Inside America: The Rise and Fall of An Empire

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We have come a long way in this series. I hope you all have a better understanding of America now. Both the good and aspects of a very interesting civilization. In this final installment. We will briefly look at the first four years of the new millenium and how America coped with it. Then we will explore different scenarios for the future of America and the world. I think you will find them interesting and though-provoking.

When the year 2000 arrived many Americans were worried about the Y2K computer bug. This was a strange computer glitch caused by two-digit systems that treated the rollover to 2000 as if it were 1900 instead. Many people thought the entire computer world would collapse, but when 2000 came and went nothing happened. Millions of television viewers throughout the world watched the new year celebrations through twenty-four time zones and the Earth seemed a much smaller place to everyone.

In America, the long internet boom came to an end in 2000. The stock market crashed and for the next four years would go lower and lower. Thousands of companies collapsed as the economy began to slowdown. Almost Five trillion dollars worth in stocks vanished into thin air, four times more wealth than the crash of 1987 roughly, about half of America's overall GNP. Major scandals soon broke out about merger and stock frauds. Many telecommunication companies also collapsed, while Microsoft came under attack for exploiting its software monopoly unfairly in the computer markets.

America's high-tech industries were suffering from over-capacity. After 1997, profits for America's corporations began shrinking. Leading many companies into a wave of mergers, the main purpose being the elimination of competition. In addition to mergers, American companies began speculating mostly in the real estate and stock markets. But ultimately economic reality caught up with the American economy. Huge debts in the corporate and credit card arenas also made it hard for smaller businesses to get credit which was unfortunate because they were the main source of employment for most Americans.

America's labor needs were also changing drastically. Many of the world's best minds were invited into America's digital industries to make up for a brain drain due to the collapse of the American education system. While many Third Wave jobs were sent out to countries with cheaper educated labor. Now even American workers in the information industries were being thrown out of work like the earlier Second Wave workers of America's industrial areas.

The American election of 2000 also created a scandal when Vice-president Al Gore defeated George W. Bush in the popular vote, but was blocked by the American Supreme Court from taking office due to voting controversies in the Florida electoral college. Most Americans were confused by the election results and simply wanted the crisis resolved as quickly as possible. Even though, George W. Bush came into office under a serious political cloud and without a popular mandate to make serious political changes.


September 11, 2001, on this day America changed forever. Suicide hijackers destroyed the World Trade Center in New York and damaged the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The terrorist danger came home to haunt America. President Bush immediately ordered an attack on Afghanistan and American forces drove out the Taliban government that had supported the Islamic terrorists. But Americans no longer felt secure in their own country. A weak economy, a collapsing family system, and new domestic security concerns made many Americans yearn for a stronger sense of family and community.

But the world's problems had now come to America's door-step and few Americans were prepared for this. The Multinational Corporations now completely dominated the global economy. Energy and ecological concerns had also now reached the forefront, but many Americans were still not asking the right questions. Most Americans continued to consume vast amounts of energy. They had begun recycling on a large scale, but alternative energy sources were still not being developed.

The Bush administration made the decision to go to war not only to distract Americans from the economic problems at home, but to start a new defense boom. The old Reagan " Star Wars " anti-missile defense program was brought back to life and American troops quickly invaded Iraq in 2003, in order to secure its oil fields. But America had reached a cross-roads. It could no longer be the policeman of the planet without cooperation from the rest of the world. America was drowning in debt and could no longer afford to act alone. The Bush administration decided to ignore this danger and became stuck in a new guerilla war in the Middle East.

But there was more than guerilla war at stake now. Nuclear proliferation had fused potentially with terrorism. In 1998, both India and Pakistan went nuclear, complicating the world's political and technological landscape. Many people feared that the spread of nuclear technology would one day allow terrorists to detonate nuclear weapons in major urban areas. Yet, only the future would give an answer to this difficult question.

The Ritchies were at a complete loss about America's role in the world:

Mara: " Do you see? It's just Vietnam all over again. We're now stuck in Iraq. "

Deborah: " But we had to go in. Iraq was serious trouble. "

Mara: " No. We are the cause of all our troubles. We don't want to share our wealth with the planet. The U.N. said that with 40 billion dollars all the people on Earth could be given a decent standard of living. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have already cost us over a 100 billion dollars. I think people will be less likely to turn to terrorism if they're basic needs are met. "

Deborah: " I don't think most Americans are really educated enough to know what to do. The planet's problems are becoming too complex, too difficult. "

Mara: " I suppose the fools in Washington know better. "

Deborah: " I really don't know what they really know. "

Mara: " look we're all becoming poorer and dumber now. The media is just garbage. The education system sucks. It's becoming impossible to just live simply in this big machine we're in. Now it's going global and many people don't like this machine intruding into their lives either. Why should they? We can no longer afford this life-style ourselves. "

Deborah: " I'm worried about your brother. "

Mara: " Why? "

Deborah: " Well, his internet business collapsed and he moved in with your father and he's not doing so well either. Your father has already had one heart attack. "

Mara: " What did Harvey tell you ? "

Deborah: " He told me he just wants to drop out. That he's fed up with work and all the stress. "

Mara: " I can't believe it. He said that? "

Deborah: " Yes. "

Mara: " What about you? You got divorced again just last year? "

Deborah: " I think I'm not going to get married anymore. I started my own business and then Glenn just ruined it. "

Mara: " Ah, well….that's life in the Twentieth-first century. "

Deborah: " Who is taking care of Alexis? "

Mara: " One of my friends. I need to find some new kind of work. But the job market's not too good right now. "

Deborah: " Well, at least you don't have to pay rent. But I'm not going to be here forever. You know, what happened to your father really scared me. "

Mara: " Well, where the world is heading now really scares me. I mean what kind of life is Alexis going to have twenty years from now? "

Deborah: "Life was so much simpler when I was your daughter's age. Now there's no time to really think anymore. "

Mara: " Well, I wonder if people, ever really think. They're just spacing out now. All you hear is just weird sound-bites. "


Spacing out: Losing psychological orientation.
Sound-bites: Quick sounds and images on television without context and meaning.

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All contents of this site copyright by Michael Arthur Finberg