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Author Topic:   Decline And Fall Of The American Empire
Phat
Member
Posts: 10053
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 1 of 170 (818558)
08-30-2017 10:55 AM


This morning, after reading about the likely economic impact of the Houston tropical storm and watching our country make a stupid decision to continue to commit to outlandish spending(in Afghanistan) even as our debts inch ever higher, I read a couple of dated articles both with the same title.

The first one, found in The Nation was written in 2010, right after the economic crises of 2007.

quote:
A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

We have recovered from that crises just barely, and are likely close to another one, in my opinion. Despite bringing up the problem of the demise of the US dollar as global reserve currency, nobody here took me seriously, but the article mentions that as a potential chink in our national armor. I don't fully understand the concept, but can intuitively fathom the implications.

The second article I read, with the same title as this thread, was published in The Guardian in 2011.

quote:
America in 2011 is Rome in 200AD or Britain on the eve of the first world war: an empire at the zenith of its power but with cracks beginning to show.

The experience of both Rome and Britain suggests that it is hard to stop the rot once it has set in, so here are the a few of the warning signs of trouble ahead: military overstretch, a widening gulf between rich and poor, a hollowed-out economy, citizens using debt to live beyond their means, and once-effective policies no longer working.


The first article warns that once an empire loses its position it is psychologically devasting for the populace. Donald Trumps egotistical run seemingly marks our last gasp at the illusion of something we thought we were or should be but clearly are not.

As I head towards retirement, I wonder how tough it will get. I can't really count on anything except God and my fellow citizens. There seem to be no more promises. Comments?

Edited by Phat, : spelling


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
"as long as chance rules, God is an anachronism."~Arthur Koestler

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Stile, posted 08-30-2017 11:12 AM Phat has responded
 Message 3 by Taq, posted 08-30-2017 11:19 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 8 by ringo, posted 08-30-2017 3:26 PM Phat has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3036
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


(4)
Message 2 of 170 (818565)
08-30-2017 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
08-30-2017 10:55 AM


Decline and Fall... of what?
I'd take a look at some of the details and see what's important to you.

What is so great about the American Empire?

It's vast military spread over the globe? - This still exists, is this what makes it still an empire?

People looking to America for leadership? - This left a long time ago. The US is not "the leader" of any other country. The US has only been seen as "a leader" as much as any of the other G7 (and more) countries around the world for the last 30+ years now. Currently, the US is seen as much less a leader than most countries.

Living in freedom and happiness? - I can't remember the last time polls of "the greatest countries to live in" had America near the top.
But, does this even matter to being an Empire?

When was the last time France, Spain, England, Finland or Canada or pretty much any decent country was "an Empire?"
They seem to be pretty free and happy places to live.
Why can't America be a free and happy place to live without worrying so much about being "an Empire?"

Being "an Empire" seems entirely overrated, I don't see why anyone would even want to be in one.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Phat, posted 08-30-2017 10:55 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Phat, posted 08-30-2017 11:54 AM Stile has responded
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Taq
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Posts: 7263
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.2


(2)
Message 3 of 170 (818566)
08-30-2017 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
08-30-2017 10:55 AM


Phat writes:

This morning, after reading about the likely economic impact of the Houston tropical storm and watching our country make a stupid decision to continue to commit to outlandish spending, even as our debts inch ever higher, I read a couple of dated articles both with the same title.

Our ratio of public debt to GDP is in line with other 1st world countries.

https://en.wikipedia.org/...List_of_countries_by_public_debt

The second article i read, with the same title as this thread, was published in The Guardian in 2011.

The UK seems to be doing pretty well right now.

As I head towards retirement, I wonder how tough it will get. I cant really count on anything except God and my fellow citizens. There seem to be no more promises. Comments?

I wouldn't worry too much. In fact, if other economies in other countries improves this can only help America since we would have new customers for exports. As China's economy improves their labor costs will also increase, bringing them to closer parity with the US. Just look at California. If it were a nation unto itself it would have the world's 5th largest economy.

The nations that really collapse are too dependent on a single export, such as the economic collapse in Venezuela due to falling oil prices. Given the diversity of the American economy, I think we can weather most storms.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Phat, posted 08-30-2017 10:55 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10053
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 4 of 170 (818567)
08-30-2017 11:54 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Stile
08-30-2017 11:12 AM


Decline and Rising Costs Of Living
I agree with you. I don't think it is important, as long as costs don't increase too dramatically. The evidence seems to show otherwise. In addition, the first article that I read, written in 2011, predicted the basic situation we now have.
quote:
Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.

Sound like whats going on now?

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
"as long as chance rules, God is an anachronism."~Arthur Koestler

This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Stile, posted 08-30-2017 11:12 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Stile, posted 08-30-2017 12:22 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3036
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


(4)
Message 5 of 170 (818569)
08-30-2017 12:22 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Phat
08-30-2017 11:54 AM


Re: Decline and Rising Costs Of Living
Phat writes:

Sound like whats going on now?

Yeah.

Sounds like what happened during the last presidency, too though. "The world pays next to no attention..."
It's just that the last guy understood that a bunch of 'thundering rhetoric' isn't for serious country-to-country communication.

I don't think it is important, as long as costs don't increase too dramatically

Oh, I think you have reason to worry about your costs of living increasing.
Just as I do.
And just as people in France, Spain, Germany, Japan... also do.

I just don't think such worrying is connected in any way with the US being "an Empire" or not.

If you're worried about your costs of living. I think focusing on the falling of whatever-Empire-you-consider-the-US-to-still-be is unhelpful. Instead, you should focus on those things that affect your costs of living. Like electing leaders that show support for things like increasing rich-taxes, decreasing poor-taxes, building infrastructure, moving towards some sort of universal heath care system...

All those things seem to be do-able, or fail-able regardless of how well your military is doing or whether or not other countries are listening to you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Phat, posted 08-30-2017 11:54 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

    
Diomedes
Member
Posts: 668
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 6 of 170 (818572)
08-30-2017 3:06 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Stile
08-30-2017 11:12 AM


Re: Decline and Fall... of what?
When was the last time France, Spain, England, Finland or Canada or pretty much any decent country was "an Empire?"
They seem to be pretty free and happy places to live.
Why can't America be a free and happy place to live without worrying so much about being "an Empire?"

Being "an Empire" seems entirely overrated, I don't see why anyone would even want to be in one.

quote:
Empire
Definition: an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority, formerly especially an emperor or empress.

Going by the strict definition, the USA has never been an empire. In fact, it was founded as part of a revolution against an existing empire. Namely, the British Empire.

The USA is a powerful country and we'd all be lying if we said it didn't flex its muscle from time to time to get what it wants. But that is a far cry from conquering and subjugating other states/countries. Not to mention we have a democracy which means there isn't any Emperor or Empress running things. Although Trump may disagree.

Incidentally, even when empires 'fall', it doesn't necessarily mean they wink out of existence. The Roman empire fell. Yet Italy still exists. The Macedonian Empire under Alexander the Great fell. Yet Greece still exists. Britain, Spain, France, Turkey, Mongolian. All had empires. Yet all the core countries are still intact and for the most part, are still prosperous.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 7263
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 7 of 170 (818573)
08-30-2017 3:13 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Diomedes
08-30-2017 3:06 PM


Re: Decline and Fall... of what?
Diomedes writes:

Incidentally, even when empires 'fall', it doesn't necessarily mean they wink out of existence. The Roman empire fell. Yet Italy still exists. The Macedonian Empire under Alexander the Great fell. Yet Greece still exists. Britain, Spain, France, Turkey, Mongolian. All had empires. Yet all the core countries are still intact and for the most part, are still prosperous.

There is a bit of modern Western bias when it comes to empires "falling". The period after the sacking of Rome around 400 CE saw a major decline in what we consider to be important, such as grand infrastructure, art, literature, government, and so on. The period after the fall of Rome was called the Dark Ages, after all. It could be said that we judge a culture and a time period by what they build.


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 Message 6 by Diomedes, posted 08-30-2017 3:06 PM Diomedes has responded

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ringo
Member
Posts: 13874
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


(1)
Message 8 of 170 (818574)
08-30-2017 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
08-30-2017 10:55 AM


quote:
If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century....

The American "Century" ended in 1963.

Edited by ringo, : fixed quote.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Phat, posted 08-30-2017 10:55 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Phat, posted 08-30-2017 4:48 PM ringo has responded

  
Diomedes
Member
Posts: 668
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 9 of 170 (818575)
08-30-2017 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Taq
08-30-2017 3:13 PM


Re: Decline and Fall... of what?
There is a bit of modern Western bias when it comes to empires "falling". The period after the sacking of Rome around 400 CE saw a major decline in what we consider to be important, such as grand infrastructure, art, literature, government, and so on. The period after the fall of Rome was called the Dark Ages, after all. It could be said that we judge a culture and a time period by what they build.

True. An empire 'falling' can lead to a decreased standard of living. But it rarely actually results in a complete collapse.

There are exceptions. The Aztec and Mayan empires seemed to have had severe collapses associated with them. The former was the result of the Spanish conquest but the latter occurred on its own and is still somewhat disputed with regards to the cause. Although my guess is if your TGIF involves cutting out people's hearts and kicking their severed heads down your pyramid steps, that will likely not bode well for your long term future.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 10053
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 10 of 170 (818578)
08-30-2017 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by ringo
08-30-2017 3:26 PM


Bye Bye Global Reserve Currency
The American "Century" ended in 1963.
That is too early according to most analysts. They peg 2003--the year the gulf war started---as the final nail in the coffin. We wiped out trillions of dollars and continue to do so.

This is, to me, what the Fall really means. No secure retirement. No social programs for an aging population who no longer contributes to the tax base. A growing population getting older, mind you.

The main issue, as I have tried to explain before, is that once the US Dollar is no longer the global reserve currency, we can no longer print money to pay our debts and prices on oil imports will rise exponentially.

The US has long enjoyed an artificially constructed advantage which will soon be totally gone. With an aging, uneducated population, we will be ravaged economically.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
"as long as chance rules, God is an anachronism."~Arthur Koestler

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by ringo, posted 08-30-2017 3:26 PM ringo has responded

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 Message 11 by ringo, posted 08-30-2017 4:55 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 12 by Taq, posted 08-30-2017 6:19 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 28 by nwr, posted 08-31-2017 8:32 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 13874
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 11 of 170 (818579)
08-30-2017 4:55 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Phat
08-30-2017 4:48 PM


Re: Bye Bye Global Reserve Currency
Phat writes:

The main issue, as I have tried to explain before, is that once the US Dollar is no longer the global reserve currency, we can no longer print money to pay our debts and prices on oil imports will rise exponentially.


I live in an oil-exporting province - so good. Import our oil.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Phat, posted 08-30-2017 4:48 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 7263
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 12 of 170 (818587)
08-30-2017 6:19 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Phat
08-30-2017 4:48 PM


Re: Bye Bye Global Reserve Currency
Phat writes:

That is too early according to most analysts. They peg 2003--the year the gulf war started---as the final nail in the coffin. We wiped out trillions of dollars and continue to do so.

WW II cost 4 trillion in current dollars and what followed was a very prosperous era. The current conflicts are totaling about 1 trillion, so WW II cost 4 times as much and we prospered.

This is, to me, what the Fall really means. No secure retirement. No social programs for an aging population who no longer contributes to the tax base. A growing population getting older, mind you.

Due in part to immigration, the US is going to feel much less pain when the baby boomers hit retirement age compared to other countries. If memory serves, Japan has population demographics that are really upside down.

From what I have seen, Social Security will continue to be solvent in the future since no politician will allow it to go away.

The main issue, as I have tried to explain before, is that once the US Dollar is no longer the global reserve currency, we can no longer print money to pay our debts and prices on oil imports will rise exponentially.

Every other country in the world seems to be doing just fine.


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jar
Member
Posts: 29612
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 13 of 170 (818590)
08-30-2017 6:53 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Taq
08-30-2017 6:19 PM


Re: Bye Bye Global Reserve Currency
Taq writes:

Every other country in the world seems to be doing just fine.

Perhaps the ones doing well are civilized?


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios     My Website: My Website

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Porosity
Member
Posts: 155
From: MT, USA
Joined: 06-15-2013


(2)
Message 14 of 170 (818592)
08-30-2017 9:47 PM


America has become a world of make believe, stuck between rational and irrational, caught up in conspiracy theories, superstitions and feelings.
The objective taking a backseat to the subjective, believing that emotional feelings and opinions are as valid as facts. Allowing division to wash away our common ground of liberty while the theocrats and demagogues loot the coffers of our children's future.


    
Diomedes
Member
Posts: 668
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 15 of 170 (818615)
08-31-2017 9:23 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Taq
08-30-2017 6:19 PM


Re: Bye Bye Global Reserve Currency
From what I have seen, Social Security will continue to be solvent in the future since no politician will allow it to go away.

Social Security will be 'solvent' per se. However, the system will not be able to pay expected benefits downstream due to the large number of boomers who will draw down on the current surplus.

As a Gen Xer, I've been told that when I am at the age of retirement, I will likely be getting 75-80% of what my expected benefits were supposed to be. This stems from the fact that social security is paid to the previous generation by the current generation. Being that population demographics will shift towards being older as the boomers retire, that will mean insufficient income from taxes to compensate for the larger number of retired people.

To note, I have always planned my retirement under the notion that I will not have any social security. That is a worst case scenario. But as an engineer, I've always believed in the old adage that it is better to hope for the best but plan for the worst.

This brief article from CNN talks about this a little:

http://money.cnn.com/...Security_basics.moneymag/index18.htm


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 Message 12 by Taq, posted 08-30-2017 6:19 PM Taq has responded

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