Is America Declining? Is the "American Empire" ending?

  • pelotudo87

    Posts: 225

    Aug 04, 2008 2:11 AM GMT
    Hey I had a conversation about this the other day and my friend and I discussed some interesting ideas. Wanted to see what you guys think.

    So despite what Bush says, as I'm sure almost all of the other Americans on this site know, things aren't goin' too well right now.

    Houses are loosing value, and from what some news commetators say, the housing bill will help Freddie and Fannie more than everday people. Gas prices are coming down, but still very high. Food prices are increasing. Real wages are actually lower than in the 1970's. The American dollar is losing value. For normal middle-class people, things are getting hard.

    And not to mention jobs outsourced overseas, just making it worse. And even though this thread isn't necessarily about the presidential campaign, but from my Independent viewpoint, doesn't seem like either of them really has an all-encompassing solution.

    I know my ideas are kind of scatter-brained, but given current circumstances along with the development of new economies (China, India, Brazil), it seems as if America's time as the only superpower may be coming to an end. Other empires have come and gone, sometimes with a military defeat, others with political strife.

    It seems to me as if America's may be ending, at least partially, because the elites are pursuing policies that benefit them and not the entire population. i was talking to one of my professors once, and she said that she predicts eventually America will become like a Latin American country with 2 classes: rich and poor. With outsourcing of jobs, loss of buying power, and foreign competition (I know that's a whole other thread too) that most of the middle class will fall into poverty.

    Is this America's fate? To become a 2-class society with most of it becoming poor, and then being bought up by international companies?
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    Aug 04, 2008 2:32 AM GMT
    America has been the only dominate world power since the late 80's when the USSR began dismantling their government and empire. In that time China, India, and Brazil experienced tremendous economic growth. The European Union has remade Europe into an economic powerhouse. Russia is an enormously influential regional power. So much has changed since America became the only game in town.

    But the US has a lot of things going for it relative to the world. So I wouldn't worry about being a second rate power anytime soon.
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    Aug 04, 2008 2:38 AM GMT
    We have been thru this before. In the 70s, we had gas lines cuz of the oil crisis.

    But the world is changing. And it isnt so much that America is going down, but the rest of the world is coming up....

    good book...

    post_american_world.jpg

    also...

    golitah.jpg
  • SkyMiles

    Posts: 963

    Aug 04, 2008 2:52 AM GMT
    Definitely. America's done like dinner. The future will belong to China, India and maybe the European Union.

    Oh, we'll still around. The USA will be that big drunk guy at the party that gets an idea in his head then starts punching people out. Other than that, the rest of the world has caught on to what a HUGE, violent, paranoid, self-righteous, xenophobic bunch of assholes we really are (collectively speaking) and figured out 'hey, we can get along just fine without them.'





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    Aug 04, 2008 3:00 AM GMT
    No, the US isn't done...the current state of the United States isn't the first time the US has been like this. Basically what has happened is that the US became stuck in sort of tunnel vision and didn't pay much attention to global trends until it was too late. The country was so stuck on being "The World's Superpower" that it didn't realize it was cutting its own legs from underneath.

    The people of the US are constantly breaking archaic paradigms and realizing that things done in the past can't be done in the future.

    It's just really hard right now because we are in the transitional phase where we need to realize what we need to do to regain our strength.

    So yes, the US is declining. Is it done for? Definitely not.
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    Aug 04, 2008 3:12 AM GMT
    I agree with Caslon, we are not on the way down, the world is on the way up. Remember China was riding bikes in the 70's now they have 300,000,000 people (under 1/3rd of the China population, but = to the US Population) who are middle class and they want to drive (hmmmm high oil prices). America will get off the oil economy in 20 years or so and we will be fine by then, but we have to compete with a better world. Will we have the haves and have nots? no recessions and depressions help even the playing field.
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    Aug 04, 2008 3:31 AM GMT
    Colbert_Nation saidDefinitely. America's done like dinner. The future will belong to China, India and maybe the European Union.

    Oh, we'll still around. The USA will be that big drunk guy at the party that gets an idea in his head then starts punching people out. Other than that, the rest of the world has caught on to what a HUGE, violent, paranoid, self-righteous, xenophobic bunch of assholes we really are (collectively speaking) and figured out 'hey, we can get along just fine without them.'


    Actually, China is going to have an interesting future. Only now is a middle class starting to develop. So far the ruling Communist Party has been playing it very wise allowing more and more freedom and liberty while retaining autocratic power. However, as the country approaches an avg. annual per capita income of about $6000, the middle class isnt going to tolerate being excluded from decision making. Democracy of some form will be undenyable. How the Communist Party will handle that as it is forced to relinquish power we will have to wait to see.

    It is also interesting to watch India and China develop together. Both have hundreds of millions of impoverished citizens. Yet one is an autocratic government and the other a democracy. Autocratic governments are much neater at getting things done. They can just order them. And if it is a wise autocratic government the rate of improvement in the people's standard of living can be much faster than in a democracy. Democracies are much messier. Any course of action or program can not just be ordered. There is politics involved in all decisions. The will of the people must be considered. And the people dont always decide wisely even for themselves. So it is possible, even probable, that China will improve much more rapidly than India. But what will happen when it has to make the transitions from autocracy to democracy? Will it be able to hold onto its gains? There are large areas of China that are not keen on remaining in China. The west is largely muslim. And of course there is Tibet.

    And looking at the European Union. They can not speak with one voice yet. Each country still has most of its independence. It is much harder to manage its policies as a unit, than it is with the US.

    And if the US is diminished in real way, who is going to pick up the pieces? This orderly world isnt running itself.

    Another good book...

    thefutureoffreedom.jpg
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    Aug 04, 2008 4:31 AM GMT
    There are so many things unquestioned here it's difficult to know where to begin. For example: did the American Hegemony you envisage ever exist in the way you thought it did?

    It's not possible to look at the present, or even the recent past, with the glass of history. I believe that we may have seen the zenith of american influence, but how exactly is one to tell?


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    Aug 04, 2008 4:39 AM GMT
    Actually, the current oil crisis may be a boon to America. It may push us to develop the alternative energy technologies that we need for the future. And countries like India and China that are developing on fossil fuels will be behind again.

    Also, the oil rich countries may be in a pickle when the oil runs out or isnt needed as much. Freedom and liberty doesnt flourish well in such countries. With so much wealth, the governments can "buy off" the citizens from demanding participation in the government. The gov't can afford to give much to the people and demand little in return. So the people go along. But someday that will end and such societies are going to come to a rude awaking with no experience and transition in institutions from autocracy to democracy. Then all hell will break out with them.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    Aug 04, 2008 4:53 AM GMT
    Have a little faith in the country you live in which is the greatest country on earth and why so many from the rest of the world want to live here. We're having some difficult times, but these things are cyclical, and it's not nearly as bad as the media would have us believe. Not that there aren't problems -- but when are there NOT problems? Lots of people are also doing quite well now too. The iPhone sells out, practically everyone has an iPod, "The Black Knight" is breaking all box-office records. We actually don't know how good we really have it because we are all spoiled here in the U.S.
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    Aug 04, 2008 5:02 AM GMT
    I've done a fair amount of traveling outside of the US, primarily to Europe and Latin/South America. Looking at the US from the outside really gives you a better perspective on things.

    One thing that I've been told several times is that the US citizens have a sense of national pride that really isn't found in a lot of other countries. Everywhere else, people are proud of their village/town/state/province. Yet, they don't have the same love and passion for their country as we do.

    That being said, it is very clear that the US is changing. A lot less middle class jobs are being created, and a lot more people are being forced into debt and working at retail level positions. Yet, at the same time, other countries look to the US for future direction in new technologies. In essence, we are becoming a Service driven country; either we serve other countries or we serve our own citizens.

    The US self-appointed itself as a superpower. Well, just like in Spiderman, with great powers comes great responsibilities. Take a look at how the government is handling its powers, and you make the decision.

    But as my Microeconomics professor once said, the system is self-adjusting. If left to it's own sources, the system will self-correct itself. You may not like the way it settles, but interference will only make the problem worse.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that while other nations are rising in power and influence, the US is waining. It is up to its citizens (not its leadership) to decide what's going to happen to the US. The struggle has only just begun.
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    Aug 04, 2008 5:11 AM GMT
    In away One hopes so. As since WWII, America has had less than a positive influence on the world.

    America may be a nice place to visit, but I would never want to live there! Yet it has been turning the Island I call home, Oz, into the 51st State of the USA, and I don't want to live in America!

    I love this Sun Burnt country, a land of sweeping planes, that is being polluted with American fast food out lets, and americanism. One can also buy oranges cheaper grown in Florida, than home growen ones. Something is truly wrong about that.

    It would be nice for America to go back to the way it was before WWII, and leave the rest of the world alone.

    America has not been good, or health for Americans, let alone the rest of the world!!
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    Aug 04, 2008 5:50 AM GMT
    America has seen darker days, but it has always found a way to reinvent itself. Why, we're the Madonna of the Western World, I tells ya. I think Fareed Zakaria is onto something, in so much as the third world is emergent while we remain relatively static. That may look like bad news for the US of A, but try looking at it from another perspective; isn't that exactly what we've wanted? Stable and prosperous nations foster trade and trend toward peace. Human rights improve, poverty diminishes and the world becomes a safer place in which to live. With change always comes opportunity, so don't count out American ingenuity just yet.

    Now, that's not to say that the likes of W couldn't drive this great country into despotic fascism, but we've got to really want the ideals this country has stood for more than the neo-cons want absolute power. Too many of us sit idly by observing (sometimes disturbing) world events, but feeling helpless to do anything about it. I heard, recently, that if you hate war, become pro-peace. If you hate poverty, become pro-prosperity. If you hate the downturn of the US, become pro-entrepreneurial. Or, said another way, don't dwell on the negative but work to build the positive.
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Aug 04, 2008 6:14 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidHave a little faith in the country you live in which is the greatest country on earth and why so many from the rest of the world want to live here. We're having some difficult times, but these things are cyclical, and it's not nearly as bad as the media would have us believe. Not that there aren't problems -- but when are there NOT problems? Lots of people are also doing quite well now too. The iPhone sells out, practically everyone has an iPod, "The Black Knight" is breaking all box-office records. We actually don't know how good we really have it because we are all spoiled here in the U.S.


    greatest country on earth? says who?
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    Aug 04, 2008 6:15 AM GMT
    Its had its day now lets all move on!
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    Aug 04, 2008 6:38 AM GMT
    Hunter9 said
    CuriousJockAZ saidHave a little faith in the country you live in which is the greatest country on earth and why so many from the rest of the world want to live here. We're having some difficult times, but these things are cyclical, and it's not nearly as bad as the media would have us believe. Not that there aren't problems -- but when are there NOT problems? Lots of people are also doing quite well now too. The iPhone sells out, practically everyone has an iPod, "The Black Knight" is breaking all box-office records. We actually don't know how good we really have it because we are all spoiled here in the U.S.


    greatest country on earth? says who?



    Says anyone who has pride in their country...why? If not the U.S., then who? The U.S. is the super power and we are a great country.
  • Salubrious

    Posts: 420

    Aug 04, 2008 6:48 AM GMT
    I think a lot of it is sensationalism... That economic adviser to McCain had it right (although saying something like that when you are an adviser is pretty dumb). People are sad about America, but something like 80% of the population are content with their lives. I think people just like to complain :p There was an article in the latest Economist about it; it's a good read.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Aug 04, 2008 10:14 AM GMT
    I think the jury's still out on whether America is going to fall from it's prominent place on the global stage
    Right now without question we're the dominant power militarily
    But we've slipped drastically on the diplomatic front and on the economic front to a lesser extent
    Diplomatically we have gone from a country others would look up to ... to one people now think lie cheat and steel to get anything we want
    we invade countries
    torture just as they do in China and in Central America
    and we don't talk to people who we have disagreements with
    and that's all the fault of one administration
    who we elect this year will tell if we continue on this course or try to repair the damage that's been done
    Economically, we sitting on a pot that's been brewing for 30 years
    the deregulatory madness that has taken over our political leadership and tha business community has come home to roost
    You cannot have a system where the gains are all privatized and the losses are all socialized
    Corporate welfare, shipping jobs overseas, tax shelters abroad to avoid paying your Fair Share of taxes
    have taken us from the top producer of goods to a top consuming country who now doesn't produce anything
    And now the rest of the world has stepped up to the plate and has begun to produce what the WORLD now wants
    and again... whether this climate changes will depend on who we vote for this November

    and I'm not even going to say who that is
    I'll let you figure it out
    It ain't that hard a question
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    Aug 04, 2008 10:46 AM GMT
    Pattison saidIn away One hopes so. As since WWII, America has had less than a positive influence on the world.

    Read: The Case for Goliath

    golitah.jpg


    America may be a nice place to visit, but I would never want to live there!

    Oh thank god!!! But if you ever visit the DC area, let me know and I will show you around, if you dont come across as goofy personally as you do on these threads.

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    Aug 04, 2008 10:51 AM GMT
    Caslon5000 said There are large areas of China that are not keen on remaining in China. The west is largely muslim. And of course there is Tibet.

    Speaking of which, this is in today's news:

    Attackers kill 16 police at Chinese border post

    BEIJING - Two men rammed a dump truck into a group of jogging policemen and then tossed explosives into their barracks Monday, killing 16 officers in a restive Chinese province bordering Central Asia, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

    The attack in Xinjiang province came just four days before the start of the Beijing Olympics — an event that has put security forces nationwide on alert and that at least one militant Muslim group has vowed to disrupt. Xinhua, citing local police, called it a "suspected terrorist attack."

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080804/ap_on_re_as/china_attack
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    Aug 04, 2008 10:56 AM GMT
    calscorpio said
    The US self-appointed itself as a superpower.

    The US didnt self-appoint itself as a superpower.
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    Aug 04, 2008 11:42 AM GMT
    Pattison saidIn away One hopes so. As since WWII, America has had less than a positive influence on the world.

    America may be a nice place to visit, but I would never want to live there! Yet it has been turning the Island I call home, Oz, into the 51st State of the USA, and I don't want to live in America!

    It would be nice for America to go back to the way it was before WWII, and leave the rest of the world alone.

    America has not been good, or health for Americans, let alone the rest of the world!!


    Though I am the first person to acknowledge the shortcomings of the United States, I had a visceral reaction to Pattions unsubstantiated comments. He knocks the US, but gives no real concrete and/or difinitive problems the US has caused the world.

    1 If you don't want American companies turning your beautiful OZ into the 51st state, don't blame America, blame your government for allowing it to happen.

    2 America was already part of the world before WWII. Teddy Roosevelt pushed us there after the Spanish American War.

    3 At the end of WWII, America single handily rescued Europe from economic and social collapse with the
    Marshall Plan.

    4 I'm not sure what his "health" comment refers to. The US is responsible for numerous advances in health, medicine, and vaccines. Yes, a lot of American's are overweight, and many of our cities and states are working to address that.

    5 Global statistics have shown that Americans give more to charities here and abroad then any other country in the world.

    6 There is a reason why so many developed and developing countries have modeled their system of government after ours. In the late 1700's, France basically copied our revolution and held one in their own country.

    As I said, America is far from perfect, but no country is, including your beloved Australia. That is the nature of politics and governments, especially when people are involved.

    I sleep well at night knowing my house won't be raided while my boyfriend is sodomizing me. icon_biggrin.gif I wanted to end on a cheerful note.
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    Aug 04, 2008 11:46 AM GMT
    Caslon5000 saidWe have been thru this before. In the 70s, we had gas lines cuz of the oil crisis.

    But the world is changing. And it isnt so much that America is going down, but the rest of the world is coming up....

    good book...

    post_american_world.jpg

    also...

    golitah.jpg
    I'd have to agree with Caslon. Hopefully its the last time I'll have to agree with that LOLcat SPAZ! icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 04, 2008 11:46 AM GMT
    urbanguy911 said
    Pattison saidIn away One hopes so. As since WWII, America has had less than a positive influence on the world.

    America may be a nice place to visit, but I would never want to live there! Yet it has been turning the Island I call home, Oz, into the 51st State of the USA, and I don't want to live in America!

    It would be nice for America to go back to the way it was before WWII, and leave the rest of the world alone.

    America has not been good, or health for Americans, let alone the rest of the world!!


    4 I'm not sure what his "health" comment refers to. The US is responsible for numerous advances in health, medicine, and vaccines. Yes, a lot of American's are overweight, and many of our cities and states are working to address that.

    Actually, Australia has officially become the fattest country in the world. Of course, Patti here blames it on the US. Like we forced the Aussies to eat all that stuff.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 04, 2008 12:16 PM GMT
    Well I only read a couple of the first couple of posters to respond, but I think our current economic issues are not really determinative of whether we are "declining", with the exception of our challenge to find a solution to the "Oil issue". There needs to be an alternative and while we have made such changes in the past, we must make that change.

    As some said above, we must accept other countries are "catching up" and may challenge us. They may overtake us. We have to accept the fact that this is a global economy and because of that, disparity with others is going to be more limited than in the "isolated days past" with various parts of the world.

    Decline, no. Did we help our cause over the last 8 years....absolutely not. Do we have a good vision with our direction? No. Challenges lay ahead and how we deal with those challenge will really spell the answer to this question.