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#749160 - 09/10/04 11:06 AM required reading for all who care about the future
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
for those who do not know, the author of this article, peter g. peterson, is one of the top investment bankers of the last 50 years. he's a former secretary of commerce under nixon. he now writes that the US is in a handbasket headed south fast.

i found this article to be apolitical, alarming, and a cautionary tale of what lies ahead based on current economic indicators.

read the article, and then contemplate the future we're going to have unless this country makes some big changes.

riding for a fall
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#749161 - 09/10/04 11:51 AM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6186
Sounds a bit like the "Imperial Overstretch" argument that folks like Stephen Roach and Marc Faber have been writing about for a while.
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www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#749162 - 09/10/04 01:34 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
John Andrew Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 3041
Loc: Southern California
Excellent, pique.

Unfortunately, such an article will only be accepted by those who accept the complexity of all of these poilicies.

Those who argue that everything is black and white and that actually thinking about them simply obfuscates them, will reject this.

Too bad, but that included the Bush Administration.
_________________________
You can be disappointed, but you cannot walk away. This fight has just begun. Senator John Edwards

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#749163 - 09/10/04 01:38 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
But john, to you everything the Bush Administration does is bad. Isn't that black and white thinking?
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Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#749164 - 09/10/04 01:41 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I'm still reading
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accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#749165 - 09/10/04 01:45 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
There is a long trail of "highly qualified experts on the subject" who have written entire books predicting the coming demise of the US economy stretching back over decades. I've got several of them. The first on I bought was back in the 70s. Scared the heck out of me. I was convinced that I needed to convert everything I owned into gold and hide it in a hole in the ground.

But then - I was a Democrat then, so I fell for this kind of stuff......
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#749166 - 09/10/04 04:26 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
erginc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 378
Loc: At my computer.
And now that Larry's got his miser's gold he wants to hang on to it. Hence as to why he is now a Republican.

Sorry Larry, just couldn't resist the opening. ;\)

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#749167 - 09/10/04 04:57 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
erginc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 378
Loc: At my computer.
Excellent article by the way Pique.

Especially in view of Bush's speech at the GOP convention which in my humble opinion as an outsider displayed this lack of economic foresight in all its glory.

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#749168 - 09/10/04 05:59 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
kathyk Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
Krugman, as usual hits the nail on the head.


It's the dishonesty, stupid. The real issue in the National Guard story isn't what George W. Bush did three decades ago. It's the recent pattern of lies: . . .

It wasn't always that way. Three years ago, those of us who accused the administration of cooking the budget books were ourselves accused, by moderates as well as by Bush loyalists, of being "shrill." These days the coalition of the shrill has widened to include almost every independent budget expert.

For example, back in February the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities accused the Bush administration of, in effect, playing three-card monte with budget forecasts. It pointed out that the administration's deficit forecast was far above those of independent analysts, and suggested that this exaggeration was deliberate.

"Overstating the 2004 deficit," the center wrote, "could allow the president to announce significant 'progress' on the deficit in late October - shortly before Election Day - when the Treasury Department announces the final figures."

Was this a wild accusation from a liberal think tank? No, it's conventional wisdom among experts. Two months ago Stanley Collender, a respected nonpartisan analyst, warned: "At some point over the next few weeks, the Office of Management and Budget will release the administration's midsession budget review and try to convince everyone the federal deficit is falling. Don't believe them."

He went on to echo the center's analysis. The administration's standard procedure, he said, is to initially issue an unrealistically high deficit forecast, which is "politically motivated or just plain bad." Then, when the actual number comes in below the forecast, officials declare that the deficit is falling, even though it's higher than the previous year's deficit.

Goldman Sachs says the same. Last month one of its analysts wrote that "the Office of Management and Budget has perfected the art of underpromising and overperforming in terms of its near-term budget deficit forecasts. This creates the impression that the deficit is narrowing when, in fact, it will be up sharply."

In other words, many reputable analysts think that the Bush administration routinely fakes even its short-term budget forecasts for the purposes of political spin. And the fakery in its long-term forecasts is much worse.

The administration claims to have a plan to cut the deficit in half over the next five years. But even Bruce Bartlett, a longtime tax-cut advocate, points out that "projections showing deficits falling assume that Bush's tax cuts expire on schedule." But Mr. Bush wants those tax cuts made permanent. That is, the administration has a "plan" to reduce the deficit that depends on Congress's not passing its own legislation.

Sounding definitely shrill, Mr. Bartlett says that "anyone who thinks we can overcome our fiscal mess without higher taxes is in denial." Far from backing down on his tax cuts, however, Mr. Bush is proposing to push the budget much deeper into the red with privatization programs that purport to offer something for nothing.

As Newsweek's Allan Sloan writes, "The president didn't exactly burden us with details about paying for all this. It's great marketing: show your audience the goodies but not the price tag. It's like going to the supermarket, picking out your stuff and taking it home without stopping at the checkout line to pay. The bill? That will come later."

. .
Nobody knows what Mr. Bush would really do about taxes and spending in a second term. What we do know is that on this, as on many matters, he won't tell the truth.


link

PS Oh, and if you're worried about your SS retirement, wait until Bush & Co. are done with their privitization plan.

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#749169 - 09/10/04 06:19 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Krugman, as usual hits the nail on the head.[/b]

Krugman doesn't even have a hammer.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#749170 - 09/10/04 06:21 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
PS Oh, and if you're worried about your SS retirement, wait until Bush & Co. are done with their privitization plan.[/b]

THEY WANT TO STARVE OUR CHILDREN!!

THEY WANT TO TAKE AWAY YOUR SOS-SECURITY!!

THEY'RE COMING FOR YOUR BABIES!!

....... good grief.......
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#749171 - 09/10/04 06:23 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14051
Loc: Louisiana
There is one thing I've learned about the U.S. economy, through a lifetime of working in it, and a lifetime reading about it:

There is no such animal as an accurate economist.

And even when they are partially correct, there's always somebody getting rich, even during a depression.

Live to be poor, and I'll guaranty you'll be that way.
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www.coffee-room.com

Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#749172 - 09/10/04 09:32 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
jolly, the man isn't an economist. he's an investment banker. there's quite a difference. one is a theorist and often an ideologue. the latter lives in the real world.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#749173 - 09/10/04 10:50 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1759
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
Since this thread and this article were submitted thoughtfully by pique, I decided Id just have to give it a thoughtful try.

The first thing I noticed was that it was from Foreign Affairs, the print organ of the Council on Foreign Relations. Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that there is something inherently un-American or sinister about the CFR, let me just say that I happen to know many folks from both political parties and a wide spectrum of views who are associates or one time fellows of the CFR. What the CFR label told me was that I was in for a long academic read, as Foreign Affairs articles tend to be quite long, and are often of two distinct and quite different types; 1) they are the distilled diatribe of the Council, putting forth a view of matters that the Council as a whole might like to see spread more widely or 2) they represent trial balloons by the guest authors. Armed with no more skepticism than this I began readingand right away I noticed this article was clearly a 1 in that Mr. Peterson is current chairman of the CFR and therefore this paper (ostensibly by a moderate Republican) represents the opinion of the Council rather than an unendorsed idea by a prized academic.

This then is a watch it George message aimed directly at the President and his team. The message is among other things that he is spending far too much money and in the wrong places. Since I can only speculate about what military sense it makes to have our troops operating in an open borders country like occupied Iraq, allowing more terrorists in every day to engage our troops (and now Iraqi troops) and by the way losing by far bigger numbers than anyone is reporting; by as much as fifty to one hundred to one, Ill only suggest that perhaps it is better to engage them there than here. Ditto that it makes more sense to obsolesce military equipment in a place like Iraq rather than here and keep the jobs etc. that support much of that military tail here, where most of them are.

There are stranger and more complex weapons systems that will follow, again to be tried elsewhere against even more pinpoint targets. These too are being developed in the US rather than elsewhere. We already have some things that we havent used yet that would really tick off the rest of the world. Oh come on, you cant use that its too big an advantage. It would also instantly brand the US as genocidal in the current political climate. There is a certain logic to developing new weapons systems and a new kind of soldier to match at many times the older weaponry that anyone else might have. The goal is not balance but supremacy. Is there a hegemonistic thread running through this current group around the President? Oh sure there is. Does the CFR support it? Of course not. CFR is a globalist outfit from the get go. They still think we can all get along.


And by the way the hegemony is Bush style, quieter and gentler than anyone supposes because there are factors outside the US who are quietly hoping, some of them banking on it, that the US will finally put an end to the source of almost all the worlds terror movements. But these things have to be done delicately or a lot of people are going to end up hurt or killed. Some have even suggested that this would be a good time to do an Independence Day stunt with fake aliens and spacecraft etc. of course to draw the world together, even our present foes. But dont count on it.

Last week we had a gruesome reminder of what these people are capable of and nary was there any whisper of apology from even moderate sources with in the religion of peace. Their silence spoke volumes and the world is listening.

So what is the problem? According to Peterson, were spending too much money on an adventure in Iraq while Italy spends more on social security payments to its elderly and neither situation is affordable long term. The one is looked upon as irresponsible and dangerous because its just no good for America to be that far out ahead of everyone else in military hardware and not being able to be superbly generous to our elderly. The CFR globalist position was that the US should have accepted matters the way they were in the Middle East, should have accepted the 9/11 attack as justified because we were too one sided in our support of Israel, etc. etc. The CFRs globalist position also accepts various corruption and kick back schemes as inevitable (like the UNs) and resents the US muscling in on the game and if not getting all for itself at least edging others in Europe and Asia out. And why is it always Iraq? Are they still sore about their broken contracts? Look at the size of their GDPs compared to ours and you tell me. We are still in Afghanistan, and half a dozen other places in and around the Middle East. Well of course Saddam Hussein and the Bushs DID have some connection, some personal scores that needed settling. And if George Soros was such a savior why didnt he run or why hasnt he put his money squarely behind Kerry? (Because Kerry is obviously too embarrassing a candidate to back?) Or maybe Soros will ram his big boat through the stock market in October (and make lots more money himself by having his ship carve a big wake through it) But then if Soros did that and remained in the country long enough the SEC would be after him and if he destroyed hundreds of thousands or millions of peoples lives because of his huge buys and huge sells (as he did in the Korean market some time back) what kind of savior would he be?

Its just that some people, the CFR, the Europeans, John Kerry, just cant abide the idea of America being supreme. Well, there are some in this country who really cant abide the idea of any other country being supreme as a matter of trust. There is still enough independence left in this country that a lot of people want to come here, not all for the right reasons, but those reasons are abundantly clear once one compares them with anyplace they might have come from, even a fairly nice place like France, a place I might add that would not exist were it not for the strength of American arms. Perhaps the nicest thing about France might be that they still speak French there. Wonder how long that will last?

Peterson said It is only a matter of time before American voters will, or at least should, insist that more be done. Indeed, this insistence may crystallize overnight come the next serious terrorist scare. Im certain that it will and the result is likely to be a form of martial law where racial profiling can and will be used to round up potential sources of more terrorism and the vast majority of Americans will approve because there will have been that many more fatalities. The Bush administration is just saying, we cant do these things now, too politically dangerous. If another 9/11 happens lots of things will be different practically overnight. My guess is that the terrorists havent had enough of us yet and will attempt to take over a school somewhere as they did in Russia. By now Id think the Russian mood was far from conciliatory. (In many ways Russia was always our best potential ally. One of my ancestors was our first Ambassador to Russia. Maybe thats why I feel that way.)

On the budget and deficits, yes Peterson makes some sense, except that he is talking $540 billion in a $10.6 trillion a year economy. This is so fractional that it literally beggars the imagination. Lets put GDP in another context. China is currently #2 with a GDP of approximately $5.7 trillion (slightly more than half our GDP), Japan is third at $3.5 trillion, India fourth with $2.6 trillion and Germany at fifth $2.2 trillion. France, the UK and Italy in that order come next all in the $1.5 trillion range. As anyone can tell you who has been abroad, there are many wealthy people in these countries who live quite nice lives thank-you very much. But they fall down the scale when compared with the US because there are just that many more well off people at all stages of US society than there are in France, Britain or Italy and this is noticeable to some extent; things arent quite as good over there as they are here for the vast majority of people. Another advantage we have here is of course space. But what really sets America apart from everywhere else is that one can be a George Soros or Warren Buffett here if one wants. And with fabulous wealth at the command of a few people with a global perspective that features America as the only outstanding beacon of absolute liberty covered by a secure civilization on the planet, you can imagine thered be plenty of incentive to keep it that way as long as possible, and amazingly enough from abroad too.

And heres a nice savory piece of straight economic thinking, If nothing else were to change, borrowing would continue until foreigners accumulated all the U.S. assets they cared to own, at which point a rise in interest rates (choking off investment) and a decline in the dollar (choking off imports and stimulating exports) would gradually close the current-account deficit. It would not entirely disappear, but it would close sufficiently to stabilize foreign holdings as a share of the U.S. economy. Afterward, Americans would cease to borrow as much from the rest of the world. In the absence of an increase in the national savings rate, people would just have to get by with less investment in their own economy and debt-service payments would no longer rise. Instead, Americans would simply make do with less capital, slower growth in GDP, and, of course, a slower rate of increase in their living standards. Looks good on paper but it wont work out that way and Peterson knows it.

We never complain that British, French or Italians own too much of our assets. There was a big Japan scare and yet at no time has Japan ever owned as much of us as a country like Holland has. Something fishy there. Im not talking paper debt, Im talking real assets. As for paper I believe that the Taiwanese and South Koreans are pretty heavy holders of our paper as are the Japanese, the Singaporeans and increasingly the Indians and Chinese. Lots of Europeans hold our paper too. But its government paper, only a drop in the bucket. Americans are everywhere on the move, on the go, buying this, changing that, going from job to job and even family to family, home to home. The trick is to do all this an increase ones wealth not ones debt. It apparently happens for quite a few. Does anyone bother to compare that with the expense of doing any of this anywhere else in the world or even of its feasibility? No, of course not. The terrorists are busy trying to find a way to stop it. They want to turn the world back to the 7th century with all hands on the ground 5 times a day pointed to Mecca. It wont happen. Mecca will be marked by a big spark and a mushroom cloud before that ever happens. The only question is who will have had enough first, us or someone else? My guess is that for the moment were pretty tolerant. I bet that even the Saudi Arabian royals are fairly pacified despite their internal problems. Of course that could change as things do.

In closing I want to thank pique for bringing this article to our attention. It was certainly among the better written ones and more informative than many weve seen here.

Oh, and youre so right, fear is thief of dreams. Another reason why America is and has remained and shall remain on top.
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David Burton's Blog
http://dpbmss041010.blogspot.com/

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#749174 - 09/10/04 11:42 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6186
Somewhat related article:

U.S. Treasury Shows Actual 2003 Federal Deficit at $3.7 Trillion [/b]

Some quotes:
 Quote:
The gimmicked accounting standards, as established during the Johnson era, and as used today for official, unified budget reporting, show a 2003 deficit of $374.3 billion. Using GAAP reporting (without Social Security reporting), the official GAAP deficit for 2003 expands to $665.0 billion. Including accounting for Social Security and related areas, the 2003 deficit balloons to $3,702 billion, or $3.7 trillion.[2] The accounting reflects no adjustment for the new, more expensive Medicare program.

...
Footnote [2]: Financial Report of the United States Government, 2003, Financial Management Services, U.S. Treasury, page 4, "Overall Perspective" table. The $3.7 deficit is the difference between "Total Assets minus Total Liabilities & Net Responsibilities," otherwise known as "Net Worth," in 2003 versus 2002, deficit net worths respectively of $34.8 trillion and $31.1 trillion. The $3.7 trillion deterioration is the actual shortfall in 2003 government operations.
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#749175 - 09/11/04 03:36 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
david,
thanks for your thoughtful, and, as usual, informed analysis.

of course, how one interprets all of this depends on one's values, one's agenda, and one's world view.

my primary concern, after reading the article, is that we could become the next soviet union, paralyzed and then ultimately imploding from the intense emphasis on defense spending and development of weapons.

the soviets did this in response to the arms race, and we won. now we're doing it in response to far more elusive and ill-defined threat--terrorism.

i don't know what the answer is, but it does seem to me, from peterson's analysis, that the terrorists are killing us from the inside out.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#749176 - 09/11/04 04:16 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
All this talk about the deficit needs to be kept in perspective. In sheer dollars, yes, it's a bigger number of dollars than we've had before. But when you factor in the value of that dollar, the size of the economic base and its potential to pay off that debt, it doesn't come close to the size of the deficit we had under Jimmy Carter.

As far as ending up spending ourselves into oblivion on military related stuff like Russia did, that isn't even possible. The only way it could become possible is if you tax the producers in this country to the point that they can no longer afford to produce. That's why the "taxcuts for the rich" crap thumped on over and over again by the Democrats is such a red herring. What keeps our economy going, in fact what built it in the first place, is the producers of economic equity, not the users of it. Every time the Left tries to take this issue on, they end up stuck defending a socialistic economy of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need", all while swearing up and down that's not what they're saying. If it's not what they're saying, then they don't understand economics.

The wealthiest 1 percent earns 15 percent of the income and pays 34 percent of all individual income taxes. By comparison, the bottom 50 percent of all taxpayers earn 14 percent of all income and pay just 5 percent of all individual income taxes. Most of the *jobs* that the majority of the bottom 50% have are generated by those in the 51 - 99% middle. As such, *they* are the ones that need tax relief, not the bottom 50%, because they are the ones that keep the bottom 50% working. If you want to see the US end up like Russia, raise the taxes on the job *generating* group. That's what Kerry wants to do, that's what the Democrats keep arguing for, and that's exactly what will push us into a third world situation. On the other hand, let those who generate the jobs keep more of their money, and they'll generate more jobs. Their employees will make more money, who will in turn spend more money (that's why they're on the bottom, you know) which will cause a need for more jobs.

In short, get rid of the Democrats and their socialistic ideas about economics, and let the people have their money. This country will pay off the deficit in short order, and crank out all the military equipment we need for whatever we need done. And misguided investment bankers will have to write about other things.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#749177 - 09/11/04 07:25 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1759
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
The importance of relative GDP should not be underestimated. Americas lead is tied directly to it and those countries which cannot compete simply havent the excess capacity to do some of the things America can and will be doing.

America becoming another Soviet Union? What wed need is a much higher rate of totalitarianism from the top with the typical abject terror of same from the citizens. Russia had a long history of same. Of course it would be down to subsistence, and the only way youd stay in a place like that is to seal the borders from the inside. When you have more people wanting to leave America than wish to come in, then youll know the country is finished.

It was amazing that at no time in the past was the Soviet Unions GDP more than 14% of the US and yet they were considered a serious rival. Just as the USSR succeeded in posing a serious threat to us with an internal totalitarian agenda, WHILE AIDED BY TRAITORS HERE AND ELSEWHERE, so it is possible that some other state or regime might try the same thing. CERTAINLY SADDAM HUSSEIN would have liked trying, and THERE WERE PLENTY OF PEOPLE WILLING TO HELP HIM, which explains why so many people are so sore at President Bush. In fact well never really know what Saddam had or how close he was to having it, which is ok with me. I even had some sources telling me that Saddams scientists (many from Germany as well as Russia) had somehow cracked some of our leading edge research into extremely heavy atomic elements and was on the verge of developing an anti-matter bomb, something so dangerous that one the size of the Hiroshima bomb would destroy a quarter of the earth within seconds and of course the rest of the world would end within minutes. Yes, there are such possible weapons. But also there are such sources of tremendous energy that eventually, if we can get beyond this stage of human development, practically limitless amounts of clean electrical energy can be had for less than pennies a gigawatt.

No, I dont think Peterson is saying wed end up as a Soviet Union. I think he thinks we should be planning on becoming like just another France, Britain or Italy with an aging population in need of support, since weve all allowed so much abortion that the only way any of us can make up the difference is to import more people from the third world, and basically get along with everyone, allow the usual forms of corruption, etc. etc.

Except that the demographics are all against a continuance of civilization in any way that we have ever known it, as Ive stated many times reaching its apogee in this country in about 1959. From that time on Ive seen many technological changes for the better, like the internet, but most changes pointing to a devaluation of life, a corrosion of values on all levels, the appearance of frankly obscene shows of the basest tribal culture, a diminution of basic reading and writing skills (including the ability to read music) and a general loss of respect for anything or anyone that dares to rise above the general baseness of contemporary American culture. So while I accept as imperative that America must remain on top, Im critical of where the countrys culture is going (largely into the toilet) and concerned that it would be perceived (as it is perceived by perhaps at least one fifth of the world) as not worth very much preserving.

Here are my fundamental criticisms of contemporary American culture in encapsulated form:

1) An emphasis on youthfulness, teenaged youthfulness, especially in physical appearance. Oh, but while it is necessary, especially for women, to try and appear as youthful as possible, there is this whole piercing and tattooing thing going on, especially in places that cant be seen too readily, the tongue, the navel, other places. A part of this is also the weird idea of being sexually appealing, and active, but not having children. Being mothers and fathers in the traditional sense is somehow not as cool as remaining kids for as long as possible. And along with this is sort of a glorification of the high school years as if we should all think of them as the times of our lives and everything before them or after them is mere dullsville.

2) An emphasis on financial success. How much does one really need to be rich enough? Im not suggesting, as I once did when I was a young socialist, that we merely place a ceiling on how much any individual could ever hold at one time, nor am I suggesting that it is rewarding, glamorous or spiritually beneficial to be impoverished. Im just wondering why just being ordinary middle class American isnt good enough for most to aspire to? Because we cant appear on TV? Because we cant influence millions to .. do, think, react, what?

3) Super intelligence, even of the kind thats bordering on nerdiness, if its coupled with the other two make one super cool. A really smart person is talented in so many ways that they dont even have to try, they just do. This is what we were taught, HUGE MISTAKE, by Yoda the Jedi. You want to play a Beethoven sonata? Better plan on doing some serious work. You think it comes easy? Youll never know the joy without the effort.

Lets put it all together; a guy in his 40s who looks 25, has a quarter billion dollars and a 180 IQ. Thats what America worships as an ideal. If we could crank em out and put em on TV we would. Its put out there so that everyone else can chase the dream. The female equivalent is the perpetual child woman who never has children and never grows old, who shops on Rodeo Drive or some other similar place, has a fabulous wardrobe, perhaps a pampered pet, might have a big bank account too and might be really smart but in a way so fast that no ordinary man could ever catch her. Such women were once castigated as the bitch goddess success that all men secretly wanted. Britney Spears is a caricature of one.

I know that I have said these things imperfectly. How could I not? Im not really as good at it as some of you are. But if Ive struck a few chords perhaps youll be able to state it better than I have.

What it seems to me is this; if we are really going to save our country and keep it as a shining beacon on a hill for the rest of humanity, then hadnt we better come up with something a bit more MATURE and REALISTIC and BEAUTIFUL that as a way of life is worthy of respect and worth preserving? And isnt this the same dilemma once faced by the ancients, especially Rome?
_________________________
David Burton's Blog
http://dpbmss041010.blogspot.com/

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#749178 - 09/11/04 07:34 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
David you are one brilliant guy.

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#749179 - 09/11/04 07:37 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
he's much better to read than peter, in a different way. Makes one think
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#749180 - 09/11/04 07:43 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
Yea, how come HE'S not in Forign Affairs magazine?

David--you should write something and publish.

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#749181 - 09/11/04 09:38 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
david,
fundamental to your analysis seems to be the principle that america must be "number one." why? why is that important? aren't we strong enough already?

When you have more people wanting to leave America than wish to come in, then youll know the country is finished. [/b]

i know so many, many people who are ready to move to canada if bush is elected in november, it is very sobering. tonight, after receiving an email from my brother who announces he is dead serious about emigrating to canada if bush wins (my brother is working 12 hours a day on the kerry campaign in new mexico right now), my husband and i joked that we'd better hurry up and buy canadian real estate before the election, when prices will no doubt skyrocket if it goes the 'wrong" way.

as for your critique of american culture, as you well know, david, you and i are kindred spirits when it comes to cultural issues. \:\)

however, i don't see body piercing as a threat to western civilization, any more than long hair was in the 1960s. i do worry about some of the young people i've gotten to know who do a lot of body piercing, however. i think it is an outlet for their desire for self-mutilation, and that does say something about our society.

the glorification of high school has been going on for several decades already. my parents witnessed the same thing. i also can't understand it. i'm convinced that one's 50s are the real golden era. being an adolescent was complete hell.

i strongly agree with you on #2. it is the chief illness of our society.

i know a surprising number of people who fit your description of the american ideal, both men and women. there is a class of people in this society for whom that is the norm. they are the people in the "glamour" professions: publishing, finance, theater, etc.

but, at the same time, in my experience, most people in america aspire to nothing more than finding a nice man/woman and settling down to lead a modest life, and raise some children and have a family. i also know tons of people like that. and lots of children for whom that is their fantasy of adulthood, NOT the britney spears model.

so, i think in that regard we are better off than you imagine. the people in america's so-called heartland are already leading the kind of life and have the sort of aspirations that you admire, and have for generations, and i don't think that has changed.

what has gone down the tubes is our educational system. as a result, more people are homeschooling now than ever; fewer people read, play an instrument, or can think critically.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#749182 - 09/11/04 10:28 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1759
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
You know, last year I visited a country and a place that I really felt, oddly, was really or could be home to me, and it was the people as much as everything else. The place was Scotland and the town was Conon Bridge just west of Inverness. I shouldnt have been surprised as I supposedly have some roots in Scotland somewhere in my family background. It wasnt perfect. They had some of the same problems we had.

What problems do ye have?
Droogs man, we have em in town at night. Cant walk after dark. Could get robbed.
What kind of drugs, marijuana?
Marijuana? The guy doubled over laughing No, no, creck cocaine!
Really! Somewhat surprised.
Aye!
But where does it come from?
From off the ships, Roossian ships.
Oh I see.

Yes, and of course the international criminal money laundering drug trade continues because it is a black market kept going by bigwigs of various countries who couldnt make fabulous fortunes overnight any other way. So it is everywhere. The CFR folks dont really care about it as they assume black trade has been going on forever and can never be stopped. Well, perhaps theyre right.

But Scotland, despite Inverness being perhaps the fastest growing town in Great Britain, is solid in a way that I found refreshing. I told them that they had a great country full of wonderful people and I hoped theyd be able to keep it that way. They largely agreed. Wish I always felt the same about my own country. People there do with much less, but are not wanting for much of anything. And what a country! I wanted to bike and hike all over it. I simply couldnt imagine so much diversity of terrain was tucked away on Great Britain, an amazing island. A place like Scotland will never be number one the way America is, but it is number one to just about everyone in Scotland. I felt it was almost a matter of the heart with them and with me. Fewer people by the year feel that way about America.

Those who go to Canada just because Bush wins I guess can go there. It seems very silly to me. Hope they feel good about being Canadians. If I had to leave America I think Id seriously consider going to Scotland. I loved Edinburgh too, would probably end up there as theres plenty of work I could do and transportation is easier. But I really do have some place in my heart for Scotland and I wish I felt the same about whats happening in my own country. Maybe Ill be taking more vacations to Scotland.
_________________________
David Burton's Blog
http://dpbmss041010.blogspot.com/

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#749183 - 09/11/04 10:44 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Pique, I'm sorry, but anyone so silly as to decide to move to Canada just because Bush is reelected needs to just go ahead and move. Good riddance.
_________________________
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

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#749184 - 09/11/04 11:14 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
erginc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 378
Loc: At my computer.
erginc is a Scott, plaid blood through and through, from the wee isles of the Outer Hebrides. My mother's side is from Skye and spoke primarily Gaelic up until the sixties. Alas the language died in our family with my mother's generation. My father's family is from an area east of Loch Lomond, complete with the wee-ist castle on an even wee-er island.

Harris and Lewis are one of the most magical places on this earth. Next time you go be sure to visit, it's like stepping into a malfunctioning time machine and going sideways a 100 years.

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#749185 - 09/11/04 11:38 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1759
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by erginc:
Harris and Lewis are one of the most magical places on this earth. Next time you go be sure to visit, it's like stepping into a malfunctioning time machine and going sideways a 100 years. [/b]
Glad to meet ye, and much obliged. \:\)
_________________________
David Burton's Blog
http://dpbmss041010.blogspot.com/

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#749186 - 09/12/04 08:05 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Mike Morone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 46
Loc: Indiana
 Quote:
Originally posted by piqu:



i know so many, many people who are ready to move to canada if bush is elected in november, it is very sobering. . [/b]
I would guess that the people referred to are some of our less productive members of society. Will they need U-Hauls to move their belongings or will a couple of shopping carts suffice?

Mike

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#749187 - 09/13/04 08:30 AM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
Renauda Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
 Quote:
Originally posted by piqu:
i know so many, many people who are ready to move to canada if bush is elected in november.... [/b]
What would they hope to gain? At least by remaining in the US they can work to affect the changes they wish. By moving here they become passive bystanders whose voice is of no concern and barely warrants attention.

Better to move to Alaska and enjoy the fresh air and nature.
_________________________
"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae

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#749188 - 09/13/04 08:54 AM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
tcmod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 862
Loc: NC
David, great post, but your friend's info on the antimatter bomb is way off the mark. While the WMD's have thus far evaded us, I don't think we would miss a particle accelerator. This is from Space.com

If you want to make antimatter, you'd better plan to have a particle accelerator on hand and everything that goes with it: radiation shielding, a massive power supply, steering magnets, state-of-the-art particle detectors and powerful computers, along with an army of scientists, engineers, technicians and administrators to design, organize and run experiments. Unless you are somehow able to recreate the Big Bang in your backyard, to get your antimatter factory off the ground youll need a minimum of a half-billion dollars to get your gear up and running.

Antiparticles dont just pop out of thin air. To generate them, you have to slam something (a beam of ordinary matter particles, say) into a small gas or liquid target material. Youll need a miles- (kilometers-) long accelerator to get your proton beam up to (light) speed. You use protons since theyre about 2,000 times more massive than lightweight electrons and thus produce more subatomic debris, including antiprotons. Once you have your target squared away, your beam going and all your equipment in perfect working order, its time to sit back and wait for all those antiprotons youre anticipating.

You wait a while. Then youll wait a while longer. Then theres some more waiting. Come to think of it, you could be waiting for a couple of weeks.

For every 1 million protons sent careening into the target, a mere 20 antiprotons are produced. At least, thats true at nuclear physics facility Fermilab, outside Chicago in Batavia, Illinois. Says Dave McGinnis, an antiproton expert and department head of Fermilabs Antiproton Source, "Most of what comes off is heat, radiation and a zoo -- a whole bunch of particles you dont want."

Once you have antiparticles you have to store them safely. Otherwise, they will annihilate in interactions with ordinary matter, including air molecules. Scientists now are perfecting cold traps, devices cooled to near absolute zero, that should store much larger numbers of antiprotons.

Not that were talking huge amounts. So far the total amount of antimatter produced worldwide is a fraction of the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

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#749189 - 09/13/04 09:44 PM Re: required reading for all who care about the future
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1759
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
Tcmod, that was a great analysis most of which was similar to what I was told by my sources, including that they believed Saddam was building a particle accelerator near Tikrit, a vast underground area of many tens of square miles. The amounts of energy required were also fairly suspicious. We thought maybe he was interested in doing some kind of particle research with some WMD as an ultimate goal. But, just as it may turn out with the documents attempting to portray the President in a bad light, all the documents they could show were orders and deliveries of materials from Germany, France and North Korea to build such a facility, and it was never clear whether a particle accelerator had ever been built. We do know that Saddam did have built extensive underground facilities near Baghdad as well as Tikrit by German and Russian engineering teams who were fully capable of building more sophisticated facilities than mere bunkers. Some of these were reportedly pretty elaborate. Its hard to know just what to believe sometimes. There are those who believe that the manned space missions, especially to the moon, were all faked since the level of radiation starting with the solar wind is believed by some to pose such a hazard as to be invariably fatal. In this time, all we know for sure is that 9/11 happened and that the school massacre in Russia happened. We also know of the offensives in Afghanistan and Iraq. We hear of terrorist cells being broken in many other places around the world too. We hear this and that. Very hard to know whats really the truth. But just because the possibility seems remote to you or me doesnt mean that it hasnt been happening. Theres still a lot we dont know.
_________________________
David Burton's Blog
http://dpbmss041010.blogspot.com/

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