Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Godwynn, Nov 5, 2007.
twenties (debateable), fifties, and nineties
The underlying belief necessary for that assumption to be true is that our current society is good and it's collapse and ultimate restructuring will ultimately be a bad thing.
I don't believe that to be true, therefore I believe collapse is in the cards within a few decades (perhaps sooner) and that ultimately this will be a good thing (perhaps even save our species).
Polls on human happiness, meaning and joy in living maybe? Perhaps you could measure the amount of alcohol and drug use (including dependence on prescription psychoactives) also.
Well, human happiness is not really measurable. Alcohol use would be much higher in the past (what else do you drink in the 18th century?) but perhaps you mean that we are less happy today because we consume less alcohol. Drug use really depends on how you define drugs. Alcohol and tobacco are drugs and were consumed much more commonly in the past. Harder drugs have always been used it is just that they have not always been illegal.
I can see this going either way.
On the upside, the multipolar world ahead (US-EU-India-China) holds great promise in terms of economic development. The US will specialize in innovation, as it has for the past two decades, and we are well-placed for the role. Despite the claims of some (I'm looking at you, Thomas Freidman), the world is not flat in terms of scientific and entrepeneurial output. America continues to put out high amounts of high-quality research per year. I don't see that stopping.
Further, with the development of India and China, we will likely see education levels rise as well. That will be a great boon for obvious reasons. The development of the Indian and Chinese university systems through 2050 will further increase the world's research potential.
But that's all economics. The world looks a bit bleaker from other angles. Africa is still a mess. The situation in the Middle East still has no end in sight. Development and growth have slowed in Latin America, and the East Asian crisis a decade ago shows just how fragile economic growth is. The development of financial institutions has been lagging relative to GDP and productivity gains in the devloping world. Without second-tier reforms in the financial and governance sectors, long-term prosperity may be compromised.
Further problems lurk in the background. Foreign investment is key in jump-starting a developing economy, but no one will invest if the governance isn't in place. Yet there is no incentive to modernize governance until the benefits of foreign investment are clear. Although I don't see that as a major issue in the long run, it may stifle some portions of the developing world in the near-long term. And there are still macro indicators to worry about--namely, global warming.
But on the balance, the economic prowess of the four Powers may be enough to sway the tide. Innovation from the United States, software and services from India, and hardware and manufacturing in China are likely to only expand over time. Under the stewardship of good leaders, central bankers, businessmen, and the billions that comprise the Free Market(TM), the world may pull out yet. It will certainly be an interesting ride.
It depends because Britain's golden age was surely Victorian era but more Britons now are enjoying better living standards than they were then or ever were.
You can't seriously answer this.
Re : Fugitive Sisyphus
Sure, people drink, smoke, take uppers & downers and kill each other less than in the miserable early days of industrialization but probably more than ten, twenty years ago. Also, now that drinker and smoking are not fashionable, many people choose overeating and the preferred slow suicide of choice.
America's Best Days does not mean sole hegemony... the best days of the american are yet to come and when the whole world is doing well, the USA will do well.
The Civil War. 'Taint a good day till you can kill your brother in line-em-up, shoot-em-down warfare. or rednecks.
The 20's or the early 50's, for white people at least. Late 60's if you were a young adult.
Ahead; the best days are those when quality of life is high.
The future holds cheap energy, greater knowledge, and vastly improved medical capabilities, if people will only seek to better themselves.
There are exceptions to every rule. You are this ones.
Obviously, if civilization collapses, there was something very fundamentally wrong with our society that needed to be fixed, and which needed a collapse in order to accomplish a fix, and hopefully, as you said, we will be better off in the long term.
But have you considered other possibilities?
First, even if something is very very fundamentally wrong with society, civilization will not collapse. Even if a protracted depression is necessary for society to restructure itself, say another decade long great depression, society will survive and we won't be that bad off.
Second, as f**ked up as the world and society is and seems to be, have you ever stopped to think its probably the least f**ked up it has ever been? Think about what was acceptable in the year 1907.
I would say that, since I believe the world will continue to prosper and that wealth will become more equally spaced between nations, that the best time of all nations lies ahead if you look only on that specific nation's timeline. But in comparison I believe the west will go down, as it can't grow as quick as the rest of the world, although it will still increase in relation to what it is in it self now. I believe the monopolarity of wealth is currently at it's peak toward the US, and soon (<50 years) the multipolatity of growth will create a multipolarity of wealth too.
I don't really understand the logic of this argument. How does people bettering themselves automatically create a cheap new source of energy? Much of the destruction in the world (global warming for one) was based on good intentions (bettering ourselves). The future is not certain (though I do agree we should try better ourselves).
IMO, what we're facing now is not like anything else that's come before. It won't be like the great depression, or even the collapse of the Roman Empire. We've reached global limits and the collapse will be worldwide. In 100 years from now those alive will hold vastly different values than people today and the societies of those times will be vastly different. I don't think it will be the types of differences many people imagine though (George Jetson type of world).
I have. We've come a long way in many ways in the last couple hundred years in terms of human rights, medical knowledge, technology, human communications, understand the universe, the natural world, the human mind. However, our way of life is unsustainable, it's only been made possible by the discovery of fossil fuels. Our lifestyles in the face of this are akin to that of a poor man who's won the lottery and, while temporarily undeniably better off, ultimately has no idea how to handle his newfound wealth and in the end, not only spends it all but goes into massive debt to boot.
While I admire many things about indigenous cultures, I'm not a neo-primitive. The agricultural and industrial revolution have given us much intellectually and materially but many people's lives are quite unhappy emotionally. Not to mention we've wrecked havoc on the natural world, to the point where a new ecological "age" is inevitable (since such ages are usually marked by mass-extinction and climate change, such as the one I'm too lazy to look up the name of that killed all the dinos).
I can only speak for myself but I feel that my own maladjustedness as well as many other people's are not thru fault of their own but simply because they are living in a society that is not built to suit the social, emotional and... for lack of a better world spiritual (what I really mean is connection to nature and felt sense of the interconnectedness of all things). In the first world, we have near conquered many of the ills civilization has been gnawing on for years (hunger, inequality of the sexes, unemployment, material hardship among the masses, even many of the early industrial age's issues of hard, long labor and horrible air quality) and yet happiness remains elusive.
This internet forum is a good example of the blessing and a curse of modern civilization. Obviously, living a simpler lifestyle I would not have the honor to be speaking to all of you (posters as well as lurkers) but then again, this type of communication is a shallow replacement for real life, face to face contact. Because I've moved around so much, I have few close local friends and use internet forums as somewhat of an outlet.
Anyway, I could go on and on and if I was feeling more lucid, I would. I will close by saying, I believe in progress. And I hope that much of the accumulated wisdom of the ages can be preserved while many of it's fatal flaws can be discarded.
No you're not. Not If Bush's programs on education continue.
That's all true.
(Except maybe for the overestimation of the political usefulness of nuclear ICBMs.)
The potential for "right this moment, the USA can essentially do anything it wants" is there. And what is the US doing? Mostly it seems to be hurting its own interests to get out of this favourable position asap?
The world Eisenhower had to deal with might on the face of it have stacked the cards less in US favour, but it was a simpler, more clear-cut situation in many ways. And even those who oppose the US, on principle or in practice, would have to admit that in the 1950's the US did great at benefitting from the advantages the situation provided it with.
The present situation, with GWB as president, is more marked by a sense of needlessly p!issed away opportunities, of not having been able to capitalise on initial advantages, and of having made an already complex international political situation even more complicated for the US. Present concerns is palpably to try to salvage as much as possible, which the US shouldn't have been forced to do at all.
The whole question if the US is going up or down in the future is really just a finger on the pulse of how the US is doing at the moment anyway.
There is no question that there is no other nation in the world at present which would be nearly as capable of taking the lead for other nations as the US. But then it has to figure out where to go and on what conditions others would follow it, beyond trying to just tell them to.
To premept some known issues:
There are those who think the US at present has taken out a fine course for the future, meaning the failure to get others to go along with it is a failing on the part of everyone else. If so, then everything should obviously be fine. Except that the world despite the US good sense is not really moving in the desired direction, which still reflects back on the US, if it actually has the ambition to again be "the leader of the free world".
New Orleans got f***ed up so the best days of the USA are over, everything can be rebuilded, everything can grow, but me as foreigner can only hope i'll one day once feel and taste the atmosphere there...
not true of course but,
the future will be better tomorrow..
As great as the 90's were (from my standpoint, both personally and for the United States as a whole), the best of times are yet to come, if only we want it that way!
So you believe America = Prosperity of Human Civilization?
well the world is gonna end in December 2012 so maybe our best days are gone
Long gone, at least from the geopolitical point of view. America was strongest right after the WW2 - it dominated the world economy, it was the strongest country militarily, it had a nuclear monopoly, its GDP was rapidly growing.
Since then, its relative position in the World is worsening.
Separate names with a comma.