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Decline and fall of the US

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It's time to get really involved and active politically, vote ALL of these financial incompetents (on both sides) out of power and restore this country to it's greatness again. It can start in November.

 

 

Decline and fall of the US

 

NIALL FERGUSON

 

Sydney Morning Herald, July 29, 2010

 

 

In the history of empires the end is abrupt, and those that rely on them need to be ready.

 

All empires, no matter how magnificent, are condemned to decline and fall. We tend to assume that in our own time, too, history will move cyclically - and slowly.

 

 

The environmental or demographic threats we all talk about seem remote. In an election year, who really cares about the average atmospheric temperature or the age structure of the population in 2050?

 

Yet it is possible that this whole cyclical framework is, in fact, flawed. What if history is arrhythmic - at times almost stationary, but also capable of accelerating suddenly, like a sports car? What if collapse comes suddenly, like a thief in the night?

 

 

Great powers and empires operate somewhere between order and disorder. They can appear to operate quite stably for some time; they seem to be in equilibrium but are, in fact, constantly adapting. But a small trigger can set off a ''phase transition'' from a benign equilibrium to a crisis - a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and brings about a hurricane in south-eastern England.

 

 

Regardless of whether it is a dictatorship or a democracy, any large-scale political unit is a complex system. Most great empires have a nominal central authority - either a hereditary emperor or an elected president - but in practice the power of any individual ruler is a function of the network of economic, social and political relations over which he or she presides.

As such, empires exhibit many of the characteristics of other complex adaptive systems - including the tendency to move from stability to instability quite suddenly. But this fact is rarely recognised because of our addiction to cyclical theories of history.

 

 

The Bourbon monarchy in France passed from triumph to terror with astonishing rapidity. French intervention on the side of the colonial rebels against British rule in North America in the 1770s seemed like a chance for revenge after Great Britain's victory in the Seven Years War a decade earlier, but it served to tip France into a critical state.

 

 

In May 1789, the summoning of the Estates-General, France's long-dormant representative assembly, unleashed a political chain reaction that led to a swift collapse of royal legitimacy in France. Only four years later, in January 1793, Louis XVI was decapitated by guillotine.

 

 

The sun set on the British Empire almost as suddenly. So, what are the implications for the United States today?

 

 

The most obvious point is that imperial falls are associated with fiscal crises - sharp imbalances between revenues and expenditures, and the mounting cost of servicing a mountain of public debt.

 

 

Think of Ottoman Turkey in the 19th century: debt service rose from 17 per cent of revenue in 1868 to 32 per cent in 1871 to 50 per cent in 1877, two years after the great default that ushered in the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Consider Britain in the 20th century. By the mid 1920s, debt charges were absorbing 44.5 per cent of total government expenditure, exceeding defence expenditure every year until 1937, when rearmament finally got under way in earnest.

 

 

But Britain's real problems came after 1945, when a substantial proportion of its immense debt burden - equivalent to about a third of gross domestic product - was in foreign hands.

 

 

Alarm bells should therefore be ringing loudly in Washington, as the US contemplates a deficit for 2010 of more than $US1.47 trillion - about 10 per cent of gross domestic product, for the second year running.

 

 

Since 2001, in the space of just 10 years, the US federal debt in public hands has doubled as a share of GDP from 32 per cent to a projected 66 per cent next year. It is projected that debt could reach 344 per cent by 2050.

 

 

These sums may sound fantastic. But more terrifying is to consider what continuing deficit finance could mean for the burden of interest payments as a share of federal revenues - up to 85 per cent in 2050.

 

 

The fiscal position of the US is worse than that of Greece. But Greece is not a global power. In historical perspective, unless something radical is done soon, the US is heading into into Bourbon France territory. It is heading into Ottoman Turkey territory. It is heading into postwar Britain territory.

 

 

For now, the world still expects the US to muddle through, eventually confronting its problems when, as Winston Churchill famously said, all the alternatives have been exhausted. With the sovereign debt crisis in Europe combining with growing fears of a deflationary double-dip recession, bond yields are at historic lows. There is therefore a strong incentive for those in the US Congress to put off fiscal reform.

 

 

Remember, half the US federal debt in public hands is in the hands of foreign creditors. Of that, a fifth (22 per cent) is held by the monetary authorities of the People's Republic of China, down from 27 per cent in July last year. China now has the second-largest economy in the world and is almost certain to be America's principal strategic rival this century, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

 

Quietly, discreetly, the Chinese are reducing their exposure to US Treasury bonds. Perhaps they have noticed what the rest of the world's investors pretend not to see - that the US is on an unsustainable fiscal course, with no apparent political means of self-correcting.

 

 

That has profound implications not only for the US, but also for all countries that have come to rely on it, directly or indirectly, for their security.

 

 

Niall Ferguson is a British historian and the author of The Ascent of Money. This is an edited version of his John Bonython Lecture for the Centre for Independent Studies delivered in Sydney last night.

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View PostIt's too bad it too Obama getting into office for so many Republicans to recognize what happened in the years Bush was in office.

 

What part of "both sides" don't you understand, it is divisive, spiteful, partisan politics that has brought the US to it's knees, financially, and spiritually.

 

Time for everyone to take a stand, or you will have nothing to stand on.

 

Reflect on that.

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View PostWhat part of "both sides" don't you understand, it is divisive, spiteful, partisan politics that has brought the US to it's knees, financially, and spiritually.

 

Time for everyone to take a stand, or you will have nothing to stand on.

 

Reflect on that.

 

It was greedy politicians doing whatever their puppet master lobbyists told them to do. The bums, both dem and rep sold out the populace for a promise of financial return for their little :communities." How many pols lost their homes or have applied for bankruptcy?

Dems and Reps, both pages from the same bad book.

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View PostWhat part of "both sides" don't you understand, it is divisive, spiteful, partisan politics that has brought the US to it's knees, financially, and spiritually.

 

Time for everyone to take a stand, or you will have nothing to stand on.

 

Reflect on that.

 

 

cwm33.gifcwm33.gifcwm33.gif

 

simply put the issues brought up in this article are things I've been screaming about for years.

 

When Bush was in offce,

when the Right wing HAD a voice, they sat idly by and defended it.

 

only AFTER their voice was meaningless did they decide to become vocal.

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View Postcwm33.gifcwm33.gifcwm33.gif

 

simply put the issues brought up in this article are things I've been screaming about for years.

When Bush was in offce, when the Right wing HAD a voice, they sat idly by and defended it.

only AFTER their voice was meaningless did they decide to become vocal.

 

Again you persist with the partisan tactic of blame the other side - b-b-b-b-but Bush.

 

How about trying to express something positive for a change.

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View PostAgain you persist with the partisan tactic of blame the other side - b-b-b-b-but Bush.

 

How about trying to express something positive for a change.

 

 

I'm not blaming the other side,

and I am pointing out partisanship.

 

I cannot help reality....

 

all the issues in the article you posted were secrets,

and when I made noise about them, the right wing here defended the actions and policy.

 

 

I am flabbergasted that some are acting as if we just now became aware of these things.

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View PostI'm not blaming the other side,

and I am pointing out partisanship.

I cannot help reality....

all the issues in the article you posted were secrets,

and when I made noise about them, the right wing here defended the actions and policy.

I am flabbergasted that some are acting as if we just now became aware of these things.

 

 

------------------------

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I don't know why the Auzzie papers are so concerned with the US,

but their view point is always HIGHLY slanted.

 

for one, the US is not an Empire,

and to discuss the US in historical terms by comparing us to Empires is a gross mistake.

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Look at the Roman empire, they couldn't absorb the foreigners they imported into their midst fast enough, they rose up and destroyed Rome.

But all empires are doomed, first they fail morally.

 

The US is unique though, theres a good chance it will not collapse.

Not now and not later.

 

Its gonna take a sharp course correction, getting rid of all incumbents.

Getting back to basics, the constitution and freedom from an overweening gvmnt. Cut the nuts off the EPA nutcakes.

 

But most of all its going to require abandonment of the self seeking attitude of voters who just want their slice of pie.

 

Mostly it first requires recognizing where our freedoms originate and place our ultimate reliance on Him.

 

He has a message, He says "drill".

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View PostLook at the Roman empire, they couldn't absorb the foreigners they imported into their midst fast enough, they rose up and destroyed Rome.

But all empires are doomed, first they fail morally.

 

The US is unique though, theres a good chance it will not collapse.

Not now and not later.

 

Its gonna take a sharp course correction, getting rid of all incumbents.

Getting back to basics, the constitution and freedom from an overweening gvmnt. Cut the nuts off the EPA nutcakes.

 

But most of all its going to require abandonment of the self seeking attitude of voters who just want their slice of pie.

 

Mostly it first requires recognizing where our freedoms originate and place our ultimate reliance on Him.

 

He has a message, He says "drill".

 

 

All it takes is the will of the people to get politically active and vote these parasites out of power.

 

Last time I looked, the Constitution was still one of the finest documents ever written for the cohesion of a nation.

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View PostI'm not blaming the other side,

and I am pointing out partisanship.

 

I cannot help reality....

 

all the issues in the article you posted were secrets,

and when I made noise about them, the right wing here defended the actions and policy.

 

 

I am flabbergasted that some are acting as if we just now became aware of these things.

 

 

The problem is we keep electing people who would be better suited for American Idol than the office of the president. This is particularly true with the last three presidents.

 

With an electorate as dumbed down as the present one I truly fear for our country. This guy doesn't have a clue (other than to make the US another European state) how to run a vacuum sweeper let alone a car company or a bank.

I watched Glenn Beak the other night with a tong in cheek approach. I was appalled, on some of this stuff he is spot on. Not the bumbling black board scribbling fool the MSM would have us believe. Don't take my word for it have a look for yourself and make an informed decision. I probably won't watch him again but he is not the moron the press would have you believe. He certainly has some great research people evolved.

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View PostThe problem is we keep electing people who would be better suited for American Idol than the office of the president.

 

 

I think it would be hard to attack Clinton's qualifications,

he was bright, and was a Governor.

 

He seemed to be pretty qualified to me.

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for one, the US is not an Empire,

 

 

I have to disagree.

 

We are an empire of mass mindless consumption.

 

We are an empire of debt and money printing.

 

We are an empire of corporate statism the likes of which would make Stalin blush.

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View PostThe problem is we keep electing people who would be better suited for American Idol than the office of the president. This is particularly true with the last three presidents.

 

 

Couldn't agree more, except this current President is unlikely to get a second term.

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