Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Decline of America

‘There has been:

1. a gradual weakening of civil liberties,

2. an increase in the power of the army,

3. and an acceptance of corruption among public servants.

4. Vast fortunes have been made by a small group who use their wealth to control the Senate.’

That was written, in Roman times, about the Roman Empire.

The Economist, 24 July 2008, has an article, entitled: Unhappy America, which tells us:

1. Eight out of ten Americans think their country is heading in the wrong direction.

2. American house prices are falling faster than during the Depression.

3. Petrol is more expensive than in the 1970s.

4. Banks are collapsing.

5. Belgians have just bought Budweiser, 'America’s beer'.

6. Between 2002 and 2006 the incomes of 99% of Americans rose by an average of 1% a year in real terms.

The incomes of those of the top 1% rose by 11% a year.

Three-quarters of the economic gains during Mr Bush’s presidency went to that top 1%.

Warren Cup. Silver, Roman artwork, middle of the 1st century AD. © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

7. The rich appear to avoid taxes and ship jobs to Mexico.

8. American children do worse at reading than Polish ones and at maths than Lithuanians.

9. Afghanistan appears to be being lost.

10. America is involved with Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib and the flouting of the Geneva Conventions.

11. Russia, the Gulf Arabs and the rising powers of Asia scoff openly at the Washington consensus.

12. There is a book called 'The Post-American World' by Fareed Zakaria.

"The world's tallest building is in Taipei, and will soon be in Dubai. Its largest publicly traded company is in Beijing. Its biggest refinery is being constructed in India. Its largest passenger airplane is built in Europe.

"The largest investment fund on the planet is in Abu Dhabi; the biggest movie industry is Bollywood, not Hollywood. Once quintessentially American icons have been usurped by the natives. The largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore. The largest casino is in Macao, which overtook Las Vegas in gambling revenues last year.

"America no longer dominates even its favorite sport, shopping. The Mall of America in Minnesota once boasted that it was the largest shopping mall in the world. Today it wouldn't make the top ten. In the most recent rankings, only two of the world's ten richest people are American." - By Fareed Zakaria in NEWSWEEK, May 12, 2008. (Excerpt: Zakaria’s ‘The Post-American World’ Newsweek ... )


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