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View Poll Results: What is the trajectory of American Civilization?
We're ascending and I think we're a long way from our peak. 31 16.76%
We're ascending, but we will peak within the next two or three generations? 4 2.16%
We're in a stable state and likely won't decline. 10 5.41%
We're in a stable state but are headed toward decline. 34 18.38%
We peaked in the last two or three generations, and we're descending. 95 51.35%
We've pretty much been descending since Plymouth Rock. Our ruin is imminent. 9 4.86%
I don't really following the grand sweep of history. 2 1.08%
Voters: 185. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-23-2014, 03:04 PM  
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A quick poll about the future of American Civilization.

The Gen Y thread got me wondering.

Where do you think America is in its life cycle? Are we ascending? Are we on the downside? What is our long-term trajectory as a civilization?

Poll to follow unless the Visigoths storm the walls before I can post it.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:21 PM   #76
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I will be pleased to see the current version of the U.S. fail spectacularly. Greatest blueprint ever, but we let the contractors become corrupt.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:23 PM   #77
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I'm now wondering how you measure the ascendancy/decline of a civilization. I would offer a few measures off the top of my head. Anyone else got any suggestions?

1. Standard of living of the middle class in absolute terms (not relative to other classes or nations).
2. Standard of living of the poorest 5% in absolute terms (not relative to other classes or nations).
3. Maybe it's part of 1 and 2, but the cost and reliability of infrastructure - transportation, communication, sanitation, energy, etc.
4. Discovery - Is the civilization finding new resources to exploit, whether it's technology or land or something else?
5. Art and creativity - is there a sustained tolerance and appreciation of creativity?
6. Morale - are people optimistic about the future and wanting to contribute to it?
7. Life span - Maybe it's part of 1 and 2, but are people living long and healthy lives?

What else?
Quality of the prOn
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:01 PM   #78
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Socially: We are nearing our peak. I think as we keep angling toward more inclusion in most discussions, many of the issues of bigotry and rancor for the sake of rancor will diminish. It will never completely disappear, and there will be high and low tides, but I think we are inching toward a plateau.

Technologically/ intelligence: We are nowhere near our peak, and we aren't even really at a place where we can imagine what that peak is going to look like. Education is ever-changing, and many of the changes are just running in place, but there have been, even over the past 10 years, some monumental advances in how we educate, and I think we will continue to do better, which means better products to make the tomorrows more advanced.

Governmentally: There is no such thing as a perfect economic/governing system. There will always be flaws. I don't know if we are ascending our descending, but we will keep experimenting and trying and wiping the slate clean and starting over, IMO, for the rest of human existence.
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:06 PM   #79
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What about the decline of manufacturing jobs..... Will they ever come back to the United States?
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:15 PM   #80
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:16 PM   #81
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The results of this poll will speak more to the average age of planeteers than anything else.
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:28 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Jimmya View Post
What about the decline of manufacturing jobs..... Will they ever come back to the United States?
Do they have to?

If we hit the point where robots can do the manufacturing, there won't be manufacturing jobs anywhere. But goods will be so cheap that we'll replace those jobs with poetry jobs and skateboarding jobs.

This ties in to my radical theory that I proposed a while back. We dream of a Jetsons world where machines do all the work and people live lives of leisure. There's going to be an order in which society moves down that path, and perhaps the order is not what we think.

An easy initial assumption is that the upper classes would enter the life of leisure first. They have more income or wealth to do so.

The truly rich have always lived lives of leisure, but perhaps the second group to enter that world is the unskilled. The skilled are needed to design the robots and machines (including the robots and machines that make robots and machines). The unskilled don't have a role. So they enter a life of leisure made possible by high incomes of the skilled and the cheap goods made by the robots. Their life of leisure may be at a lower standard than the skilled, but it's still a high standard of living by objective standards. They have big-screen TVs and smart phones and stuff.

Over time, as the required skill level increases and the need for even skilled labor decreases, the remaining workers make more and more money, and more people enter the leisure class. Those who don't work have a reasonable standard of living that improves over time as technology continues to develop, and they essentially become the new middle class. Those who still work have a very high standard of living.

In the end game, the technology becomes completely self-sufficient and no one works. They all just watch robo-TV and eat at robo-Chilis and play in bands on the weekends.
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:34 PM   #83
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I think a general answer is if your guy is President we're ascending.
If the other party's guy is President we're on the brink of disaster.
This is most certainly true.
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:55 PM   #84
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I'd guess our peak was somewhere in the 60's as far as "empires" go...
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:55 PM   #85
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Do they have to?

If we hit the point where robots can do the manufacturing, there won't be manufacturing jobs anywhere. But goods will be so cheap that we'll replace those jobs with poetry jobs and skateboarding jobs.

This ties in to my radical theory that I proposed a while back. We dream of a Jetsons world where machines do all the work and people live lives of leisure. There's going to be an order in which society moves down that path, and perhaps the order is not what we think.

An easy initial assumption is that the upper classes would enter the life of leisure first. They have more income or wealth to do so.

The truly rich have always lived lives of leisure, but perhaps the second group to enter that world is the unskilled. The skilled are needed to design the robots and machines (including the robots and machines that make robots and machines). The unskilled don't have a role. So they enter a life of leisure made possible by high incomes of the skilled and the cheap goods made by the robots. Their life of leisure may be at a lower standard than the skilled, but it's still a high standard of living by objective standards. They have big-screen TVs and smart phones and stuff.

Over time, as the required skill level increases and the need for even skilled labor decreases, the remaining workers make more and more money, and more people enter the leisure class. Those who don't work have a reasonable standard of living that improves over time as technology continues to develop, and they essentially become the new middle class. Those who still work have a very high standard of living.

In the end game, the technology becomes completely self-sufficient and no one works. They all just watch robo-TV and eat at robo-Chilis and play in bands on the weekends.
That means we will all get fat like in that movie Wall-E. Omaha is going to hate that.
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:17 PM   #86
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Historically, the US ranked in the top 15 of all nations in math and science scores of its youth. The year before NCLB the US ranked 18.

Today, 31st...and dropping.

Don't talk to me about my age if you cannot add.

Yeah, we're descending.
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:20 PM   #87
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The math of the young folk these days is just fine.

They know exactly what the cost of a dime bag is.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:05 PM   #88
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How is it selfish to be upset that people are being handed the same things that the rest of us work for?
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How does that not fit the definition?

selfish

1.(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:22 PM   #89
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How does that not fit the definition?

selfish

1.(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.
Do you enjoy paying your income taxes and health insurance premiums?
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:25 PM   #90
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It's kinda funny to me, to see what the US has created and how people perceive it. We've created a nation with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Where the overwhelming majority never actually experiences true poverty or hunger. A nation where those in "Poverty" still own such pleasures as cars, TVs with hundreds of channels, Xbox/PS3, smartphones, etc. A nation where everyone has health care no matter what. We have systems to care for others who cannot care for themselves.

There's very little actual poverty in America. Not true poverty. Those in poverty in America live like royalty compared to some other parts of the world. Yet all we ever hear is people bitching about other Americans getting things they don't think those other people deserve. You hear more bitching of that type these days, than you hear about what we don't have. Yet we don't stop and think about what a good thing it is that Americans don't have to bitch about having unclean drinking water, or moldy and rotten food, or lack of electricity, or no health care at all, or actual real government oppression.

Nope, we sit here on our thrones, and type into our smartphones that have internet access nearly everywhere we go, while enjoying a diversity of cheap food, clean water, organized infrastructure, etc. While bitching about poor people getting a couple hundred dollars worth of free food.

America has become a nation of selfish unappreciative assholes who bitch all day while never realizing how easy of a life they live compared with much of the rest of the world.
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