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  #1  
Old 08-23-2002, 05:21 AM
Montezuma Montezuma is offline
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America in the next 50 years...

What will the united states be like you think, in the next 50 years?
will her world position have changed? Economic domination more intense? Population increased by immigrants and Spanish overtaking English as the primary language? Militariliy more dependent on worldwide and regional alliances?
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2002, 06:31 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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Judging from all the obesity warnings, I predict that Americans will be exploding in large numbers by 2015. Anything beyond that is harebrained speculation.
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  #3  
Old 08-23-2002, 11:15 AM
Henry B Henry B is offline
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Will her world position have changed?
- Not much, if she plays her card right.

Economic domination more intense?
- Less.

Population increased by immigrants
- I think so.

and Spanish overtaking English as the primary language?

- No, but may a quite strong second language. And I can assure You that bilingual, multicultural is not bad for Your culture.
I think You have seen it many times over already in Your country.
You have many very good writers among minorities in America.

Militariliy more dependent on worldwide and regional alliances?

- I hope USA makes alliances, because to be the "only sheriff in town", is a quite heawy job. (I mean naturally the only sheriff in the world).
I feel that here the world has come to a turning-point. If USA begins to make everything alone, the result is that USA is quite alone.
Another point is that there is a lot of nations that would like to have the "American Style of Life" only partly or not at all.
USA and other countries should understand that.

My answers are related from the fact that I see it from outside, but I think this topic would be very interesting, if people also from outside will comment it.

My answers are not leaning on any facts. They are just how I feel and think for the moment.
Just the fact that there is the InterNet has changed this world quite a lot. Different countries tries to stop it, (e.g. China), but sooner or later, maybe within 5 - 10 years, it will be possible for billions of people to "discuss" around the world.
This alone will affect the world very much.

50 years? All our answers can be a joke by then. Mine will certainly be, but it's just guess' and opinions.
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  #4  
Old 08-23-2002, 01:42 PM
flapcats flapcats is offline
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I hear there won't be any forests
There'll be a LOT more nuclear power stations
Alaska will have a texanesque horizon
Sport will have 1 day of game and six weeks o' Court TV

Everywhere else meanwhile will try to be like America, only with no natural resources, breathable air or nice weather.

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  #5  
Old 08-23-2002, 02:28 PM
W. Panic Snopes W. Panic Snopes is offline
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In the book I'm writing on the subject, the following has come to pass by 2054:

-There is a great deal more regional autonomy and conflict- Texas has, as is their right, split into several states and is seeking to become their own nation, Metro NYC is a state comprised of parts of CT, NJ, and NY with no allegiance to those states, the Eastern Seaboard is threatening seccession, and several new metropoli have been built from the ground up in Arizona, the Dakotas, and Montana to absorb Californians who have drunk the Colorado dry and dependent upon sea water. 80 year old Wil Wheaton (who thanks to telomerase treatments and bio-nanotech looks 50) has led a major schism among Trekkies (now the nation's 4th largest religion) between those who prefer seeing him and those who prefer seeing the clones of the original members (with the exception of Nimoy's clone, who became a Russian Orthodox rabbi). The Amish are now driving 1980 Chevy products, power lines are a thing of the past as Tesla has finally won, the corporate world and numerous small cities are led by orpahs (illegally obtained clones of President for Life Oprah Winfrey). In most parts of the First World, good waiters, hair dressers, and interior designers are paid far more than good tax attorneys as the genetic "correction" of gays has done what Exodus never could (gay men are made straight and parents no longer have gay children), but in America homosexuality is still legal courtesy of the Christian Coalition (to allow genetic rewriting would be to say "we were wrong about homosexuality being a choice", so they've never allowed it and gay culure flourishes). Virtual Reality addiction has far surpassed the long since legalized and decayed narcotics trade while television has been replaced by interactive holorama. Hawaii is once again a kingdom ruled by Kamaheha IX and his consort queen Liliu Oprah, and Indie films are still being screwed by the Oscars (hosted by a reinstantiated Bob Hope).
Hope this helps.
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  #6  
Old 08-23-2002, 07:56 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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A British historian once wrote that you can predict the future of a nation for the next 50 years (a coincidence) by the condition of its schools & what is taught there.

I believe this is true.

In all seriousness, I am terrified of the next 50 years.
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2002, 01:10 AM
december december is offline
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In a few years genetic scientists will learn how to make "designer babies," by selecting genetic material. I expect to see a quantum jump in human intelligence. A uniformaly intelligent human race will do things unimaginable to us ordinary folk.
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  #8  
Old 08-24-2002, 01:17 AM
Raygun99 Raygun99 is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by W. Panic Snopes
In the book I'm writing on the subject, the following has come to pass by 2054:

-There is a great deal more regional autonomy and conflict- Texas has, as is their right, split into several states
I'm curious as to where you drew the lines.
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  #9  
Old 08-24-2002, 04:58 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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Texas is too much in love with being BIG to split up. They've never fully recovered from that whole Alaska thing.

If anything, they'll try to absorb Oklahoma.
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  #10  
Old 08-24-2002, 08:47 AM
Montezuma Montezuma is offline
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I hope Russia revives itself and eventually becomes a world power again. This could have a nicer balance of power, that could ensure world peace.
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  #11  
Old 08-24-2002, 09:01 AM
RexDart RexDart is offline
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Let's extrapolate the trends of the last century, last 10 years, etc., see where it goes:

I think we'll be paying 60% or higher income taxes and the country will be a socialist nightmare. The economy will tank because business will flee the tax rates and take their money with them to small pacific islands.

Smoking tobacco will be banned, and I'll be paying $20 per pack on the black market. The drinking age will be raised to 25 or 30, penalties for drunk driving will range up to life imprisonment, and college students caught drinking will be sent home to live in a cage in their parents' basement.

The President of the United States will guide foreign policy with the use of Pyramid Power and her collection of magnet bracelets.

All restaurants will serve only those crappy little health pellets from the movie "Demolition Man." You won't be allowed to eat anything fattening, but you won't be allowed to be skinny for fear of hurting teenage girls' self-esteem when they see you.

Cable news channels will number in the hundreds, and they'll all still have those stupid news tickers on the bottom and lead in every bottom-of-the-hour update with a "War on Terror" graphic.

The U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense will answer directly to the Secretary General of the United Nations, and will have to bend over pantsless and take a paddling before they are allowed to go to their knees and beg for the right to move an aircraft carrier 10 miles up a coastline.

40% of the country will speak Spanish, really quickly so as to befuddle everyone who took a couple years of it in high school. On the bright side, there will be alot more televised soccer matches, though Steinbrenner's TV network will still be the only one carrying Manchester United.

An unsuccessful attempt will be made to outlaw automobiles. As a compromise, everyone will have to sell their trucks and sport-utility vehicles and buy a KIA.

And in all seriousness and sorrow, I expect one major city will have gone up in nuclear fire as a result of a bomb planted by an Arab terrorist, pissed off that we still haven't gotten the point about Israel after 50 frickin' years.
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  #12  
Old 08-24-2002, 09:53 AM
London_Calling London_Calling is offline
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Okay, crystal ball time. From this singular moment in time.....wait, the mists are clearing.....10....20...30...?....nope, can't go any further than 30 years:

I think, with hindsight, 9/11 in particular but Bush in general might be seen as something of a watershed in the development of this empire.

Losing Grip

Prior to 9/11, a momentum was certainly gaining within the world community (for the first time, IMHO) to face down US policy and to develop policies to which the US Administration objected: Kyoto and the ICC are but the most significant manifestations of something that has simmered for some time (perhaps beginning with things like the Land Mines Treaty....) that signals a growing cohesion outside the erstwhile overpowering and, inevitably, self-serving - influence of the US which will continue.

Much of that is led by the growing diplomatic and economic power of the EU and fuelled (pun !) by the present Administration's Isolationist inclination or, at best, unilateral decision-making tendency: The current relative size of the EU and US economies (before proposed EU expansion) = $9 trillion vs. $10 trillion

Arab/Muslim world

In addition, I think we've seen (since the Gulf War) a greater agreement, coordination and sophistication amongst the Arab/Muslim world in the way it deals with the US Bush 41 shafted them then and it rather brought to their attention the divide and rule policy of the post-war period. greater unity amongst them perhaps helped by the notable absence of a Soviet alternative backer.

And then there's China: Unpredictable as ever. One thinks of the Hong Kong and the coastal economic zones and wonders......

US Debt:

I also find myself wondering at the level of debt the US continues to grow I'm not an expert but there must surely come a time of reckoning if the $ doesn't maintain a reasonable degree of equivalence with the Euro. This is important for any empire, perhaps more so for one reliant on economic power first and military power second (the first empire of the capitalist era).

Influence and Russia:

However, I also think the relationship between the US and Russia will likely be the big story of the next 20-30 years. Both have so very much to gain and nothing to lose. It is a natural alliance, IMHO, in both economic and political terms.

On the other hand, Europe will continue to exert increasing influence throughout the Arab/Muslim world as well as through Africa (and beyond) because of its more engaged and sympathetic strategy: US 'aid', in relative terms, having declined consistently since, say Rio, and being seen as more tied to self-interest than that of Europe's (market access to US companies, contracting with US companies, etc.). In contrast, European aid has grown (policy) and is more solution based (for example, that environmental sustainability does not have to impact on the developing world's economic growth).

Much, of course, depends on a Palestinian State and on how Russia plays the game between it's twin suitors, the EU and the US but whatever else unfolds, Russia will exert increasing influence on the world stage, especially if it continues to grow oil production outside of OPEC and uses the cash to restructure it's economy interestingly, the natural partners of the US lay to the East, not towards Europe.

Internally

Also relevant will be whether the proposals to limit corporate influence in USA policy-making (the lobby system with influence based on donations) will succeed and what other plans follow from that. There is a growing perception/realisation (now) and IMHO, that self-serving corporate interests do not always coincide with the national interest.

Much could also flow within the US, in terms of social policy, from unlinking corporate and political agenda's (shorter working weeks, longer statutory holidays, better social provision, etc. possible, given the EU model, but not implicit).


I guess, in summary, one has to say, in international terms, there is only so much 'power' to go around. The US faces considerable growing coordinated opposition and inclination to independence (legal, 'moral', political and economic) from Russia, from the EU, from China and from the Arab/Muslim world. It will do well, IMHO, to maintain anything close to the power that it now appears to exert unilaterally.

IMHO.
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  #13  
Old 08-24-2002, 11:52 AM
W. Panic Snopes W. Panic Snopes is offline
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Raygun99 wrote:
"I'm curious as to where you drew the lines."

When Texas joined the union it was with the proviso that they could, at the decision of their legislature, break into five separate states as they had been under the Republic of Texas. There is occasional debate in the Texas house about this as it would give them 8 more senators, but so far the debate has never gotten very far. With the polarization of conservatives and liberals and oil interests vs. alternative fuels, it is gaining a bit more momentum (still rather extremist, but less than it once was).
Texas also has permission per their union proviso to withdraw from the Union and reform the Republic of Texas, though their first experience at secession didn't go terribly well (though it was thoroughly legal, the reason Jefferson Davis was never brought to trial for treason).
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  #14  
Old 08-24-2002, 12:07 PM
lucwarm lucwarm is offline
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For what it's worth, here are my thoughts:

There's one thing that's changing faster than anything else. Faster than the increase in population; the number of non-English speakers; the national debt; etc. etc.

And that's the cost of computer power.

I predict that by 2050, computers will have radically changed American (and World) culture, more so than any other influence.

IMHO, computers will usher in a true New Era of peace, good health, and prosperity. (Unless (1) something catastrophic happens in the meantime; or (2) Bill Gates or equivalent gets enough control of the computers to make real trouble)
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  #15  
Old 08-24-2002, 12:53 PM
Raygun99 Raygun99 is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by W. Panic Snopes
Raygun99 wrote:
"I'm curious as to where you drew the lines."

When Texas joined the union it was with the proviso that they could, at the decision of their legislature, break into five separate states as they had been under the Republic of Texas. There is occasional debate in the Texas house about this as it would give them 8 more senators, but so far the debate has never gotten very far. With the polarization of conservatives and liberals and oil interests vs. alternative fuels, it is gaining a bit more momentum (still rather extremist, but less than it once was).
Texas also has permission per their union proviso to withdraw from the Union and reform the Republic of Texas, though their first experience at secession didn't go terribly well (though it was thoroughly legal, the reason Jefferson Davis was never brought to trial for treason).
That's not what I meant. I've heard about this before (I think I read about it 15 years ago in one of the Book of Lists). What I meant was I was curious as to where the borders of the new States would be (or rather where you chose to draw them, if you did).
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  #16  
Old 08-24-2002, 12:54 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Man, are you guys ever down on America. Let's try it from an optimistic viewpoint (unless you're European, in which case you won't like this).
  • Canada and the U.S. draw closer, possibly even sharing a common currency and competely open borders. This causes a massive influx of investment into Canada as many of our under-used resources are developed.
  • Europe stagnates. The EU experiment is a failure. The currency suffers several crises when countries realize that they can no longer jigger their own money supply. When the day comes that Germany has high inflation but France has low growth, the 'one size fits all' Euro will become a huge political problem. The next 50 years in Europe will be characterized by low growth under increasibly oppressive regulation, and plenty of protests and internal conflict.
  • The U.S. suffers a mega attack bigger than the WTC. As a result, the gloves come off, and the middle east is completely re-aligned. Saddam is gone, Iran becomes friendly to the west, and countries that were overtly hostile like Syria move into the column occupied by Saudi Arabia today - putatively allied, but with plenty of internal tension.
  • The OPEC cartel completely collapses. In part because of the gradual shift away from oil, in part because of the growing influence of Russia and Canada and other large producers. As a result, America controls much more of its own energy destiny, to its economic benefit.
  • America will be more regulated, but the growth in regulation and taxes will be slower than in the rest of the world, meaning that the productivity gap will continue to grow between the United States/Canada and the rest of Europe. America in 50 years will still be the overwhelming superpower in the world. If anything, its military power relative to the rest of the world will grow.
  • The U.S. will elect its first female president within the next 15 years, but the left will be supremely pissed off, because the first female president will be Republican AND a war hawk.
  • All this aside, the rise of the internet and its increasing ability to connect people around the world leads to new virtual communities that begin to exert political power. This is already happening to some extent. More and more people will begin to see their own 'community' to be less about who they live next to, and more about who they communicate with and hang out with online.
  • Big cities are on the decline, for several reasons - the big one is because the internet means that corporations can spread out more and still be efficient. Increasing energy prices will make telecommuting more intelligent. Throw into the mix more civil strife in inner cities and the threat of large-scale terrorist attacks, and I think you'll see major growth in communities of around 5,000-50,000 people. You still need enough people in a city to efficiently provide goods and services and transportation (airports, etc). But the need for huge cities will decrease. Get ready for Suburban America.
  • As a result of this, plus growing incomes, crime will drop.
  • Drugs will still be illegal, and many of us will still be slapping our foreheads and wondering why in hell the government doesn't realize that it's a pointless, destructive, expensive folly.
  • Life expectancy will over 100 years. That includes some of younger people who are already alive today.
  • I will need another drink.

But this is all pure speculation. Predicting 50 years into the future is pretty much impossible. Think about some people sitting around in 1902 talking about what would be happening in 50 years. Who could have predicted the rise of the Bolsheviks, WWI, the rise of imperial Japan, WWII, The Cold War, or Korea? The next 50 years are going to be even more chaotic than that, because there are powerful forces re-aligning the world as we speak.

Some of the wild cards:
  • Russia. This is still a very young democracy, and there are still plenty of bad people in various positions of power. What will Russia be like in 50 years? It's anyone's guess. I have my hopes, but once in a while (like when Putin signs a 40 billion dollar trade pact with Saddam...) I get worried.
  • Japan. This is a country facing a serious crisis. Its economy is still in the dumper, and it is about to have a population crash. Some estimates are that Japan's population will drop to about half of what it is today - not enough to sustain its standard of living. Plus, Japan's economy is still propped up in large degree by high real estate prices, and that simply cannot last. How this shakes out depends on how Japan reacts to this pressure. Immigration is critical, but will that insular society support it? The collapse of Japan will cause a world re-alignment of power. That's already happening.
  • China. China will be a superpower by then. They plan to land men on the moon long before then, and they want a large blue-water navy with carriers, etc. How will China fit into the world power structure? What will its government be like? Big unknowns.
  • The rise of Asia in general. It's still unclear just how much power Asia will have, but certainly it will become much more powerful.
  • The Muslim world. All the demographic trends are breaking towards the Muslim world. Birth rates throughout the world have crashed, except in Muslim countries. Islam's influence as a religion will continue to grow in the west.
  • Energy. Much of the world's power structure revolves around access to oil today. What will that be like in 50 years? Totally unknown.
  • The Internet, and other technologies. We ain't seen nothing yet. Virtual reality, telecommuting, privacy issues, morals... The internet touches everything. Entertainment is totally changed. There will be huge upheavals in the movie, tv, and music industries. That's already happening. What's unclear is where this will all wind up. But just think - just 20 years ago, the first home computers were just showing up, and people that said everyone would soon have one were laughed at. Even 10 years is an eternity in the computer world. Predicting 50 years in the future is impossible.
  • I'll still be typing this message.

Or maybe not.
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  #17  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:31 PM
dal_timgar dal_timgar is offline
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Global Mind War

it's 33 years after the moon landing and highschool graduates can't figure out that cars are garbage. why doesn't NASA redesign the space shuttle every year? how are incompetent highschool graduates going to support the baby boomers that wasted their income on cars that depreciated? why should they?

teach the kids to educate themselves by reading good books.

YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Joe Dominguez

use the internet to change the future.
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  #18  
Old 08-24-2002, 03:47 PM
RexDart RexDart is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sam Stone

But this is all pure speculation. Predicting 50 years into the future is pretty much impossible. Think about some people sitting around in 1902 talking about what would be happening in 50 years. Who could have predicted the rise of the Bolsheviks,
Since Bolshevists trumpeted the concept of the Hegelian dialectic, there's something really cute and ironic about that statement.
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Old 08-24-2002, 04:40 PM
mswas mswas is offline
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I think pointing to the internet as a source of societal change is important.

Someone pointed out that you can predict the future of a nation by looking at it's educational system. I think the educational system is failing kids. There are a few real life skills that are needed in schools that are still more or less being taught, such as reading arithmetic, and general science. For the more in depth study kids will turn more and more to the internet and self-study. We are going to see a lot more division among the educated class and the uneducated class. The meritocracy will be divided even deeper, with the rich being able to belong to the upper strata just because the intelligent will see an use for them. The poor due to the wide accessibility of the internet will no longer be relegated to lack of education. People will make their way onto message boards such as this one and find new subjects that were previously closed to them. Computer configuration will be second nature to most kids. Just about every child will be able to hack to a certain degree and will find many ways to get around the system. Inequality will be at an all time high, however as it will be based more upon merit and cleverness it will be much more highly tolerated. No one is going to want to belong among "The Stupid" as a marginalized fringe group so they won't speak up against the discrimination that they will receive. Big government will be more and more irrelevant, and be seen more as an obstacle toward getting things done, than as a protectionary body. The world will be much more unified outside of government interference, and big governnments around the world will continue to plod along making their deals and annoying the progressive parts of the world.

The United States will remain powerful. The most powerful? Maybe not. However, look at the amount of influence that Russia, Germany, Japan and England have on the world stage at the moment, and they were all empires within the last century. Their influence being a direct corrolation to how long they were in power and to the extent of their power. The United States will be a player for centuries. However, I do believe that the idea of the nation state is becoming more and more obsolete. The model of the United States as well, "United" "States" will become the method of governance more and more into the future. We'll see more autonomous city states, more Trading Blocs that ride the line between a state and a treaty organization. For instance look at the FTAA, NAFTA, the EU, The Commonwealth of British States, China's "One country two systemms" policy. In otherwords we'll see a lot more regional influence upon the governance of an area and less power among the large nation states. With more of a move toward a world government. This world government may actually end up being an offshoot of the United States. Who knows?

Computers change very rapidly and they have changed EVERY industry across the board. Advances in car manufacturing, Medical Science, everything move exponentially faster now than they did 50 years ago. This kind of exponential growth will have a major impact upon the next 50 years.

Erek
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Old 08-24-2002, 04:50 PM
Henry B Henry B is offline
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London_Calling wrote:
"However, I also think the relationship between the US and Russia will likely be the big story of the next 20-30 years. Both have so very much to gain and nothing to lose. It is a natural alliance, IMHO, in both economic and political terms."

US would gain a lot from doing an alliance with Russia.
I would say that if USA and Russia would work together, they would have EU "between" themselves and the east "between" themselves. Just like two huge pinchers.
They would in fact contol the Northern Hemisphere.
If You compare the natural resourses of EU with Russia, or Japan - Korea etc. with Russia, it's like compering the pee of a mosquito with the Atlantic.
EU, Japan, Korea has brains, and hard working people. That's all they have, and that is a lot, but they are totally depending of the outern world.

On the other hand the brain import to USA will continue for a long time, so the know-how is granted.
I am a little bit sceptical to the US system of educating people because people need a lot of money for that = some tens of %:s of "brains" goes down the drain because of that.
Or brains is maybe not the right expression, it should be "educated brains".
You maybe has another opinion on this, because I do not have "brains enough" to get it here so, that it would not sound offending.
The fact is that the further we go in history, the more we need specialists. And I have never heard of "uneducated specialists".

The natural brain-power is simply not maximized in countries where not everyone can reach the top of his/her ability.
But no doubt, US will fix it.

If it would be possible today, what will maybe be possible within 20 years, Putin and Bush would send a telegram to S. Hussein: "We have solved all problems. Our mutual plan is like this:...."
Saddam would just shit in his pants, and certainly there would not be any need for further discussions.

OK, just my two kopecs.
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  #21  
Old 08-24-2002, 07:40 PM
mswas mswas is offline
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Umm, if Putin or Bush are still in power in 20 years it would mean that the government of both nations have collapsed.

Erek
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  #22  
Old 08-24-2002, 09:20 PM
Brutus Brutus is offline
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Funny you should ask how the US will be in 50 years...The Economist has an interesting article regarding the demographic trends of the US vs. the EU.

The sum of it: Things could be very good for the US. Or very bad. It all depends. Madame Cleo they are not!
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