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The Future of America Post 911

Updated on April 7, 2016
Mark Caruthers profile image

BA University of Arkansas Fayetteville Geography & History

The New Age after 911

The American Century has ended, the Great Recession, the Arab Spring and the

European Crisis are examples how global relationships are fundamentally changing.

In every detail of human existence change is a constant. Though change that actually

matters occurs so rarely, genuinely trans-formative change is very difficult to identify.

Did 9/11 change anything? For a brief period of time after September 2001, the

the answer to that question seemed so easy, of course it did, with massive and

irrevocable implications. Just a decade later, the answer to that question seems less

clear. Today, most Americans live their lives as if the events of 9/11 had never

occurred. When it comes to leaving a mark on the American landscape, the names of

Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have long since eclipsed Osama bin Laden.

The postwar world brought on by the existence of WWII is coming to an end, a major

redistribution of global power is taking place. Arrangements that once brought

immense wealth upon the United States, hugely benefiting the American people,

are coming undone. The big change taking place is political, economic and military.

Basically the world today is marked with constant uncertainty. The economic

downturn that began in 2009 stands alone in American history, distinguished

by it severity, duration and resistance to even the most extravagant remedial action.

Not resembling any of the garden-variety economic slumps or panics of the past half

century, "The Great Recession" of our day resembles the Great Depression of the

1930s. Instead of being a short term phenomenon, it seemingly signifies

something transformational. The Great Recession may well signify a new era,

who's duration is yet unknown, but is most likely to last many years. It will be defined

as a period of low growth, high unemployment and much less opportunity.

As incomes stagnate and more and more people graduate college only to find no jobs

waiting, members of the middle class have began to realize that the American dream

of a classless society is just a myth. The game is rigged to benefit the few at

the expense of the many, in recent years the fixing has become even more

transparent than in the past. That realization has unbalanced American politics.

In the past five years confidence in Washington has declined dramatically. The

hope for change promised by President Obama's election has long since faded,

leaving disappointment and cynicism in their wake. The result is a new

American radicalism. The new direction in American politics today lies

in the Tea Party Movement which expresses the deep-seated antipathy toward the

old way of doing things. Populism is making an appearance on the American political

scene. What this wave of populism will lead to at present is unclear. Whether or not

our system can successfully deal with the challenges of managing scarcity and

sharing sacrifice stands as an open question. The distribution of global power is

always changing. China and other developing nations are quickly ascending the

pecking order, as the three pillars of the Western world, the United States,

Europe, and Japan, struggle with a prolonged period of economic downturn and

political malaise.

The Great Recession

Los Angeles Home of Hollywood

Los Angeles lies on a coastal Mediterranean savannah

with a small watershed that is able to support at the

most 1 million people on its own water. As of 2014,

Los Angeles has a population of over 18 million


The Future Global Landscape

Despite widespread recognition of the changing global landscape, opinions differ

widely as to which country will emerge on top. As we advance into the twenty-first

century, who will lead the pack? Many analyst forecast a twenty-first century that

will belong to China, whose decades of impressive economic growth make its

steady rise to the top seem unstoppable. Most American politicians, with the

backing of commentators such as Robert Kagan and Robert Lieber, are quick to

dismiss the prospects for a changing of the guard, insisting that the U.S. dominance

is alive and well. They insist that the U.S. economy will snap back and that

America's military superiority is untouchable. The dark horse candidates to take

the lead are India and Brazil. India will have the world's largest population

around 2025, while Brazil is blessed with abundant resources and a safe geopolitical

environment. Brazil's population will also surpass the United States by 2025.

Both have democratic governments that possibility give them the legitimacy and

freedom needed to make it to the top. The absence of a consensus

over which country will become dominate in the twenty-first century is

just as it should be, because the twenty-first century will not be dominated by any one

country. And although ascending nations will forge new alliances, to coordinate their

policies and economic muscle, they do not share a coherent vision of

what comes next in their future. They do know what they don't want,

the continuation of a world dominated by the west. But they are unlikely

to arrive at a common view of what they want to achieve. This century

will not belong to the United States,China, India, Brazil, or anyone else; it will not be

one country's world. The United States, due to its economic resilience, rising

population, and military superiority, will stand among the top

for decades into the future. Nonetheless, the dominance that the United States

and its Western allies have enjoyed since WWII is fading fast. During the second half

of the twentieth century, the Western allies accounted for over two-thirds of global

output. They now provide about half of the global output, and not so far

far into the future much less.

The Decline of the Western World

In 2010, four of the top five economies in the world came from the developed West,

the United States, Japan, Germany, and France. Only one developing country,

China at number two, qualified for this exclusive club. In 2050, according to Goldman

Sachs, the United States will be the only Western power to make it into the

top five. China will be number one, followed significantly behind by the

United States, India, Brazil and Russia.The most noticeable shift in global

power towards emerging market economies is expected to take

place in 2017 when China will become the world's largest economy.

Two of the most important factors of economic growth are population expansion

and productivity. Developed nations lack the advantage in population growth because

of the more advanced effects of an aging and shrinking labor forces. However,

developing nations benefit from large, young and growing populations, which help

contribute to labor market input. A populous and expanding developing country

such as India will benefit from their “demographic dividend”. That is

when a large proportion of the population are of working age, so that the majority

of society are working and contributing to economic growth. In India, 64.5% of

the total population were age 15-64 in 2010 and this will rise to 66.5% by 2020. But

in Japan, home of the world's oldest population, 63.8% of the population were

aged 15-64 in 2010 and this will fall to 59.2% by 2020, putting considerable

stress on the labor force, economic growth and government finances.

A developed nation like Japan has a more advanced economy which contributes to

greater incomes and spending power, they can preserve a competitive edge by

increasing their productivity levels to make up for their short falls in demographic and

labor market growth. The United States and Europe are faced with some of the same

challenges as Japan, they have aging populations which put stress on their

labor forces, economic growth and government finances. Developing

countries will drive global economic growth into the future but developed

countries will continue to hold a competitive edge with higher individual incomes and

larger consumer market expenditures, as governments in developing countries face

the difficult challenges of keeping up with the chaos associated with double digit

economic growth. As we advance into the twenty-first century all countries will be

face with their own unique set of challenges. The United States were the

victors in WWII and the Cold War, and reaped the benefits, but China and

the developing countries will lead us toward the end of the century with its

youthful workforces and growing economies.

911 Memorial


Everyone knows where they were when the World Trade Center collapsed on 911,

it was a sad point in time similar to the Kennedy assassination. Everyone was

glued to their television sets trying to make sense out of the madness. Many

believe the world would be a much different place if Kennedy would have

somehow avoided his fate on that November day in Dallas, Texas. More

than a decade after 911 the war on terrorism has yet to be won, and

their could be a strong argument that the free world is losing that battle.

With the Islamic State (ISIS) spreading like a virus throughout the

Middle East and al-Qaeda in control of Yemen, it has become

difficult to imagine a world without the threat of terrorism. Since that

day in September the people on this planet wait anxiously for the next

event that will change the course of human history. After 911 the world

has had to fight another battle, an economic one, known as the Great

Recession. The exact scale and timing of the Great Recession is debated

and varied from country to country, but most agree it began in December

2007 and ended in June 2009, over a period of 19 months. The major

result of the Great Recession was a sharp rise in unemployment around

the world, resulting in a much lower proportion of the working-age

population in the labor force, not since 1978 has it been so low. In effect,

the labor force in America is 7.4 million workers smaller than it was

before the recession. As a matter of fact, nearly as many Americans

have either left the work force, or never entered, in this recovery

than found a job, they have become known as the recession's lost

generation. Another problem is the jobs that the economy is creating

aren't the same caliber jobs that were available before the recession.

Workers who got laid off are increasingly having to settle for lower

wage jobs in retail, food service, or leisure and hospitality.

The Advance of Technology and the Future

We are perhaps entering the most exciting period in human

history, as technology is turning science fiction in to science

fact. Elon Musk as the CEO of Space X and Tesla Motors is

leading the way into the 21st century pushing the boundaries of

technology. One of Musk's future endeavors is the hyperloop

which will transport people across the United State at speeds

up to 800 mph. Musk has already begun a test model in central

California and has already named the company Hyperloop

Transportation technologies.

Elon Musk Madman or Visionary

The Hyperloop Today in Quay Valley California

The Advance of Technology and the Future

The idea is to build a five-mile track in Quay Valley, a planned

community (itself a grandiose idea) that will be built from scratch

on 7,500 acres of land around interstate 5, midway between

San Francisco and Los Angeles. It's not really a test track but

a first proto-type that will test and tweak practical elements like

station setup, boarding procedures, and pod design. Musk is

bringing together the youngest and brightest minds from around

the globe to help make his dream a reality. It's a very natural step

to building a longer track that allows for higher speeds and testing

freight shipping. It's also a way to prove that his dream can be built.

The hyperloop fits Musk's vision of a place where cars take a back

seat to non-polluting public transit-systems, the track and station will

be partially solar powered. Musk believes a hyperloop system could

be built in the United State in less than a decade.

The Hyperloop Project

Advance in Technology and the Future

Only time will tell if Elon Musk is a madman or a prophet,

and if the world will begin to enter into its possible science

fiction phase in the next decade. It's unfortunate that fate didn't

put Elon Musk and John F. Kennedy together so he could

help bring Musk's dream a reality. I wonder what Kennedy

would have thought of Musk? I can't help but believe

he would he would have seen Musk's vision and would have

provided the leadership needed from our government to make

it a reality. Kennedy put a man on the moon, and since his

untimely death we have yet to return.

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past

or present are certain to miss the future."

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask

why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

John F. Kennedy


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