india and brazil will implode one day, you're completely right about that as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by primadonna
In any case, I'm confident that the United States will rebound and return to the top of the totem pole -- the worst possible case scenario would be for the United States to drop to 2nd or 3rd, but considering that we are in a tennis forum, let's apply the case of Roger Federer's so-called "decline", yes, he is declining -- but is he going to suddenly drop to #19 or #20 which would be the equivalent of the United States dropping to #5 or #6 -- absolutely not, his best tennis is still better than most and the same can be said for the American economy -- it's still better than most, even when in debt, which to follow my storyline would be the equivalent of stating that even MonoFed is better than most.
what about defaulting if things deteriorate during the current crisis? bear in mind, we're talking about sums of money i can't even imagine, and now that the actual warrantors are obviously going to get backed up by government officials, it's gonna be ruff to deal with the whole issue.

your scenario is the most likely if we're facing a "regular" recession. but the numbers we're seeing these days are just so out there that i'm really beginning to wonder how on earth the u.s. officials can come to terms with it.
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:54 AM   #12
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrainer View Post

your scenario is the most likely if we're facing a "regular" recession. but the numbers we're seeing these days are just so out there that i'm really beginning to wonder how on earth the u.s. officials can come to terms with it.
Well, this is the problem, the United States has always maintained its balance by having one system of government with two parties that helped to avoid one party having absolute power and becoming a hegemony -- the cycle has always been: Republican gets elected, pushes the economic advantages towards the right, which equates into the growth of small businesses, as well as the evolution of small businesses into major enterprises, then a Democrat would come along and push the economy back to the left, raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy for the betterment of the lower and middle-class, while investing more taxpayer dollars in education and social programs, with the difference between a good and a bad Democrat being that, a good Democrat (Bill Clinton) essentially recognizes that capitalism/corporate America is a necessary evil, a bad Democrat (Jimmy Carter) failing to comprehend this and feeling that the government could just tax these major corporations without penalizing the consumer, just further complicates the situation.

This has been the cycle for quite sometime, but the problem is the Bush Administration has spent more money than any Democratic president could ever have fathomed spending, the difference being that taxpayer money hasn't been spent domestically, but rather on maintaining military forces in Iraq and the like, this goes without mention of the tax cuts which don't expire until 2010 that only benefit a relatively small percentage of the wealthiest Americans (the logic here is that the wealthy will spend more money as consumers if they have more of it at their disposal, as opposed to merely investing it) so what we have here is a Republican president that taxes like a conservative, spends like a big government liberal all the while promoting ideals which are typically associated with the Republican party, i.e; military funding, national security, ecc. ecc.

I'm not going to delegate the blame exclusively to President Bush, but let's just say that at this point unemployment is growing, inflation is worsening by the day, people are getting killed at the pump and the foreclosure crisis is here -- a phenomenon from which even the wealthy haven't been exempt and businesses are failing because obviously people have no money to spend, it's an ultimatum between feeding your kids and having gas in your tank or going out for a steak and lobster dinner -- which would you choose ?

All of this leads up to my point which is essentially that neither big government nor small government is the answer, as you can't increase taxes (capital gains for example) because in this economic environment it'd be disastrous, but at the same time you can't extend tax cuts for the wealthy, because the fact of the matter is someone has to pay for this war and if we're going to rely on loans from other countries and average joes, then the situation will only worsen.

When Obama says, I'm going to get in office and tax the wealthy to the moon, that's irresponsible, but when McCain says that he's going to extend the tax cuts which he initially opposed, that's also irresponsible. It's really quite a dilemma and the next president is going to have to cut out the partisan nonsense and step on a few toes to improve the state of the American economy.

What we need, is someone that is an authentic centrist, we have to forget ideology -- meaning no crying about global warming and abortion and focus strictly on the economy, but this of course easier said than done, as voters focus much more on social issues than economic issues, yet at the same time it must be understood that our economy must be allowed to breathe; we cannot fix or set prices in a free market, we can only further enable our economy to succeed by cutting spending and balancing our budget -- if what you're anticipating is the word surplus being used within the next decade -- you're going to be very disappointed.

Last edited by prima donna : 07-19-2008 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:03 AM   #13
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrainer View Post
i'm bored and stuck at work all night and since i'm fascinated and disgusted by the u.s. at the same time (like many others), this thread came about. a friend of mine whose views are a little more harsh than mine tried to convince me that america's time is up and other nations are gonna take the lead in this century. now, usually i "counterattack" these kind of views because i think america still has a lot to offer, but these days i feel like i'm running out of arguments.
Interesting thread.

Quote:
- the public debt is bigger than any time in history and the bailout of fannie mae and freddie mac is gonna double (!) it. i'm afraid there are more bailouts to come.
Still not the largest in the world. That country we so love actually has slightly more as a percentage of GDP.
https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat.../2186rank.html
Actually Fannie and Freddie made nice recovories these last few days, along with the entire banking sector. But even if they didn't and they collapsed and the government didn't bail them out, I'd be OK with that and, in the lng run, so would the American economy. Unfortunately politicians only see short term but we'll see what happens.

Quote:
- the dollar is collapsing, and the national currency normally tells a lot about a nation's economic strength.
It's still the world currency. China and most middle-eastern countries still have their currencies pegged to the dollar and do all their deals in the US greenback. I also believe it will recover but I don't think it has a major effect on most US consumers. It's still a 90% self-sufficient economy.

Quote:
- the overextended military is just surreal.
True.

Quote:
- the fact that gated communities prosper everywhere around the nation isn't a good sign for society at all - and get this: close to 50% of all new-born buildings in california in 08 were in gated communites. goodbye society, welcome brazil.
Many Mexicans have barely lived in California for a few years. Give them time and their standard of living will improve.

Quote:
- inflation is high and will probably stay high for a long, long time to come, hurting especially the middle-class (and "lower").
It's not that high. 2,9% in 2007.

Quote:
- the eroding of the economic base due to stiff competition from china has left the country vulnerable; economically as vulnerable as europe.
This doesn't leave the country vulnerable at all. China has mostly taken the unskilled jobs. It doesn't have that negative an impact on America, especially the consumers that can get products much cheaper. Actually BMW and Volkswagen are moving some of their factories to America because of the cheaper labour due to the weak dollar.

Quote:
- the illegal immigration is even worse than in europe, and we've had our fair share of illegals over the last years
I've never seen this as a problem or negative issue. America was built on immigration and this will only boost the long-term strength of the economy.

Quote:
i could go on like this for quite some time. on the other hand: every crisis, no matter how big, has always cleaned out the system and the country emerged stronger than ever.
Indeed.

Quote:
so what say you? is america slowly going down or is the picture i just painted gonna be completely outdated in, let's say, five years' time, maybe 10 years? we all know china is going to be a major force in this century, the only question for me is: will it be the only one?
China will get stronger. But does this have to be a bad thing for America? I don't see why it should.
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrainer View Post
china, india, maybe russia, some also say brazil is about to blossom.

*edit: oh, you're referring to that particular friend? he said china would take the lead.
I do think China will slow down along with the rest of the world. They still rely too much on the American economy. Whether they eventually overtake America depends mostly on the politicians. They still haven't liberated several parts of the economy and there are many Chinese living inland that don't have the same freedoms as the city-dwellers on the coast.

It's much harder to tell how India will progress. This recent boom wasn't generated by political reform in the same way as China. Same goes for Brazil although I know almost nothing about politics in the region.

Russia has massive potential, and I just hope they finally find the long term political stability that they need. It's the only thing missing from a country that theoretically could be the richest in the world.
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:24 AM   #15
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Default Re: Is America a Nation in Decline?

I agree with most of what prima donna is saying.

For me the greatest long term threat to the American economy is their dependence on oil and natural gas. It will eventually run out and I fear that, more than any other country, they rely far too heavily on the one source of energy.
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