Newyorker - Empire In Decline

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Newyorker - Empire In Decline

發表 由 Admin 于 周四 4月 01, 2010 9:27 pm

Been 5 years, I still vividly remember the discussion YST and I have about his article 美元正面臨崩潰邊緣嗎? At the time I were going to write a follow-up analysis about the outlook on the value of the US dollar. Due to a series of event in my personal life at the time, the article been put off and never written.

What I want to say at the time is, the decline is inevitable, the 4 pillars that uphold the dollar value are eroding, with the ongoing failure of Middle East campaign, became a continuous drain on valuable resources that otherwise should be use as funding for project that drive the next technological innovation! With Bush presidency divide the country into 2 camps, between the Blue Liberal and Red Conservative states in a self-serving partisanship driven by ones own ambition not the well being of the country, subsequently turn top tier of the legislature branch into a constant gridlock. But the worst erosion come from Americas Core Value!

Since the end of the cold war, lack of a real outside threat and challenge. American have turn its back on its Core Value: a can do attitude, with a drive to do better into a state of complacency.

I have travel for work extensively across America between 2001-2005 to 40 out of 50 states, what I saw troubled me.

American once a proud people who value hard work and have the longest work hours in the developed world. Instead I saw a private sector with an aging work force bogged down by rigid rules, lazy bureaucrats and indifferent working class. I visited Detroit in 2002 what shock me the most are not the countless communities with board up houses, remnant of once prosperous working class neighborhoods. But not within 8 miles or 10min drive of those slum and ghetto, you will find Grosse Pointe, MI a neighborhood, with gated private community full of beautiful mansions each one with its own private tennis court and swimming pool. And guess who can afford to live there? Mostly White executives from the big 3 American Motor Company GM, Ford & Chrysler!

It is no surprise to me, when all 3 major motor company were at the brink of bankruptcy in 2008. Those 3 companies are run by a class of elite, who are so insulate themselves from the reality which they live in, and total disregard of the condition of their neighbor many of whom former company employees, surely when they drive to work everyday they can all see countless board up factories & houses lined beside the highway. Yet none of them did anything to help the working class or their surrounding neighborhoods. How can you expect them to understand what the average Americans need.

American turn from one of the most productive country per capita, to a country of obese and fat people. I been to some of the fattest states, mostly in the America south, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana and Georgia. A combination of poverty and obesity, ironically is an uniquely American phenomenon unheard of in any other country. Without looking at the statistic data I'm certain the rate of average body weight gain and the decline of productivity in the last 2 two decade are on a parallel track.

American once value a honest living, become a country of people who think manual labor is beneath them, when manual labor is needed, American import labor from developing countries, to the point they're helpless without them. But why stop there, when more manufacture labor is needed why do it yourself, when is more profitable to let other to do it for you, so the jobs get sub-contact to the lowest bidder in other countries. In the process by doing so, many important and valuable skill set are lost.

American once value education and intellect, elected a C average President, who think no child should left behind if he or she couldn't make the grade, teacher are pressure to do whatever it take to let the kid pass on to the next grade. Without high expectation, and consequence, there is no incentive to do better. At a higher education level with the bloom of financial industry and housing market, students with the best and brightest mind have no incentive to choose to study engineering or science degree. Instead they choose the more lucrative business school, learning about far fetch business model and short term profit as a fast track to mid level management jobs in corporate America, without the need ever spending a day working side by side with the poor grunt who does the actual work. That system, bred a disconnect between the leadership and the work force!

The same President at the aftermath of 9-11, his message to the nation, is in order to show the terrorist, American won't be beaten or terrorize is go by your business as normal and his economic recovery plan is tell everyone to go out and shop. Shopping became the great American pass time. Excess consumption became not only socially acceptance but a matter of birth right. A new consumption culture emphasis on instant gratification by spending base on debt replace old and true values.

America economic problem lies within the simple fact, ----American consume more than they produce!---- With abundant, America society turn into a society of self-righteous, individual who lost sight of the keys to competitiveness in today's fierce global market.

The complacency American took for granted are shatter in late 2008 financial meltdown, and the total incompetency display through out US government and corporate ranks that follows.

The Fiasco literally pull down the curtain and expose the powerful Wizard of Oz behind it, turn out there is no powerful magic but a common man like you and I, all is done with trickery and illusion!


What this financial catastrophe bring about is FEAR, mention in 2009, President Obama in his inauguration speech:

"These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met."


The question is: America, How much are you willing to sacrifices to meet these challenges?

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發表 由 Admin 于 周四 4月 01, 2010 9:27 pm

5年了,我依然對當初與YST就其雄文《美元正面臨崩潰邊緣嗎》的討論記憶猶新。那時我本要寫一篇關於美元價值展望的跟進分析文章。但是由於當時個人生活中的一系列問題,那篇文章被一拖再拖再也沒能寫出來。

當初我想說的是,(美元的)衰退無可避免:支撐美元價格的四大支柱正在被侵蝕,為之伴奏的是正流於失敗的中東戰役,(中東戰役)造成了寶貴資源的持續流失,而這些資源本該是被用於建立那些驅動下一波技術浪潮的項目的!Bush總統把國家分裂成藍領勞工和紅色保守黨兩個陣營,都受自身野心而不是國家利益的驅策,謀求黨派內部利益,隨後把最高層立法分支拖入了持續的僵局。

但是,最糟糕的侵蝕位於美國的核心價值中!

自從冷戰結束后,(美國)缺少真正的外部威脅和挑戰。(於是)美國逐漸違背了自己的核心價值:那種有所作為的態度,從做的更好蛻化成滿足現狀。

2001~2005之間,我曾因工在美國各地旅行,涉足四、五十個州,看到的景象令我憂慮。

美國人曾是一個驕傲于辛苦工作的民族,并且曾在所有發達國家中工作時間最長。但相反的,我看到了一個充斥老齡化員工的私營機構,深陷於教條規則、懶惰官僚和冷漠勞工造成的停滯。我曾于2002年訪問底特律,最令我震驚的不是那數不清的一度繁榮的工人階級社區,現在都用木板封住了房子;而是那些距離貧民窟窮人區不到8英里或說不到10分鐘車程之外,你就能到達Grosse Pointe地區,一個封閉的私人社區,到處都是華屋廣廈,每一棟房子都有自己的私人網球場和游泳池。猜一猜誰住在這裡?大多是美國三大汽車公司通用、福特和克萊斯勒的白色(白領?/白人?)高管們!即使2008年時三大汽車已經處於破產邊緣,這樣的情景也並不讓我吃驚。

這三大公司都是由精英階層管理運營,這一階層把自己與身邊的現實完全隔離開,完全不關心鄰居們的窘迫狀況,他們很多都曾是(三大)公司的雇員。當然,精英們每天開車上班都能看到公路兩旁無數廠房和住宅被木板封著。但沒有一個人做任何事情去幫助勞工階層、幫助他們的鄰居們。你怎麼能指望這幫人理解普通美國人的需要呢。

美國從一個人均生產力最高的國家轉變成了一個臃腫的胖墩之國。我到過那些最胖的州,大部份位於美國南部:密西西比、田納西、路易斯安那還有佐治亞。諷刺的是,這種貧窮和肥胖的結合體,是在任何其他國家都聞所未聞的獨特的美國現象。用不著看統計數據,我都能確信在最近的20年中,平均體重的增長率與生產力的下降率呈現出並行的軌跡。

美國人不再尊重誠實的生活,變成一個認為比美國人低賤的人才從事體力勞動的國度。當需要勞工的時候,美國從發展中國家進口勞動力,說白了離開外來勞力美國就不能自立。但是何必就此止步呢,既然需要更多勞動力的時候讓別人為你幹活更划算,幹嗎還要自己親自工作?於是工作都被分包給出價最低的外國投標人。在這一過程中,許多重要而寶貴的技能(在美國)失傳了。

美國人不再尊重教育和理性,選出了一個平均成績C的總統,他覺得任何孩子都不應該被拋下,即使確實達不到升級要求;教師們迫於壓力想盡辦法讓孩子們混過考試升到下一年級。沒有了高要求,後果就是失去了進步的動力。在高等教育層面,由於金融產業和房地產市場的繁榮,頭腦最聰明素質最好的學生缺乏學習工程和科技類學位的動機。相反的,他們選擇更能賺錢的商學院,學習狡詐的商業模式和短期利潤,當做他們升任美國企業管理層的快速軌道。(精英們)根本不需要 ----哪怕一天----與那些實際幹活的窮人共事。這個系統孳生出了領導層與勞工之間的脫節!

在911的創傷之後,還是那個總統告訴全國的話是,爲了向恐怖分子顯示美國人不會被打倒或嚇倒,應該照常做自己的買賣;而他的經濟復興計畫是告訴所有人出門購物。購物成了偉大的美國人消磨時光(的方式)。過度消費不僅變成了社會共識,還成為了一種具備天賦權利的重要玩意。一種基於借貸消費強調及時行樂的新消費文化取代了真正寶貴的舊價值觀。

美國經濟問題依賴於一個簡單的事實——美國人的消費多於生產!富足的美國社會轉變成一個自以為是的社會,(社會中的)個體忽視了關鍵問題是在今天激烈的全球市場中保持競爭力。

美國想當然的自鳴得意在2008年的經濟危機中破滅了,緊接著的是美國政府完全不稱職的表現還有企業評級。

這場慘敗明確地拽下遮蓋物,現出了後邊那強大的奧茲巫師。發現根本沒什麼強大的魔法,就是一個如同你我一般的普通人,之前所有的事情都是詭計和幻像!

金融危機帶來的是恐懼,奧巴馬總統2009年在其就職演說中提到過:“從統計數據來看,已經有危機的徵兆,更難測量但更嚴重的是,對我們國家信心的動搖 ---- 一種揮之不去的恐懼,擔心美國的衰落無法避免,下一代人必須降低他們的期望。今天我要對你們說我們面臨的挑戰是真實的,嚴峻而眾多。它們不會被輕易地擊敗,也不會是一時之痛。但是美國人民,請明白這一點:定將戰勝挑戰”

問題是:美國,你願意犧牲多少來迎接挑戰呢?

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