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Deron Durflinger

Niall Ferguson: How American Civilization Can Avoid Collapse - The Daily Beast - 4 views

  • “killer applications
  • Competition
  • The Scientific Revolution
  • ...29 more annotations...
  • Modern Medicine
  • The Consumer Society
  • The Work Ethic
  • The Rule of Law and Representative Government.
  • these killer apps were essentially monopolized by Europeans and their cousins who settled in North America and Australasia
  • the great divergence
  • They also grew more powerful
  • 20th century, just a dozen Western empires—-including the United States—controlled 58 percent of the world’s land surface and population, and a staggering 74 percent of the global economy.
  • tendency of Western societies to delete their own killer apps.
  • But there is a second, more insidious cause of the “great reconvergence,” which I do deplore—and that is the
  • Ask yourself: who’s got the work ethic now? The average South Korean works about 39 percent more hours per week than the average American. The school year in South Korea is 220 days long, compared with 180 days here. And you don’t have to spend too long at any major U.S. university to know which students really drive themselves: the Asians and Asian-Americans
  • Yet life expectancy in the U.S. has risen from 70 to 78 in the past 50 years, compared with leaps from 68 to 83 in Japan and from 43 to 73 in China.
  • On no fewer than 15 of 16 different issues relating to property rights and governance, the United States fares worse than Hong Kong. Indeed, the U.S. makes the global top 20 in only one area: investor protection
  • The future belongs not to them but to today’s teenagers
  • The latest data on “mathematical literacy” reveal that the gap between the world leaders—the students of Shanghai and Singapore—and their American counterparts is now as big as the gap between U.S. kids and teenagers in Albania and Tunisia.
  • Yet statistics from the World Intellectual Property Organization show that already more patents originate in Japan than in the U.S., that South Korea overtook Germany to take third place in 2005, and that China is poised to overtake Germany too
  • the United States’ average competitiveness score has fallen from 5.82 to 5.43, one of the steepest declines among developed economies. China’s score, meanwhile, has leapt up from 4.29 to 4.90.
  • Perhaps more disturbing is the decline of meaningful competition at home, as the social mobility of the postwar era has given way to an extraordinary social polarization. You don’t have to be an Occupy Wall Street leftist to believe that the American super-rich elite—the 1 percent that collects 20 percent of the income—has become dangerously divorced from the rest of society, especially from the underclass at the bottom of the income distribution.
  • Far more than in Europe, most Americans remain instinctively loyal to the killer applications of Western ascendancy, from competition all the way through to the work ethic. They know the country has the right software. They just can’t understand why it’s running so damn slowly.
  • What we need to do is to delete the viruses that have crept into our system: the anticompetitive quasi monopolies that blight everything from banking to public education; the politically correct pseudosciences and soft subjects that deflect good students away from hard science; the lobbyists who subvert the rule of law for the sake of the special interests they represent—to say nothing of our crazily dysfunctional system of health care, our overleveraged personal finances, and our newfound unemployment ethic
  • And finally we need to reboot our whole system.
  • If what we are risking is not decline but downright collapse, then the time frame may be even tighter than one election cycle
  • Western Civilization's Killer Apps

  • COMPETITION
  • THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
  • THE RULE OF LAW
  • MODERN MEDICINE
  • THE CONSUMER SOCIETY
  • THE WORK ETHIC
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