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This question will supplement the thread on "American Exceptionalism". Is American "Exceptionalism" over?

World War II got the US out of the Great Depression. We beat our guns into ploughshares with a vast increase in consumerism. This was, in part, an accident of geography; WWII was fought on European and Asian soil, not American soil.

Ike warned of the Military-Industrial Complex, yet our Defense costs as much as the next 10 countries combined; we are the arms merchant of the world. Millions of Americans make a good living from Defense-related manufacturing. Is this healthy?

Ike built the Interstate Highway system, suburbs blossomed and consumerism took off. This created a vast market for autos, housing supplies and consumer goods. Now those same suburbs need vast infrastructure repairs and improvements.

We promise too much and tax too little. Now American faces a vast shortfall in Social Security, Medicare and pension funds.

Enter credit cards. We could avoid delaying gratification by buying on credit. This allowed the financial service sector to beome the parasitic institution it has become. The vampires on Wall Street have shifted wealth from the middle class to the rich. Now the paradox of thrift has kicked in as Americans pay down debt and don't buy consumer goods.

Will we speak of Chinese Exceptionalism in a few years? Our "long-term" planning consists of meeting each crisis as it occurs. China is investing $1 trillion on a smart grid. Are we? The are graduating far more engineers than we do, so is India.

Our free enterprise system didn't work in the last financial crisis because of a failure of Adam Smith to consider one underlying principle: Directional Greed. His belief was that individual greed would cancel out. What he never considered was that collective greed could be directional i.e. the public, the financial services sector and the government all wanted the housing bubble. Now we face the consequencs of this failure of the Adam Smith paradigm.

Are we witnessing the end of an empire?


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  • Nov 13 2012: Your kidding right?
    America is unique in that it is the only nation that I know of that was explicitly founded as an empire.
    The stated purpose from the founding fathers was to expand out and take over the entire planet.
    "American Exceptionalism" is just the rationalization babble that is necessary to spin that plan into the destructive steps taken by the US around the world since then.
    The financial problems the world is now in stem from a number of causes, one of which is capitalism`s inability to see beyound the next quarter profits, and the US Government`s military expansion along with undoing (deregulation) of hard won lessons from the past.
    I am specifically thinking of the Vietnam War and deGaules call to Nixon on the war debt and the underhanded deregulation of many of the limitations on banks along with the Clinton, everyone shoud own a house nonsense.
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      Nov 13 2012: Compared to Canada it is damn exceptional for that matter every country in the world ever. Canada would be speaking another language if it were not for the U.S. you have to kidding me. But the U.S. won't be around much longer as it has drank too much of the Socialist unexceptional cool aid.
      • Nov 13 2012: Well I really don't know what to say to that.
        The US is not going anywhere any more than France or Brittan did. It will just become the junior partner to the next big thing.
        Whoever that is will undoubtly think that their right to do what ever they want is obvious and what ever anyone else wants to do is illegal.
        Then the world will hate you less and them more so you will probably think that things are getting better.
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          Nov 13 2012: It IS going from capitalism to consummate Socialism, which is from exceptionalism to insipid
      • Nov 13 2012: I would think that 47.1 million people on food stamps would make "going" into "went". Not to mention the fact that the entire banking section of the economy is on welfare.

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