Is This The End of the American Century?
Monday, March 20, 2017
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
My book “The End of the American Century” appeared in
2009. There I argued that the
combination of domestic decline and global change had put an end to the era of
U.S. global dominance, and that American citizens would have to come to terms
with a flattening standard of living and reduced global influence. This was not necessarily a bad thing, either
for the United States or for the rest of the world.
I finished writing the book during 2008, just as Barack Obama was mounting his stunning rise to the presidency. For the paperbound edition of the book, which appeared just after the election, I added an epilogue called “Reality and Hope in the Obama Era,” where I offered some hope that the new president could temper some of the problems I had raised. But I also cautioned that America’s problems (for example with education, violence, debt, inequality) were so deep-seated, and the global changes so persistent (e.g. globalization of production, rise of new powers, climate change) that his options would be limited.
Friday, November 18, 2016
Saturday, September 10, 2016
These are unsettling times.
Lately we have been witness to a continuing carnival of a presidential
election, a series of horrific terrorist attacks and massacres both here and
abroad, plus the British Brexit vote. People here, and in other countries, are
unsettled and uncertain. Indeed, the
world is unsettled and uncertain. In
this country, the appeal of Donald Trump is baffling in many ways, but it is
also understandable, given the wrenching changes underway in people's lives,
and in the world, and the fear and uncertainty that this occasions. This kind
of disruption, fear and uncertainty often leads people to seek simple
solutions, scapegoats and demagogues.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
The biggest impediment to U.S recovery is economic inequality. This is the central argument in my article "The U.S. No Longer Makes the Grade: Economic Inequality Put an End to the 'American Century"" in the Phi Kappa Phi Forum, vol. 92, No. 3. This article is available at Butler's "Digital Commons" site by clicking here. The footnotes for the article are temporarily available at the Forum's website at this link.
Correction: There is an important typo on page 7, column 1, 2nd paragraph. The sentence there should read as follows:
"A recent global study by the International Monetary Fund, for example, found that countries with strong economic growth tended to have greater income equality than those with weak growth...."
Comments and (civil!) discourse on this piece are welcome.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
In The End of the American Century, first published in 2008, I called attention to the disturbing growth of economic inequality in the U.S., to levels (even then) unprecedented since the Great Depression of the 1920s. But since 2008, in the midst of the "Great Recession," the situation has gotten even worse. A recent (3/25) New York Times op-ed by Steven Rattner, "The Rich Get Even Richer," notes that in 2010 (during the supposed economic recovery), "the top 1 percent took in 93 percent of the additional income" generated that year. A graphic linked to that article on line shows the pattern.
In a forthcoming article I have written which reflects on the themes of The End of the American Century, four years on, I contend that the unprecedented growth of economic inequality in the U.S. is the single biggest issue preventing the recovery of the United States--and in many ways the root cause of the many problems facing the U.S. in these difficult times.