Are we living in the Golden Age?
For those of us living in the West, America, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan, it's not hard to imagine that we have reached the pinnacle of our societal development. If nothing else demographics will soon push us into a different paradigm. The West has stopped having babies and without babies there is no future.
If we think about how nice we have it as compared to all the peoples that have ever lived on this earth we should be amazed, but we aren't. We take it for granted. Worse, we condemn ourselves for the marvels we now enjoy that were forged by the sweat of our brow and of those who came before us. In that selfish condemnation we deny the next generation any choices at all since we are choosing this generation over theirs.
Think about it... We live in a world with instant communication between any 2 points on the planet. We have information, the collective knowledge of recorded history at our fingertips by virtue of the Internet. We have but to climb into a self-powered car with all it's luxury appointments and drive on super highways to any supermarket or mall and find just about any foodstuff or creature comfort we can imagine. A mere hundred years ago this would've been a fantasy. Our poor eat better, live better, enjoy better health and have better entertainment than all the princes and kings of a century ago. For all the griping by the Occupy movement it is never considered that the vast middle experiences life closer to the top 1% than at anytime in history. Do the ultra-rich watch better TV shows or movies than the rest of us? Do they have better music? Do their Ipods sound better, their Ipads look better? Is their food more nutritious? Are their cars more reliable or have better air conditioning than ours?
If we accept that we in the West, collectively, live a life of comfort and ease compared to those just a few short generations ago we have to ask; how long can it all last?
We are seeing the financial system begin to crumble globally. Japan, Europe and the U.S. have serious debt issues that are interconnected in a fashion that resembles a game of dominoes just before the first one topples. If or when the global financial system collapses the demand for oil - the principal product of the Middle East, North Africa and Russia - will take a dive, and likely trigger chaos in those politically unstable regions. Likewise, the demand for consumer goods from China and southeast Asia will plummet along with their economies - which might force a new military hegemony waiting in wings in Beijing.
Worse yet is the specter of apocalyptic religious zealots in Tehran possessing nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. Regardless of which comes first, the collapse of the global economic system or a first strike (likely on Tel Aviv) by Iran, chaos will consume the world.
How bad can it get? No one knows. The world of fiction is rife with post-apocalyptic tales that frankly depict a world I wouldn't want to live in.
When the electricity fails and the supermarkets run out of food anarchy will prevail. Don't think the government - Federal or local - will save the day. It is the government (particularly Congress) that is destroying everything now - before the fall. In addition the current President is actively promoting the decline of America. These crony's are busy feathering their own nests and destroying the country in the process. There will be no help from the government when this all breaks down.
Does it have to end this way? Probably not, but simple hope is pale substitute for the cruelness of reality. Indeed, Europe(Germany) and Japan were thoroughly devastated after WWII and they came roaring back economically. But this collapse would be quite different. For one, Europe and Japan had the United States to help them rebuild. Do we suppose China would be in any shape to foster the rebuilding of the global economy this time? What would the world be rebuilding from? An economic collapse or nuclear war? I would not bet against either of these things happening if something isn't done soon.
I've read that it's already too late for Europe to avoid some of it's members from defaulting on their debts. America has unfunded liabilities in the trillions coming due over the next 20 years. Japan may simply be a lost cause. As Japan's population collapses they continue to maintain a closed door policy on immigration. Bold action is needed because the only thing that will turn the tide is confidence in the future. Confidence is the only thing that holds up the economic system as it is.The Western world had confidence after WWII because of the power of the United States. Restoring confidence is going to take bold action and like it or not it will have to come from the United States. Is China or India ready to step up and usher the world into the next era? I wouldn't bet on it.
So here we are a the precipice of collapse and the one nation with a chance at staving it off is led by a man actively directing a program of decline - and apologizing to the world on our behalf. This is not building confidence. Wanting the world to love us is a fool's game, especially when the world is seeking leadership.
When the history of this era is written generations from now will they lament the fact that when the world had such a benevolent hegemon in the United States of America it let itself be tore down from within, with the malice of forethought? Are we really ready to give up? Is this the beginning of the end of the Golden Age?