The End Of Affluence Essay Research Paper — страница 5

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of Americans, and was reversed for many of us. Economic growth had averaged more than 3.5 percent a year since 1820, and fallen to a rate of 2.3 percent a year since 1973. The consequences of the slow economic growth since 1973 have been borne more heavily by some of us than by others, but it has frustrated almost all of us in ways more or less subtle. Wages and salaries have fallen, stagnated, or grown unusually slow for most Americans no matter how well educated they were. In part, it is inevitable that the losses have been especially steep for the young with only a high school education. These young and inexperienced workers are the first to lose their jobs when unemployment rises, as has happened consistently since the 1960s. But the jobs lost in manufacturing and other areas

because of greater international competition, fragmenting markets, flexible production, and declining investment have taken a bigger toll on young and less educated workers as we recede from an economy dominated by mass production and distribution. Despite the presumption by some that too many Americans are not working hard enough, Americans in fact responded to their changing economic fortunes by working much harder. The average full-time male employee now works about a week and a half longer a year than in 1973, the first extended increase in hours worked in this century. Seven million workers hold at least two jobs, the highest proportion in fifty years. The number of two-worker families rose by more than 20 percent in the 1980s. However, this increased effort did not offset

the damage done by slow growth. Some experts argue that the quality, variety, and ingenuity of the new products of the past two decades have made up for our stagnating or falling wages and lost leisure time. But, miraculous new time-saving products have been coming along since the beginning of human culture. Man has always been making more and better tools. It would be difficult to prove that they have improved our lives in greater increments than the products of the past. The difference however, is that now fewer and fewer Americans can afford to buy more, or have the financial peace of mind with which to enjoy them. As slow growth continues, our anxiety may worsen and our public discourse becomes even more driven by fear. The social rifts that have appeared may widen as we face

a future for which our history has not prepared us. This leads us to a topic that we need to learn and understand to survive in this slow economic period. Let?s analyze ?what we face in the future?. Slow economic growth is the downfall to our recovery in the United States. However, a successful society can solve its problems in unanticipated ways. Energy and innovation typically arise from surprising places, more often from the bottom than the top. It will take a concerted effort from all Americans to help in the return to a prosperous nation. No one can say for certain that we won?t return to our rapid rate of economic growth. Business reforms, interactive communications new industrial techniques, overseas markets, and our progress in cutting the federal deficit and interest

rates may produce faster economic growth than they have so far. Still other, unanticipated solutions for our slow growth may yet emerge. While these prospects are remote, you can determine for yourselves whether or not we are returning to rapid economic growth by following what specialist are saying and predicting. This can easily be found in The Wall Street Journal and other financial magazines. The best figures to track are quarterly figures issued by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, because the growth rate of productivity differs widely during various stages of the business cycle. There is no blueprint for solving all the problems associated with slow growth. Nevertheless, the major issues that we must deal with forthrightly, are the unprecedented retirement and health

costs associated with our aging population and the costs of a deteriorating environment. These issues will consistently require more of our future income. Meanwhile with slow economic growth, it will cost taxpayers more to keep up with the pace that we have now. We will also probably have to invest a greater proportion of our income, and to do so more deliberately than in the past. We will also have to increase our spending on education to keep pace with the rapid growth in technology. The future will almost surely require a more educated work force which means more money spent for education. We cannot turn our concerns to politicians alone. We as a nation must stand together to solve the problems of our future. This can be accomplished with industry and workers teaming together