The End Of Affluence Essay Research Paper — страница 4

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thinking,? ?Yes, you can,? and ?I?ll do it my way.? No matter how bad things get we still expect someone or something to make it better. Technology is what most people point to as the item that will restore and maintain America?s prosperity. We are taught from a very early age that technology has been the driving force behind America?s success. We were made to memorize a string of inventions that spurred our economic growth. It seems only logical to us that this will continue to be the case. We think that new inventions and technologies will continue to spur an ever-expanding economy. We turn a blind eye to the fact that many of the technologies that we claim expanded our economy had little effect on other countries. Railroads that are said to have spurred economic growth in

America were used the world over. They did not have the same economic impact on other countries as America. It may be that the benefits of future technological developments may pass us by. Maintaining marketplace superiority has also become increasingly difficult. An advanced computer system can just as easily be manufactured in India as it can in America and increasingly the worker needed to develop and manufacture it there is available locally. The volume of new patents registered by citizens and institutions of other nations is now almost equal to our own. The American share of high technology export market has fallen from 40 to 36 percent. All of this along with the fact that the profit margin in the manufacturing sector continues to fall, makes the likelihood of some new

technology restoring the good old days to America very small. American business has also held the idea that if only we can become more efficient we can maintain and or restore our superiority on the world stage. This has not been the case. All that really has developed is a decline in profit margins, which allows less money for future research and development of new products. Streamlining production has also reduced work forces and resulted in a general decline in average wages. This has a snowball effect on the economy by having less money available for spending by consumers. Education has also been hard hit over the last two decades. We spend less of a percentage of our earnings on education than we did before 1971. People no longer go to college in order to ensure a rapidly

rising in standard of living, they go in order to help insure that they will maintain a middle class standard. Many people believe that a bright future lies in free trade with emerging markets. This is based on the idea that we will all make something that someone else wants. History has not shown this to be the case. Emerging markets grow a much higher rate than our own. This growth comes from developing export markets to developed nations. We are buying from them. These emerging markets also attract our investment capital because they promise higher rates of return. This leads to a decline in investment at home. America?s optimism often blinds us to the changes happening in the world. Trends seem to indicate that America will not maintain its position of superiority in the

world indefinitely. In actuality, our position has been steadily declining for decades. Maintaining an unrealistic optimism about America regaining its former position or even maintain what we have now is farfetched. America needs to develop a realistic economic policy based on the world today. However, it seems as if we have lost our bearing. Unlike the dramatic consequences of a market crash or a sudden steep recession, the damage done by slow economic growth accumulates gradually and mostly imperceptibly. After the 1970?s we as a nation have struggled to make ends meet in our national budget. This is something we did not have to worry about before. In the 1930?s we financed Social Security with no worries of how we would pay for it. No broad political consensus opposed massive

pensions paid out. We also mistakenly believed Lyndon Johnson could finance the Great Society and fight the Vietnam War without raising taxes. And why not? Economic growth had always exempted us from serious personal sacrifices as we paid for the social and other domestic programs that we agreed were necessary. By the time of the Health-Care debate in 1994 this was obviously no longer the case. Americans have generally underestimated how unusual our economic advantages once were, and how they have influenced the way we solve our social problems. The economic progresses most Americans have enjoyed since the early 1800s, and which we still take largely for granted, were unprecedented. By the early 1970s, as we have seen, this rapid progress had slowed sharply for the large majority