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There was a huge period in the 1970s and 1980s where the discussion was fading America ... that the Japanese were going to take over everything ... Dark Pessimism, fading optimism has occurred before. Not stating that this is simply a fad, or that it reverses (necessarily), but pointing out this is not a new (even in relatively recent history) phenomena.

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by a siegel (siegeadATgmailIGNORETHISdotPLEASEcom) on Mon Oct 15th, 2007 at 12:08:52 PM EST
True, but I think it is different now than it was in the 70s.

I think it is much deeper now than then, because we didn't 'know' about global warming then and had not yet reached peak oil. America still saw it was an effective deterrent to the Soviets nukes — the perceived leading threat of the time. And, the country still had a manufacturing base and jobs for the middle class.

Japan is a much smaller country than China and has a declining birth rate. Plus China is not only a competitor economically, but also a direct rival in terms of power, both soft and hard.

You're absolutely right that the U.S. has in living memory been through this sort of dark pessimism before, the difference now is, I think, that this time a majority of Americans suspect the old cure-alls that Reagan and the other snake oil peddlers come around selling won't work. And, while though many will buy what they have for sale - 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 - it is out of habit rather than hope.

by Magnifico on Mon Oct 15th, 2007 at 12:31:47 PM EST
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All of the world's middle class is more cynical than not. This article pretty much outlines the feelings of everyone on this site about the world in general, for example.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Oct 15th, 2007 at 01:02:47 PM EST
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i think that america is well disposed to be the perfect crucible for the kind of mass change we need...not because of anything to do with superpower status, but simply because the communication tech is so good, they mostly speak the same language, and there is so much talent and creativity that is being suppressed and wasted in the colossal balls-up that it has become.

how to get to there from here is the challenge...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Oct 15th, 2007 at 01:10:47 PM EST
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I think you are absolutely right, Melo, and well put.

When the US people are pulling together towards a common purpose they are capable of virtually anything, I believe.

At the moment it is a malign purpose - the pursuit of profit - that is pulling the US apart.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Oct 16th, 2007 at 01:16:19 PM EST
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