27 May 2008

La fin d'une ère

Great economic supremacies, like the one the United States has enjoyed since World War II, don’t last forever. On the contrary, they are rather finite.

There are already a lot of reasons – from ballooning debt to inadequate energy resources – to think that our country is losing its old international edge and that the proof for the average American household will be even more apparent a decade from now.

That being said however, blue skies shall return by 2050 or so as we (the United States) assume a new, albeit lesser, role in the world at large.

Translation: those of us who have always felt America (we) should solve their (our) own problems before playing world police may finally get their (our) wish. And how does that famous adage go? Be careful what you wish for? Shit. I forgot about that one.

Over the next twenty years our cars and our homes will get smaller thanks to ever increasing energy costs. Our Social Security benefits will also continue shitting the bed due to our government’s inability to fully fund the benefit programs. People may very well be living longer thanks to ‘better living through chemistry’ but they won’t be able to do very much after they “retire”. “Retiring” itself may even become a thing of the past.

Unlike in the past when our country’s prosperity was broad-based because it was built on manufacturing (read: making stuff) the new “virtual” economy is based on “finance”. And what is “finance”? Paper, credit, debt, balloons, speculation, etc. A bunch of bullshit, really. (See: sub-prime mortgage meltdown / credit & loan crisis)

With a giant mess to clean up here imperial hubris will be set aside and military forces scattered across the globe to maintain yesterday’s pride and pretenses will dissolve. Debt burdens will be cut back as more attention will be paid to national and local problems.

Other world economic power houses, after painful periods of sobering readjustment, are now more prosperous than ever before (Holland, Great Britain). And so for those of us who’ve always been a bit allergic to the idea of an empire, our children may be quite busy in their lifetime rebuilding the country into a socially, politically and economically sound republic.

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