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Not in decline? Please.

As you we bump down the highway we watch for potholes approaching the main bridge that hasn’t been inspected in more than twenty years. Crossing it we turn towards downtown but what we see looks more like a war zone!

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that this was all new once, now it needs to be maintained or replaced.

It’s hard to believe that once upon a time a husband worked and a wife stayed home to raise the kids.

"What's good for General Motors is good for the country." they used to say. Today it is what’s good for Israel, Oil and Multinational Corporations that counts.

There has been a huge decline in America.

Let Gary know that we haven’t received the bill yet for the Afghan and Iraq wars; it’s just beginning to arrive in the form of inflation.

Howard, it might be more accurate to say your little part of America might be in decline. As I drive up a new freeway build 5 years ago onto an overpass built 4 years ago seeing new construction all around I think it's unlikely America is in decline.

It’s not my little part of America that is in decline, I live on a lake in Orange County, California. Like you, I can just close my eyes and the problems vanish.

Take a look at America’s infrastructure. The average age of our bridges is 45 and the average expected life span is 50! It’s time to replace them; do you see the work being performed?


Multinational corporations have exported American jobs and now husband and wife have to work to offset the loss in standard of living.

America is not who she once was.

Of course America is in decline. It has been ever since the 1950s.

At the end of World War II, the United States emerged as the sole survivor - militarily strong and economically unravaged by the war. We were, simply, the only game in town.

Ever since that point, our power, wealth, and influence relative to all the other nations in the world has been in constant decline. Inevitably, as they grow richer they grow stronger - and less and less reliant on the US. This has the long term effect of diminishing American hegemony.

The EU, Japan, China, Russia are all slowly closing the gap on the US and are increasingly finding they have the means to prevent the US from dictating terms.

In the United States, all appears well under a veneer of consumer prosperity (except for recently). That the US could ever be anything other than number one is unthinkable.

But it's all very fragile. We simply don't have the free reign in world affairs we used to, and competing powers truly are undermining our world dominance.

This is inevitable if you want to create a more prosperous world - eventually it has no further need of you.

If you look at most measures of material well-being, Americans are better off than ever. They live longer, live in bigger houses, eat more and better food, drive more and nicer cars, use things like cell phones and the internet that weren't even around 20 years ago, are less likely to be killed in accidents, etc. etc.

I can't help but think that people like Howard lack gratitude. We should be thanking God that we live in such a prosperous society.

Depends upon what you mean by decline. While the success of other nations (What Neweek writer Fareed Zakaria calls the "Rise of the Rest" of us http://www.newsweek.com/id/135380 ) may indeed lift all boats there is another kind of decline which should worry Mormons.

This weekend in my reading of the book of Mormon I read Mormon's commentary on the fate of the inhabitants of this land. In this regard we are undoubtedly in decline. Especially here in California.
" And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.

Hmmm. Certainly wickedness abounds in California, and in most other places in the world.

But crime is way down over the last couple of decades. Out of wedlock births are down too. So not all trends are bad on that front.

Looking longer term, we got rid of slavery, which is about as wicked a thing as I can imagine. Cruel entertainments like dog-fighting have mostly gone away as well. I was reading an edition of Grimm's fairly tales a couple of weeks ago...nearly every one is filled with shocking cruelty and violence. The world that produced these as stories for children must have been unfortunate indeed.

My point Howard was that unless one develops some general measurement and applies it objectively it's kind of an impossible to answer question. So Americans put more money into their homes rather than bridges the last 50 years. Is that evidence of decline or simply different priorities? What is decline?

Anyone read Niall Ferguson's book on the subject of American empire?

I've not read it although I've read some criticisms of it.

It seems the big problem with the idea of Empire is that everyone is growing. But that's a good thing. I get forever frustrated at people complaining about the US losing it's dominance in science and engineering for instance. Don't we want more people to do science? Don't we want 3rd world nations to become developed? Reducing the inequity between countries is a good thing.

That means we should (IMO) drop the silly relative measures and look at absolute performance. There are some places we suck. (General scholastics, for instance.) However there's still a glut of trained professionals in most disciplines. Yes, infrastructure has in many places (but hardly all) been neglected. And some states that once dominated, like California, have found their place falling. (Often due to local politics - would you move to California to open a business?)

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