The Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a


10 thoughts on “The Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies

  1. Veronica Veronica says:

    High growth alongside the mobilization of fixed capital investment is not sustainable due to diminishing returns on capital Undervaluation artificially keeps capital at home instead of useful employment in overseas investments Costs rise faster than productivity How would the world fare if the global commons were run by China or Russiaor even by democratic India, Japan, or Europe, which cannot take care of their own backyards Verified Author hates every country but the United States Fi High growth alongside the mobilization of fixed capital investment is not sustainable due to diminishing returns on capital Undervaluation artificially keeps capital at home instead of useful employment in overseas investments Costs rise faster than productivity How would the world fare if the global commons were run by China or Russiaor even by democratic India, Japan, or Europe, which cannot take care of their own backyards Verified Author hates every country but the United States Finis Americae was practically at hand in 1960 Henry Kissinger, then a young professor at Harvard, concurred Only self delusion can keep us from admitting our decline to ourselves Through they draw a straight line to hell, doomsayers want to be wrong that is the name of the game The prophecy must disprove itself As a doomsayer myself, I can confirm this is true Seemingly boundless growth slows as other regions vie with China as factories of the world Capital knows neither roots nor loyalty Russia s greatest wealth oil, gas, minerals comes out of the ground America has these, too, but its most precious riches talent and aspiration come from the world Only patently true passage in this book


  2. Chris Chester Chris Chester says:

    As a believer in America s gradual decline, I admit I picked up Josef Joffe s book with a haughty sense that I could defuse his argument somehow And indeed, for much of the book I believed that he was simply missing the point Here s a brief rundown of his argument, from my notes The very belief in the decline of American power military, cultural, diplomatic represents an abdication of responsibility to foreign powers The belief in a decline in American power has a history as long as th As a believer in America s gradual decline, I admit I picked up Josef Joffe s book with a haughty sense that I could defuse his argument somehow And indeed, for much of the book I believed that he was simply missing the point Here s a brief rundown of his argument, from my notes The very belief in the decline of American power military, cultural, diplomatic represents an abdication of responsibility to foreign powers The belief in a decline in American power has a history as long as the country itself, and has been used as a prescription for political change by savvy political operators None of those visions of decline have come to pass The U.S military is unimaginably large Like, seriously, you don t even want to know how many aircraft carriers we have Planned economies like the early Asian tigers, who were among the first contenders to dethrone America, produce meteoric growth at first, but eventually harden into crony capitalism withreasonable growth rates China is in the process of of turning into a crony capitalist state now Eventually, a rising middle class will demandof the gains sought through increased efficiency, and China s growth will stagnate Even if China becomes the new bad boy on the block, the United States will maintain its position by virtue of its research and development, education system, culture of invention and openness to immigration.It s a compelling argument But it s not until the final chapter that Joffe acknowledges my principle beef with his hypothesis the true challenge to American hegemony comes not from abroad, where powers like Brazil, Russia, India and China hold only regional sway, but domestically.For as thoroughly researched as his takedown of China s rising star was, he s awfully cavalier about dismissing unprecedented partisan breakdown and crumbling infrastructure afflicting the country With no citations at all, he declares that fracking, that most short sighted and short lived of energy strategies, holds the key to American energy independence.To his credit, the crises of political legitimacy, debt based economics, peak oil and climate change have repercussions for every major power, including our rivals in Europe and Asia And indeed, even cataclysmic change is not likely to bump the U.S from the world s default power, but rather, would likely involve a reshuffling of our priorities.But that s my main point, I guess No country, not even China, is liable to bump off the U.S off the top of the existing world order But the world order changes And to expect the United States in its current incarnation to last forever is just willfully naive, or at least represents a failure of imagination Joffe does a great job of taking down the strawmen who would dethrone us today, but only briefly does ever even acknowledge that there is a tomorrow.Overall, though, it s a good read, and I recommend it to those who perhaps watch a bit too much cable news and have some unfounded fears in their guts


  3. Raghu Raghu says:

    People living in robust democracies are used to being bombarded by their academic and political elite about how their societies are often dysfunctional and are falling behind its rivals, friends and enemies There is a predictable pattern to this negativism In India, where I come from, it happens every ten years and at times even in five years It has to do with the National election cycle A political dispensation rules for five years after winning an election If the economy does well during People living in robust democracies are used to being bombarded by their academic and political elite about how their societies are often dysfunctional and are falling behind its rivals, friends and enemies There is a predictable pattern to this negativism In India, where I come from, it happens every ten years and at times even in five years It has to do with the National election cycle A political dispensation rules for five years after winning an election If the economy does well during those five years, then there is optimism amongst the people and so the opposition does not get far by painting a declinist picture about the future In such a case, often the same party returns to power Then, even if it performs reasonably well in the next five years, the public generally gets fatigued by the lack of change over ten years and so the situation is often ripe for negativism and polemics The opposition seizes on this mood and paints a gloomy picture of the economy and the polity and manages to come to power This starts the same cycle all over again This book s thesis on the frequent talk about America s decline has echoes of this phenomena The author says that such talk often follows downturns in the American economy Unlike India, the US is a global power and so, the talk is not confined just to the economy but also encompasses the shortcomings in military parity with its rivals, decline in Math skills among its young and the rapidly advancing capabilities of its rivals Prof Joffe takes us historically through this Declinism , starting from the angst created by the USSR s Sputnik launch in 1957, followed by the despondency created by the defeat in the Vietnam War and the associated anti war movements amongst the young, then the oil shocks of the 1970s, the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, the challenge of Japan in the 1980s and finally, the rise of China during the past two decades Each of these events in history resulted in conclusions about the US losing ground and going into decline and its rivals like Japan or China eventually taking over a leadership role in the world With solid quantitative data, the author debunks all these fears and shows how well placed the US is in continuing its dominant position in the world, be it the economy or the military or in Science, Engineering and Technology or in innovation He goes so far as to say that he doesn t see any rival overtaking the US As one interested in history, he does say that empires do rise and fall, but believes that in the case of the US, it is only the US which can bring itself down Though I do not have any major disagreement with the author on his arguments regarding the US superiority over its rivals in research and development, science and engineering, military prowess and dynamism of the economy, I feel that the book focusses only on these advantages and not in the many other issues that keep cropping up in our social discourse Globalization has certainly increased the prosperity of Americans but it has rewarded skilled technology workers disproportionatelythan the less skilled working class As a result, we see the gap widening between the top 20% of income earners and the bottom 20% The top 20% now earn 8 times the income of the bottom 20% and it is one of the extremes in disparity amongst advanced induatrialized nations Then, there is the ever increasing national debt and the resultant dysfunction in Congress to deal with it We hear about the crisis in maintaining social security payments and support of Medicare in future while we see the politicians simply kicking the can down the road without dealing with these problems effectively We see that the low end jobs are gradually vanishing from the US, making it necessary for our young to get higher education in order to be employable in this country But then, higher education has become expensive and the bottom 20% is not able to afford it easily, thereby making it difficult for their children to reap the fruits of Globalization Nor do the young people receive much support from the Corporations or the govt to afford higher education Instead, the Corporations want to fill the gap through immigration and push the Govt for reform in this sphere If you add issues like climate change, snooping of the NSA on law abiding citizens and the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians by drones in allied nations to this mix, we would conclude that though the US is dominant, it also has pressing problems to address in order to maintain this dominance Unfortunately, the book mostly takes a neo conservative approach of talking about military, economic and scientific advantages while paying less attention to social issues The book is certainly a good medicine for Americans who feel despondent about our future but would like to be convinced otherwise However, I would think that the majority of Americans do feel optimistic about the country s future without diluting the many problems that the country needs to work on in order to keep its promise to its own citizens Though the book has substantial quantitative information to bolster its arguments, it does not do much for people who never doubted America s future prospects While talking about the Asian economies like Japan, China and India, the author seems to rely mostly on the sanguine ideas of academics like Kishore Mahbubhani, Robert Fogel, Fareed Zakaria, Parag Khanna and so on My own impression of the ordinary citizens in Asian countries is that they are quite critical of the dysfunction in their own govts, lack of transparency in their economies and the lack of importance to creative thinking in their education systems Viewed from Asia, America looks hardly in decline to the average citizen


  4. Mitchell Mitchell says:

    I received this book through Goodreads First Reads program, so thank you for that This book reads largely like a lengthy college essay Not to say it is sophomoric at all, but rather it follows the very basic pattern of essay writing Introduction, body sections, and a conclusion Of course, each section was a lengthy chapter and were filled with a lot of graphs that supported his various topic sentences In fact, it wouldn t have surprised me to find out this was someone s dissertation as i I received this book through Goodreads First Reads program, so thank you for that This book reads largely like a lengthy college essay Not to say it is sophomoric at all, but rather it follows the very basic pattern of essay writing Introduction, body sections, and a conclusion Of course, each section was a lengthy chapter and were filled with a lot of graphs that supported his various topic sentences In fact, it wouldn t have surprised me to find out this was someone s dissertation as it closely followed that general outline If I had to synthesize a thesis statement for this book, it would be something like Despite previous and continued claims of America s decline, America remains the all around leader of the world His first body chapters discussed the historical context America and why it is so different from other past global superpowers Great Britain primarily He also examines previous historical claims that America was losing in the international power race to various other countries the USSR and Japan being the main contenders of the past and China the up and comer of the present He then goes on to examine the former rise of Asian economic super powers, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, and to look for trends on why all of these economies that seemed poised to overtake the US eventually lost their momentum and died down without surpassing the US The final body chapter focuses on China and a bit on the other BRIC countries, Brazil, Russia and India comparing and contrasting their economy, military and government to both former challengers to the throne and to the US This book, obviously, breaks away from the normal doom and gloom storylines that dominate the press and, indeed, really lays into the whole doctrine of Declinism , as he puts it, as a tool mainly used by politicians during election years It s hard to argue with that assertion He points out that while America is not number one is many catagories, in the decathalon of international power, the US takes the gold by being near the top in almost every relevant category His comparisons of our military especially the navy , economy, and diplomatic clout are all very compelling However, the warning to beware those who say All is well in Zion yea, Zion prospereth, all is well rang in my head throughout the entire book I kept wondering to myself about the reported failings of our schools and the tremendous national debt that we have accrued How could we be doing that well with all of these headline problems Joffe addresses a number of these theories of America s demise, in part by pointing out that our markets and government encourage entrepreneurship and creativity, and that our country is one of the few with the motivation and means to serve as ultimate watchdog of international politics Eventually, in the Discussion Conclusion chapter, Joffe asserts that America is the only country that can dethrone America So, after spending most of the book patting ourselves on the back, the final chapter reminds us that it isn t all roses as we deal with our debt and rather dysfunctional government Joffe s main point seems to be that America has always been challenged, but that challenge has always been over exaggerated, usually by politicians, and that America is far from being overtaken I assume that the underlying message would be that the press and government need to lay off all the doomsday prophesies since previous predictions of the USSR or Japan becoming the world s dominant force have fallen flat However, even if I believe that the press tends to play up worst case scenario in order to build interest and I do , can we really say that these warnings don t help to rouse America from a level of complacency Didn t fears of the USSR s rise fuel a generation of American engineers and our landing on the moon This was a pre release copy, and so I would expect that a lot of the typos that I saw will get fixed before it is officially released There are a few phrases that get used quite a lot, which always stands out to me a bit, but isn t really a big deal.I enjoyed this book quite a bit Behind all the talk of the US and it s competitors is a very insightful look at international politics and what defines power on today s stage of modern diplomatic and economic relations I imagine that the actual truth of the US s long term stability and dominance is somewhere between this book and the worst prophecies of China s accent, but it is nice to read an encouraging take of our prospects


  5. Alex MacMillan Alex MacMillan says:

    More informative books on the USA vs BRICs topic are out there Why America Is Not a New Rome,


  6. Dan Zamborsky Dan Zamborsky says:

    I received this book as a First Reads giveaway and would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in current events and political science.The Myth of America s Decline Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies by Joseph Joffe provides a fascinating look into the uniquely American phenomenon of the United States seeming decline in the face of foreign powers and global change Joffe takes the reader through a historical tour of specific events in which America was I received this book as a First Reads giveaway and would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in current events and political science.The Myth of America s Decline Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies by Joseph Joffe provides a fascinating look into the uniquely American phenomenon of the United States seeming decline in the face of foreign powers and global change Joffe takes the reader through a historical tour of specific events in which America was perceived to be in terminal decline, from the Sputnik launch to the current paranoia associated with a rising China, and refutes and explains how and why America not only overcame these episodes but will continue as the consummate superpower for the foreseeable future The facts are staggering, and Joffe provides a great variety of tables, graphs, and other assorted hard data to back up his arguments The main point America still stands head and shoulders above even the most advanced economies and polities at this time in history Evidence to support this thesis is provided anecdotally, with side by side comparisons of economic data, demographics, and historical trends which show America to be the global leader in economic power, innovation, and general progress This analysis flies in the face of the sensationalist media coverage which promotes and inflates the coming threat of rising stars such as China, India, Brazil, and post Soviet Russia Joffe deflates this rhetoric using empirical data and sober comparison, showing that regardless of national pride and foreign jealousies America will stand as the beacon of liberal society for the time being.This book was both entertaining and highly educational It offers a point of view which is not highly touted by a media and general public which thirsts for American decline, whether as a mild collective psychosis for Americans or a validation of rising supremacy for international up and comers I personally enjoyed the book because I was born after most of the events discussed in the book and the analysis puts these events in a comprehensive package which shows a pattern which has both societal and historical impacts that inform our collective national consciousness


  7. Carla JFCL Carla JFCL says:

    This extremely interesting book uses history, economics, politics and general strategy techniques to defend the argument that, contrary to popular belief, America s place in the world is not going to fall anytime soon into doom, despair and destruction It provides a fascinating look at our ever present woe is me culture, which according to this author is primarily foisted upon us by media, politicians and special interest groups He systematically debunks almost all of their arguments, using This extremely interesting book uses history, economics, politics and general strategy techniques to defend the argument that, contrary to popular belief, America s place in the world is not going to fall anytime soon into doom, despair and destruction It provides a fascinating look at our ever present woe is me culture, which according to this author is primarily foisted upon us by media, politicians and special interest groups He systematically debunks almost all of their arguments, using information which I found surprisingly readable for what is at times a pretty dense subject.One of the primary techniques the author uses is to look back over decades of what he calls declinism i.e., the theory that America has reached her peak and is now on the road to inevitable decline He goes back about 50 years and discusses countless examples of how this same broken record has been played over and over by various disc jockeys In the end, he pretty much convinced me that if you were to adjust the names and datesyou have a one size fits all decades diagnosis of inescapable decline Of course, none of these prophecies of doom came true, at least not on any long term basis.We all know, of course, that it s often necessary to follow the money in matters such as those discussed in this book Joffe illustrates with numerous good examples how there is plenty of money to be made in touting declinism, which is what keeps its engine stoked He states that a culture of doom determines the national interest and then opens the national purse then he goes on to prove it The author is no Pollyanna, though He does recognize and discuss the many real danger zones that do exist for America, as well as things we as a country can do and in many cases are already doing to avoid them Overall, I found this to be a very hopeful book.DISCLAIMER I reviewed a free, advance reader s copy of this book that I received through the Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway program


  8. Gregory Gregory says:

    from read Josef Joffe s The Myth of America s Decline, in large part because it intersected with my view of U.S policy toward Latin America What Joffe argues, pretty convincingly in my opinion, is that there are waves of declinism the USSR was going to overtake us, then Japan, then Europe, and now China but they all concentrate on very short term, unsustainable signs People gleefully argued the USSR and Japan would overtake the U.S precisely as the from read Josef Joffe s The Myth of America s Decline, in large part because it intersected with my view of U.S policy toward Latin America What Joffe argues, pretty convincingly in my opinion, is that there are waves of declinism the USSR was going to overtake us, then Japan, then Europe, and now China but they all concentrate on very short term, unsustainable signs People gleefully argued the USSR and Japan would overtake the U.S precisely as they were falling apart Overall, it is true that the U.S does not simply dominate the world, but it is still overwhelmingly the strongest power.What I find fascinating, and Joffe does not get into it much, is that declinism transcends ideology Those on the left such as it is in the United States applaud it as a sign of international equality while the right deplore it as a sign of weakness But they agree it is happening exactly why is never clear, though politicians routinely pick up on it and exploit fear.With regard to U.S policy, it relates to my post about the Monroe Doctrine not being dead Not being dominant is not the same as being in decline The election of leftists and the creation of a few Venezuelan funded international organizations is not the same as a new international order At the very least it is premature to declare it Which islikely in ten years a strong and effective UNASUR or an economically and militarily influential United States The book reads very smoothly, chock full of literary and cultural references even a footnote dedicated to Parker Lewis Can t Lose though it could ve been a lot shorter as there is plenty of repetition It is also very boosterish about international capitalism and wary of Barack Obama without asking any questions about the long term effects of growing inequality But he does a nice job of poking at conventional wisdom


  9. David David says:

    A brilliant, detailed reading of Declinism as in the West and the Rest read by Niall Ferguson in the US and the West The author does not suggest this is not occurring but places the idea within a historical context and then analyzes the different forms the declinist argument occurs and its unstated purposes This is the most interesting part of the book With a contextualized understanding of the declinist ideology in hand, the author then proceeds to apply this to the idea of decline over th A brilliant, detailed reading of Declinism as in the West and the Rest read by Niall Ferguson in the US and the West The author does not suggest this is not occurring but places the idea within a historical context and then analyzes the different forms the declinist argument occurs and its unstated purposes This is the most interesting part of the book With a contextualized understanding of the declinist ideology in hand, the author then proceeds to apply this to the idea of decline over the past 60 years, but with special emphasis on China which they spend some time comparing to the Asian Tigers most notably Taiwan and South Korea ROK Mr Joffe spends a considerable amount of time interrogating the BRICs and their rise All in all, the picture is fairly positive for the US at this time, but the author sees some clouds on the horizon, and although they disagree with the declinists Mr Joffe does believe America could possible be the author of its own destruction spending is of particular concern as well as trade imbalance This reader found Mr Joffe s reading of the rise and limitations of China very interesting Highly Recommended for those worried about what the world may look like by 2050 popular fiction date for the declinists


  10. Ezequiel Ezequiel says:

    Joffe presents evidence of a fact that has been denied way too many times most political and economic forecasters, including scholars, journalists, and others alike seem to never get it right In his work, he takes the reader in a journey to demonstrate that the recurring prophecy of the Decline of the American Empire is no exception But the conclusion itself, nor the evidence so well presented, are the reasons why I would recommend this book It is the in depth and clarity of the analysis wha Joffe presents evidence of a fact that has been denied way too many times most political and economic forecasters, including scholars, journalists, and others alike seem to never get it right In his work, he takes the reader in a journey to demonstrate that the recurring prophecy of the Decline of the American Empire is no exception But the conclusion itself, nor the evidence so well presented, are the reasons why I would recommend this book It is the in depth and clarity of the analysis what make this a great book It reads like a conversation an entertaining one, peppered here and there with his sharp sense of humor covering a wide range of political, social and economic happenings of our recent history Joffe presents his point of view, with which you may agree or not I personally agree with most, but not all In many cases I could not avoid taking a pencil and making annotations on the margin, some happy faces, but also some question marks This is a must read, one that you will enjoy


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The Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies ❴Epub❵ ➜ The Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies Author Josef Joffe – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk A provocative and contrarian work filled with great lessons from history that challenges the pervasive notion that America is on the decline A provocative and contrarian work of America's PDF/EPUB ¿ filled with great lessons from history that challenges the pervasive notion that America is on the decline.

  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • The Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies
  • Josef Joffe
  • English
  • 13 January 2019
  • 0871404494

About the Author: Josef Joffe

Is a well known author, of America's PDF/EPUB ¿ some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies book, this is one of the most wanted Josef Joffe author The Myth PDF \ readers around the world.