I recently was watching a show I often watch that do documentaries about the suffering and hellish situations people live in around the world, usually third world countries (tho not always). From children mining in illegal mines with fires raging a few feet below the surface like some vision of Dante's inferno. Well this last one was on homelessness in America. The picture drawn is in many was every bit as shocking as the Indian caste system or the diamond mines of Africa. Highly educated professionals living on the streets and in tent cities. Laws preventing the homeless from standing in place or sitting down, the whole thing disgusted me. I found myself thinking that America really is on a downward slope into third world territory. To top it off there is what could be called the largest environmental disaster the world has seen just off the coast of four states. Something must be really wrong with the system that has allowed such corruption and greed to devastate a country that was the richest and most powerful when I was a kid. How much more can the people take before they are rioting in the streets across the country? The saddest thing I can see is that the people could restore the economy and quality of life if the politicians would just stop fighting the other party. Most Americans seem willing to do their part and re-build their communities if only the laws allowed it. Maybe I am wrong about that, I don't think so tho.
In the future of course America can become a 'third world' country, any system that oppresses its people, and in America's case other peoples also, is liable to collapse.
However in the modern world it is not in anyone's interest to see this happen to any country; and the world is a much bigger place than most Americans seem to understand. from outside it is clear that some major adjustment is required, what form that should take is not so easy to define. Capitalism can be seen to be tottering as it has no new territories to conquer, Communism failed in the USSR and is still alive but not in any form that we can reconcile with the past ideas of it, and Socialism is just the backlash against Capitalism.
Any new ideas welcome I think.
Kirsten, I wanted to address a couple of points you made.
The first is that while culpable, BP are the symbol of a larger trend -- which is rampant consumerism and waste. Sadly, with the way things are today, countries with power and influence necessitate large amounts of resources (in this case oil) and thus, in a sense, consumers are also to blaim for creating high demand that business may find difficult to satisfy. I am not a Beyond Petroleum (hasnt been British Petrol since 2001) apologist, but it is a relevant factor imo. We, as consumers, are part of the "corruption" of the system.
Secondly, how do we measure the scale of a natural disaster? I find that people are blowing this one a little out of proportion. There was a forum post on here the other day that said that the depth of the well could spark Armageddon.
I like to think episodes such as the Bhopal disaster, where 550,000 people were exposed to deadly chemicals (10,000+ who were confirmed to have died from exposure) are more severe in terms of casualties and legacy. Warren Anderson, the then CEO of the company, fled to the states and is still at large, having suffered no legal repercussion.
This may seem like an anti U.S rant. It isn't. I truly believe in the U.S as role model in many ways, but facts are facts.
In closing, no, I don't think the U.S is headed towards the third world. Despite the doom-heralds that seem to think that Obama is the anti-christ instead of a politican. It might just be that the world is catching up.
P.S with regards to the fed, and debt, the rest of the world faces similar issues so I'm not ready to throw in the towel -- yet.
Those are all good questions. Somebody predicted recently that the U.S. future is like Haiti if we don't start paying more attention to the environment, wasted energy, climate, education, public infrastructure, corruption, etc.
I think we are not far away from a complete implosion of our economic structure and when that happens the rich will be the ones that have learned to be self sustaining, or have a valuable bartering skill.
There are those that say this can never happen in America but the fact is you can not keep adding more weight to the top of the tower while chiseling away at the bottom and expect it to keep standing. Gravity is a B#tch.
Excellent observation Ohma! However, it is the politicians that are doing the chiseling. They are abetted by the portion of the public that has their hand in the government till (i.e. the taxpayer), as well as those that are uninformed and apathetic.
We can change this, if we choose more effectual leaders, instead of making voting choices based on superficial criteria.
As sad as it is to say I do not believe 10% of the U.S. voters have a clue that they cast there votes emotionally rather than intellectually.
The whole mind numbing bible thumping campaign trail keeps the voters so busy fighting amongst themselves that on election day most people have no idea what the candidates qualifications are, what he\she has achieved or what contribution they have made to benefit the country in the past.
This has me thinking about an election that made it to my TV over here in the UK. A guy with no credentials, job, or whatever else you might expect being elected and the theory is that he got the election due to his name coming first on the ballot!
Jeez, Ohma we must be totally on the same physic wavelength! You are right on about the voters! However, it is not only the bible thumpers, but the ones who think the stimulus money, as well as all the other government handouts, are coming out of Obama's pocket instead of their friends and families'!
If one just votes on what one sees on TV, instead of investigating how a candidate has traveled life, then it is more often than not a wasted vote.
I was not comparing or calling the voters bible thumpers. I see the politicians as the ones standing on a stump and promising the world to any who would follow them. They are the ones I was comparing to the bible thumping fire and brimstone preachers of the Appalachia. Sorry if I was not clear.
Take the power out of the hands of the politicians and government and put it in the hands of the hard working citizen. At least then the people with power are not afraid of an honest days work!
America is not becoming a third world country- It already is a third world country. The only reason it is not seen, is because of the politicians and wealthy alike, and the supposed power of the Economy(which has the power of exactly what?).
Because the Economy has handled or can spend a Trillion dollars, it does not matter, when the debt continues to grow.
Debt is a negative, in this particular case, $100 Trillion.
No other country in the world could be $100 Trillion in the hole, and not be considered a third world country.
So how is it exactly that America isn't already? No one needs to answer, because when truth is known- the answer becomes deceptive practices and lies from those in power.
Capitalism is not "tottering," and the US is not going to "implode" any time soon. Our economy will continue to suck until we can get a change in Congress and later get Obamajevich out of office, but we will carry on.
Sab you know what! I make well over what our illustrious politicians have decided is an acceptable wage in this country and still struggle to pay my bills. I am talking about basics here food clothing and shelter. I can not afford to spend an extra dime anywhere.
Our economy will collapse because it can not do anything else. Despite you idealistic opinion the people who support the economy do not have any more to give.
"Our economy will collapse because it can not do anything else."
LOL @ the dire pessimism! Our economy has been up in the past and down in the past. It will grow strong again after this and it will struggle again sometime in the future. THAT is what our economy does. Don't jump out the window just yet.
Sab I think you have been hiding behind that mask to long. It has blurred your vision.
Just take it easy, the world is not ending just yet.
Did not say or even suggest that it was. As usual you read into things what you want to believe is there rather than what people actually say.
A collapse of our economic structure does not equal the end of the world and you are the only one that suggested that it would.
Let's try this: What exactly do you mean by "our economy will collapse"?
collapse as in fail - it is halfway there already and can slide into a lasting and very deep recession unless your arch enemy Obama turns it around soon.
I wasn't asking YOU, but it seems that "collapse" means something much more complete and permanent than a recession, of which we have had many and from which we have recovered many times.
obama will "turn it around" when he turns around and goes back to Chicago. Hopefully too much damage won't be done in the meantime.
I am talking about the dollar becoming worthless. having no value. It really does not take a genius to understand that it is nearly there now.
The dollar does not need to become worthless, just not the currency that the rest of world base their rates on. It would then drop to its real value rather than its currently artificially high value. If that got as far down as half its current value the deficit would by default double in size and be unsustainable. Can it happen suddenly, I think it can. If Obama can't control the economy and keep it on the up, however slowly, it could be close.
You are saying the value of the US dollar will drop to 0? We are most certainly NOT "nearly there now," but could you tell me exactly when to expect this value of 0 to become reality?
You mean the economy will not implode just the same way it didn't in the '08 meltdown over mortgages and securities? Another bail out will not save the economy a second time.
Ohma is right. It will implode unless there is a major paradigm shift in American business preditorial and greed practice. Since that isn't likely to happen, it will most likely implode. From what I can tell, many Americans have a similar feeling.
The worst part about the BP spill is that it's going to give the environmental movement further permission to over-regulate, making it even harder to create jobs. We are going to "get what we wished for" as a nation.
Once it is impossible to do business because the regulations require products to be so expensive to produce that no consumer can afford them, the companies producing them will go bust. Then there won't be any jobs, and there wont be any consumers.
We'll be fighting for the scraps of products made outside our borders that are produced with ZERO care for the environment, stuff that used to seem cheap and crappy to us, but are now expensive because we no longer have any money at all.
This country totally lost sight of what made it strong.
All North America is like a lady from a third world country with expensive make up on her face. Just remove all that make up... When I came to Canada, the first thing that surprised me most - the terrible overwaste and overspending of everything, as if there is no tomorrow. Now everybody has to face the results of recklessness and overspending, and has to behave accordingly. No more overspending. But on the second thought the main difference and why we are NOT a third world country - we obey the law, well, most of us. And changes are always difficult, especially the global ones.
I don't know what you mean, Home. Canada's economy is closer to being fully recovered than the US's, mostly because they more strictly regulate their banking industry.
Oh, and this: "But on the second thought the main difference and why we are NOT a third world country - we obey the law, well, most of us."
Yeah, we in the US seem to have a relationship with the law very similar to the one in 3rd world countries. The wealthy and powerful get to pretty much ignore it, and the regular bloke must obey or else.
Thanks for the opinion about third world countries. It shows how narrow the western minds are. Everywhere, people behave according to their heredity and nothing is special for 3rd world countries.
But what is the third world? Now, the whole world can be treated as third world because humanity has seen two world wars and yet to see the third world war. So all countries are third world countries, till the next great war.
And your words show exactly how limited your mind is with regards to the actual problems in the world.
It appears as though you put your own foot in your own mouth with this statement. It shows again, exactly what you do not know.
In the end it would amount to the same thing. A collapse that will make the Great Depression seem like a day in the park. The people of that era were much better equipped to be self sustaining. We now have way to many citizens living on technology. I and a great many like me live in a large city. I can not raise my own food there is no room.
This is something that is patently obvious living here in China. The farmers are the poorest, except those that work for the farmers of course, but they can all feed themselves and get by - as they all still live on the land. How you would go about surviving if you cant use the financially worthless land the banks would own I can't imagine. Here, every piece of spare ground including road verges have little plots all over them in the unused spaces.
"This is something that is patently obvious living here in China"
First of all, you really don't have to declare that you live in China in every single post. We get it, relax already. Second, China is hardly self-sufficient in terms of food production and history does not suggest attempts to feed all its people through domestic production alone would end well. Finally, if the doooooomsday scenarios for the US being predicted here were to come true China would be as screwed as the rest of the world. Perhaps more.
"A collapse that will make the Great Depression seem like a day in the park. "
Ok, and you are certain this will happen, right? When? Please be as specific as possible.
I just do not see that happening here. There would first of be to much competition for the available land. Americans as a rule do not pull together when times get tough. They quickly resort to a survival of the fittest mentality. I think you can see where that will lead too.
Of course Americans pull together when times are tough, not only that, they help out in the world where they can.
How do I know this ? Back in February 2009 we had our worst national disaster in Australia, bush fires devastated much of my state.
Less than 72 hours passed before 100+ firefighters from CA got on planes and traveled 18,000 miles to help us out. We may have asked them to come, but they would come regardless.
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