Declinism: is it really all going to hell in a handbasket?

It seems the pessimist gets all the publicity.

For much of the past decade, “declinism” – the notion that America is heading toward a deadly denouement – has largely been a philosophy of the left. But more recently, particularly in the wake of Barack Obama’s election, conservatives have begun joining the chorus, albeit singing a somewhat different variation on the same tune.

Joel Kotkin thinks the pessimism might be misreading history and that the reality is America on the Rise. In part it’s demographics and in part it’s resources, attitudes, and governance.

As we enter the next few decades of the new millennium, I would bet on a more youthful, still resource-rich and democratic America to maintain its preeminence even in a world where economic power continues to shift from its historic home in Europe to Asia.

It is very easy to focus on the problems as they tend to bite you in sensitive anatomy. Things going right and running smoothly tend to disappear unless you go out and find them. Kotkin provides a reminder that those focused on the decline of the US might want to exercise a bit more diligence in how they measure the referent.

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