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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

THE DECLINE AND REBIRTH OF AMERICA

To get the parameters straight for this discussion, doomsday, as indicated yesterday, is not the end of the world.  It will mostly be a century or so long economic depression, unless successfully remediated by quick action now.  Otherwise, the decline could well be forever.

Let me today focus more on the nation at large, for we are, indeed, a basket case.  Here is a particularly jolting article by Gus Speth in:

His talking points:


To our great shame, among the 20 major advanced countries America now has

  • the highest poverty rate, both generally and for children;
  • the greatest inequality of incomes;
  • the lowest government spending as a percentage of GDP on social programs for the disadvantaged;
  • the lowest number of paid holiday, annual, and maternity leaves;
  • the lowest score on the United Nations’ index of “material well-being of children”;
  • the worst score on the United Nations’ gender inequality index;
  • the lowest social mobility;
  • the highest public and private expenditure on health care as a portion of GDP,
yet accompanied by the highest
  • infant mortality rate;
  • prevalence of mental health problems;
  • obesity rate;
  • portion of people going without health care due to cost;
  • low-birth-weight children per capita (except for Japan);
  • consumption of antidepressants per capita;
along with the shortest life expectancy at birth (except for Denmark and Portugal);
  • the highest carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption per capita;
  • the lowest score on the World Economic Forum’s environmental performance index (except for Belgium), and the largest ecological footprint per capita (except for Belgium and Denmark);
  • the highest rate of failing to ratify international agreements;
  • the lowest spending on international development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of GDP;
  • the highest military spending as a portion of GDP;
  • the largest international arms sales;
  • the most negative balance of payments (except New Zealand, Spain, and Portugal);
  • the lowest scores for student performance in math (except for Portugal and Italy) (and far from the top in both science and reading);
  • the highest high school dropout rate (except for Spain);
  • the highest homicide rate;
  • and the largest prison population per capita.

You can gain details by reading his "American Prospect".  Feel free to comment at the end of his article, or below.  I cannot counter his points because I have cited these same statistics in my three books.  Yet, in agreement, I feel optimistic about the future of our country, relative to the world.  I believe, he too, feels the same, for, if you did not click on this presentation, he did end with:

Amid ongoing decline, Americans must now summon the hope and courage to dream up something new and better and to fight for it. It has been said that the genius of America is to turn crisis into opportunity. Let us now dream a new America, the country we want for our grandchildren.

We seem to have the same purpose.  Giving up is not an option, but we just got to do something about it.  Now!

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