Inside America: The Rise and Fall of An Empire

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Many commentators saw a darker picture for America as the twentieth-first century finally arrived. America was losing its psychological resiliency as its educational and cultural foundations began to deteriorate more and more. The culture was now dominated by short-spans of commercialized words and images. The English language itself was thinning out as consumer slogans and hype began determining America's core values. These core values were now based on profit motives merging with a basically adolescent form of mentality.

Many Americans were anxious, disoriented, and depressed. Many Americans also were losing the ability to think critically about their environment. American culture was becoming dumber and poorer as the rich continued to become richer and the rest of American society was left behind with lower-paying and increasingly insecure jobs. And with an education system that was collapsing and losing its center.

The birth of McWorld was now announcing itself. America was now a " fast-food " nation in all kinds of ways. Production, consumption, and public opinion were now completely rationalized and sold to the highest bidder at the lowest cultural value. A few Americans were dropping out of the system completely and calling themselves " new monastic individuals. " Many saw the end of the Cold War and the start of the internet culture as further signs of victory for the Multinational Corporations who had no loyalty to any nation.

Some commentators saw America as an environment where no real ethics existed Where no real kinds of serious identities could thrive, and where no real cultural continuity could now be seen. All was consumption and entertainment in a sinister and fragmented digital environment where all information was increasingly seen as equal and weightless. With faster and faster boom and bust cycles in both production and consumption which were leading to fatal kinds of spiritual and psychological exhaustion.

Was America in terminal decline like the Roman empire? Many commentators thought so. Yet as societies decline, they also transform and restructure. Was America now in danger of becoming a huge arcade game with child-like consumers living in a strange dream world? Would America self-correct in time? Did America still have enough cultural flexibility to do so? America's psychic ecology was becoming increasingly polluted and this made it hard for America to see how its physical ecology was being destroyed as well.

More and more, America and the rest of the world could no longer be really separated. The entire planet was possibly becoming this wilderness of regional states and suburban islands linked to a huge and speedy global shopping center. The Third Wave was also possibly a faster and more abstract phase of the receding Second Wave as the modern era was replaced by a cyber-consumer culture that benefited only a few.

The Soviet system was now gone. It had disappeared quickly. How much longer would the American capitalist system last in its present form? Would a systems crash occur in thirty or forty years? What kind of re-structuring would America have then?

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