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Are we headed for a "fall"?
Old 05-18-2010, 08:12 AM   #1
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Are we headed for a "fall"?

Perhaps it is the gloomy predictions by Dex -- he does present compelling arguments -- that has made me more sensitive to this issue than I should be but...

Doomsayers Beware, a Bright Future Beckons

Quote:
... the historian Arthur Herman identifies two consistently dominant schools of thought.

The first school despairs because it foresees inevitable ruin. The second school is hopeful — but only because these intellectuals foresee ruin, too, and can hardly wait for the decadent modern world to be replaced by one more to their liking. Every now and then, someone comes along to note that society has failed to collapse and might go on prospering, but the notion is promptly dismissed in academia as happy talk from a simpleton.
Quote:
... you might consider the words of Thomas B. Macaulay, a British poet, historian and politician who criticized doomsayers of the mid-1800s.

“We cannot absolutely prove,” he wrote, “that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason.”
I am curious of the thoughts of others on the subject.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:29 AM   #2
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We're all doomed - we just don't know when it will arrive and in what form it will appear.

My simpleton philosophy is to enjoy the wait.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:52 AM   #3
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The older I get the more I become a pessimist on pessimism. That's something I wished I had learned when I was much younger as I would have saved myself a lot of time and energy spent worrying about...nothing.

Too many people get partial information and go off half-cocked on some sort of mission to fix something they see as a looming disaster. The internet and popular media are just super-efficient petri dishes for growing these phenomena. If half of the pending disasters we've had tossed at us in just the past five years had come true, we would all be dead and the planet would be a burned out hulk. Whenever I hear of the newest ender of time, I disbelieve it and don't worry while I wait for more information.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:04 AM   #4
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On the other hand, sometimes the unthinkable actually happens. Taleb, the author of the Black Swan book, described how his older relatives ignored the sign that Lebanon, his birthplace, was slipping into a disastrous political turmoil and decline when he was young. They simply could not imagine that it could happen.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:11 AM   #5
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The article did not impress me - extremely general and omits what the "Doomsayser" are saying will happen and centers all its hope on technological change. It is an elitist point of view of the world. It omits the pain and suffering of the common man during tumultuous times. .

Quote:
"Progress this century could be impeded by politics, wars, plagues or climate change, but Dr. Ridley argues that, as usual, the “apocaholics” are overstating the risks and underestimating innovative responses."

Look at the economics of the world - apx 2.5 billion people live on $2/day, another 2.5B living in pre industrial revolution world.



Quote:
"“Forget wars, religions, famines and poems for the moment,” Dr. Ridley writes. “This is history’s greatest theme: the metastasis of exchange, specialization and the invention it has called forth, the ‘creation’ of time.”
For get the 1930s Depression, WWI, WWII, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and what led to their rise and the world is a great place.

Yes over the 60,000 years homosapiens have been around - they are still around.

Quote:
The second school is hopeful — but only because these intellectuals foresee ruin, too, and can hardly wait for the decadent modern world to be replaced by one more to their liking.
True - or a Democrat hopes a Republican fails so they can take over.

Quote:
Every now and then, someone comes along to note that society has failed to collapse and might go on prospering, but the notion is promptly dismissed in academia as happy talk from a simpleton."
Never defines collapse - How about Greece - old and new - Rome, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, China 1912 - 1975, Mexico, USSR

All empires rise and fall - the fall is painful. My position is that the USA is an empire in decline and over time we can expect the same that happened to all past empires. It isn't a straight line down and it will take time for it all to unfold.

Here is a simple explanation as to why the USA is an empire in decline.

Political/Military - Turning Point 1945
Ascending - Increases national wealth and power - e.g. Manifest Destiny, Spanish/American War
Decending - Decreases national wealth and power - Attempts to maintain power - Korean war to today

Economic/Business - Turning Point apx 1975 - 1987
Ascending - Creditor Nation - low threshold to entry for business, diverse business environment
Decending - opposite of above

Political/Government - Turning Point 1930s
Ascending - limited regulation, limited incursion in individual citizen's lives
Decending - opposite of above - add centralization of power, higher taxes/fee/penalities, debase currency, corruption (more)

So will technological innovation change the course of the USA's decline? No.

Will technological innovation and the free time avert the pain to come for common man in the USA and the world by the decline of the USA? No

-----
How do you do those blue quote boxes?
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dex View Post
The article did not impress me - extremely general and ... etc
Which is why I brought it to the table -- to give the issue a "body" so to speak.

(Your post is exactly the type of response I was looking for... but not exclusively from you.)
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:32 AM   #7
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To make the magic blue quote boxes, use [ quote ] at the beginning and [ /quote ] at the end (but do close the space around the brackets).

There was this report published in USAToday that I thought was interesting:

Daily stress and worry plummet after age 50 - USATODAY.com

Quote:
Carstensen says her research and Stone's research both show "a tiny increase in positives but a whopping decrease in negatives."
And just how much does the year 2008 play into the findings, since that's when the recession was foremost among most minds in the USA?
Carstensen says her "hunch" is that the recession had more of an influence on general life satisfaction rather than on individual emotions.
Stone's guess is that "the levels on average of stress and worry are probably higher in 2008 than in 2009 and 2010," but the study doesn't attempt any comparisons, he says.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dex View Post
How do you do those blue quote boxes?
Two ways: One is to highlight the text and then click on the Menu Bar Icon - "Wrap [edited for formatting] tags around selected text" (just to the left of the # icon).

A more labor intensive way would be to manually put [/QUOTE] on either side of the text. I use this method mainly when breaking up a long post when response requires multiple separate entries -- as you did in your post.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
We're all doomed - we just don't know when it will arrive and in what form it will appear.

My simpleton philosophy is to enjoy the wait.
+1!!!

So ER, and do the things you enjoy as soon as possible, and don't sweat the last 5% chance on that 50-year portfolio survival!

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Old 05-18-2010, 09:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dex View Post
How do you do those blue quote boxes?
There is a little cartoon bubble icon above the post reply that will surround selected text with the quote delimiters. I think it's there above the quick reply box too - yes, it's the last little icon.

Audrey
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:50 AM   #11
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Hadn't read further than a couple of paragraphs when I had to stop and laugh at at this absurdity (and perhaps profound truth).
Quote:
The evidence for this trick is in perforated seashells from more than 80,000 years ago that ended up far from the nearest coast, an indication that inlanders were bartering to get ornamental seashells from coastal dwellers.
A good reminder that our entire economic system, our entire civilization, is based on vanity - our desire for pretty things as status symbols.
Eventually we became more sophisticated and substituted gold for seashells, but didn't we pick gold over other symbols of wealth because it was pretty and shiny, didn't tarnish, and is malleable into pretty things?
OK, suitably chastened, I will resume reading.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
I am curious of the thoughts of others on the subject.
Having seen my parents and grand-parents live through the collapse of the British Empire including wars that threatened their very existence and still be the funniest, most positive people you are ever likely to meet, then I have no big fears for the future.

Doom and gloom disaster forecasts are ever present and sometimes they come true but they are way beyond my control so I don't worry too much about them.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:58 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
There is a little cartoon bubble icon above the post reply that will surround selected text with the quote delimiters. I think it's there above the quick reply box too - yes, it's the last little icon.

Audrey
The quote symbol looks like this
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Quote symbol.JPG (7.9 KB, 297 views)
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndependentlyPoor View Post
A good reminder that our entire economic system, our entire civilization, is based on vanity - our desire for pretty things as status symbols.
Eventually we became more sophisticated and substituted gold for seashells, but didn't we pick gold over other symbols of wealth because it was pretty and shiny, didn't tarnish, and is malleable into pretty things?
ALSO - relatively rare. I think that is a big part of it too!

Audrey
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Having seen my parents and grand-parents live through the collapse of the British Empire including wars that threatened their very existence and still be the funniest, most positive people you are ever likely to meet, then I have no big fears for the future.

Doom and gloom disaster forecasts are ever present and sometimes they come true but they are way beyond my control so I don't worry too much about them.
The advantage of living in a developed country, and a large one like the US, is that it would not be a fall, but a decline, a slide, giving us time to react, to ponder the gloomy predictions of doomsayers, and to take corrective actions if necessary. Citizens of little countries like Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, did not have such luxuries.

Yes, I am grateful to be here, to have houses and even an RV to spend the rest of my life in pursuit of happiness, and I will pursue it to Alaska and Prince Edward Island if I need to (Don't know about going beyond that though ).
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Having seen my parents and grand-parents live through the collapse of the British Empire including wars that threatened their very existence and still be the funniest, most positive people you are ever likely to meet, then I have no big fears for the future.

Doom and gloom disaster forecasts are ever present and sometimes they come true but they are way beyond my control so I don't worry too much about them.
Same here!

And I have already been through two severe bear markets since I retired. And that was after seeing great economic growth and bull market activity during most of my working years and this included a resurgence of the US as a dominant economic power.

And when I was a child we lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK assassination, numerous other assassinations, very turbulent 60s, Cold War, Vietnam War, rampant 70s inflation, fuels shocks in the 70s. The 80s and 90s were years of relative global peace and economic expansion. We just seem to be getting back to the more "normal" cr@P now.

I don't spend a lot of time worrying about the "demise" of the US. It doesn't bother me if the US is no longer the dominant economic power it has been and sees relative decline. That is going to take a long time, even if we don't have additional US economic innovations which we likely will. So IMO the more serious consequences of a demise are likely well after my lifetime.

It's pretty much out of my hands. I focus on my life and enjoying it and being involved in things I care about.

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Old 05-18-2010, 10:28 AM   #17
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Speaking of Gloom & Doom, one of its leading proponents has a very timely commentary today.

12 ways to cash in on the 'collapse of Eaarth': Our 'hot, flat, crowded' -- and dying -- planet is the next 'big short'
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:50 AM   #18
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Here's something for those of you who are serious about doom and gloom:

Man Selling Spots In Hidden Bunker Called Vivos As Last Hope - cbs2.com

Quote:
Vicino plans to offer a solution that he calls the ultimate life insurance policy. He says his complex will sustain life in the event of an Armageddon-like disaster, such as a nuclear blast, natural disaster, chemical and biological attacks, or even the predicted end of the world according to the Mayans -- 2012. It is a scenario that has often been played out on the big screen and chronicled in newsmagazines.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:55 AM   #19
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Same here!

And I have already been through two severe bear markets since I retired. And that was after seeing great economic growth and bull market activity during most of my working years and this included a resurgence of the US as a dominant economic power.

And when I was a child we lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK assassination, numerous other assassinations, very turbulent 60s, Cold War, Vietnam War, rampant 70s inflation, fuels shocks in the 70s. The 80s and 90s were years of relative global peace and economic expansion. We just seem to be getting back to the more "normal" cr@P now.
I grew up in the jolly 80's and 90's and the recent doom and gloom feels nothing like "normal" cr@p to me. I also grew up in a secular country, so I am not used to people taking religious doom and gloom seriously.

Perhaps because of that, I am one of those "simpletons" who think that the world will survive just fine even if we have to overcome a few hurdles along the way.
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:09 AM   #20
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Perhaps because of that, I am one of those "simpletons" who think that the world will survive just fine even if we have to overcome a few hurdles along the way.
You are wrong about the world surviving.
Earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Earth's increasing surface temperature will accelerate the inorganic CO2 cycle, reducing its concentration to levels lethally low for plants (10 ppm for C4 photosynthesis) in approximately 500 million[19] to 900 million years.
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