Inside America: The Rise and Fall of An Empire

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Families continued to shrink during the Eighties in America. The divorce rate continued to sky-rocket. In states like California the divorce rate was almost 60 percent and the number of single-parent homes continued to multiply in America as a whole. Step-marriages increased in number and so did cohabitation without marriage. Marriages that survived however were often more interesting. Couples stayed together because they liked each other. A child-care crisis soon erupted in America because too many parents were now working full-time and pressures on the American government to solve this new problem intensified.

As Americans began to live longer a nursing home boom took off, but as the cost of health-care shot-up at double the inflation-rate, senior Americans began to organize politically in order to put pressure on the American government for more subsidized health-care. Home-ownership declined as real-estate prices in America's major metropolitan areas soared to unprecedented levels. Eventually, two income families and multiple careers for all income earners was becoming the norm in a society that psychologically was swinging between mental depression and ADD.

What was ADD? It was a new mental illness called Attention Deficit Syndrome. Most who suffered from this illness could not keep their attention span on any matter for any extended period of time. Increasingly many American began taking more and more amounts of prescription drugs to battle both depression and ADD. Prozac became the drug of choice for depression. Ritlin for ADD.

A new epidemic called AIDS began spreading through America. Initially in the Gay community and then ultimately into the hetro-sexual community. By 1990, AIDS had killed over 150,000 Americans and even more Americans were carrying the AIDS virus. Gay activists blamed the Reagan administration for not immediately pouring millions of research dollars into combating the deadly illness. AIDS began to have a tremendous influence on sexual behavior in America during the Eighties. Condoms quickly became a requirement for casual sex and they were sold openly in supermarkets and drug-stores.

Illegal drug use became so bad in all sectors of American society that many places of employments began to openly test employees before hiring and while being employed. Anti-smoking campaigns continued to gain support in many states and smokers were soon banned from many public places by law. Drinking was also now recognized as an illness and recovery programs began proliferating in every state. Indeed, substance abuse was at an all time high in America as the stress of daily life continued to accelerate.

The Ritchies were feeling the heat like everyone else:

Chad: " I'm not sure I can take more of this stress. Everyday one decision has to follow another decision more quickly. "

Mara: " Well, why don't you just slow down? "

Chad: " I can't. The competition is so fierce in the PC industry. Any delay can be curtains for us. "

Mara: " Man, all these nerds and geeks trying to make something of themselves. "

Chad: " Stop making fun of these people. They are creating new business opportunities for America. "

Mara: " Also new opportunities for couch and web potatoes. Bring them on. "

Chad: " when are you going to appreciate this country? "

Mara: " Probably, never…."

Chad: " How's your Mother doing? "

Mara: " She's seeing this new guy. I think it's serious. "

Chad: " I'm glad for her. "

Mara: " Yeah, me too. "

Chad: " How's your job going? "

Mara: " It's going fine. I like my new boss now, but in a few weeks I will probably hate him. "

Chad: " At least you're not vegging out. "

Mara: " Me, veg out? Never…."

Chad: " Have you talked to Harvey? "

Mara: " Yeah, he's moving to a new broker. That's his fifth one in eight years. He even wants to go to New York now. "

Chad: " Maybe, he'll make more money there. God, I hope so. "

Mara: " Yeah, that's all he really needs, more money…."

Chad: Maybe he can finally by a house and settle down. "

Mara: " Who can afford to buy a house? "

Chad: " Are you still living with your mother? "

Mara: " Yeah, in and out like usual. "


Curtains: To be wiped out.
Nerds: Smart person who is socially awkward.
Geeks: The same, but worse.
Couch potato: Someone who watches television all day.
Web potato: Someone who uses the internet all day.
To Veg out: To do nothing and waste time.


During the Eighties movies continued to be big business. Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas were now the global cinema kings with their international block-buster movies. More and more money went into special effects and less into story-lines. " E.T. " and " Raiders of the Lost Ark " made billions of dollars. But it was not just the movies that made money, but all the toys and spin-off products made off the movies as well. Entertainment and toys were fusing in new and big ways. Computer games like Nintendo and Pac-man became another billion dollar business and were more sophisticated than the crude computer games in the Seventies.

In the Music industry the CD wiped out both the cassette and record as the musical delivery vehicle of choice. Walkmans became popular also both for cassettes and CDs. The entire musical industry was going digital and getting connected to videos and computers. Many observers began calling this new development " media convergence. " In the 90's this trend would continue to accelerate. More and more Americans were also tele-commuting to work. With computers so prevalent in American life. Many Americans instead of driving to work simply stayed home and worked with their computers now connected to their office in a company building somewhere else. Many Americans who owned businesses also had their offices at home.

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All contents of this site copyright by Michael Arthur Finberg