Facing the Future

June 12, 2010 – 21:31

 

I compiled my thoughts on the primary challenges the United States faces in the coming decade, and ways to overcome them, here: http://www.hackneys.com/docs/facingthefuture.pdf

The primary focus in this collection is on domestic challenges, although some geopolitical issues are addressed.

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  1. 4 Responses to “Facing the Future”

  2. Doug,

    I am really enjoying this collection. I hope that you and Steph are doing well. Julia and I were discussing some of your points and wanted to pose a question to you…

    Are you aware of any governments, countries, or peoples (in general) that have faced such a seemingly insurmountable set of circumstances and survived or daresay thrived? We are discussing some of the issues in housing and education. We keep coming back to basic survival at some point and becoming savages…

    Are we already there? We, as American’s, gorge ourselves with over stimulated entertainment and overeat to obesity.

    Perhaps we can look at other countries to see what the United States may become if we do not make difficult changes soon.

    I look forward to your thoughts.

    Warm regards,
    Brett

    By Brett Barton on Aug 27, 2010

  3. Brett,

    I am so glad you are enjoying the collection. Please pass it on if you find it of value.

    As to your question of comparables, I offer the following:

    Financial: Best modern example is probably Argentina (the only thing that saves us is the dollar’s current status as the world’s reserve currency of choice)
    Health: The best known example is probably the Roman empire, which managed to poison itself via lead plumbing, lead food seasoning, lead dinnerware and leaded wine (more details here: http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/perspect/lead.htm).

    Macro:
    When you visit the site of ancient Troy, you find that the Troy we know from the Trojan wars was one of nine civilizations that existed there, whose ruins lie stacked, one upon the other. There are many places with many layers of past civilizations such as Troy all around the world. The more you see of them, the more you realize that ours is just one more layer. When it will turn to rubble, is, of course, open to question. (photo – not one of ours – of the nine layers here: http://www.pbase.com/image/51760842)

    Although I have an interest in history, I am not currently well read enough to cite a string of well-known and compelling examples of city-states or civilizations of our scale that successfully overcame comparable challenges. Certainly some of the European city-states, kingdoms and what later became nation-states had long histories alternating between glory and disaster. More than one literally rose from the ashes of rape, plunder and sacking to again be dominant players within their local region. Even the Chinese Empire has expanded, shrunk and expanded again over its 6,000 years. It’s gone from the largest in the world to total chaos and back again. So, there is precedent for both collapse and renewal.

    One prevailing theme, if not constant, in those cycles is that things generally go all the way to complete collapse before they get better. Humans have very little incentive to change until they are desperate for it. By then, it is almost certainly too late.

    Doug

    By Douglas Hackney on Aug 27, 2010

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