Chris Ayers, an Englishman stationed in Los Angeles for the Times of London, sees many advantages to loss of top position in rankings of nations.
Do Tehranis and Muscovites blame Britain for the culture of mindless self-gratification that brought down the global economy? Of course not. They blame America -- even though Britain is arguably the more guilty party, what with its foreign-debt-to-GDP ratio standing at an unconscionable (and, really, quite embarrassing) 490%, as opposed to the United States' puritanical 89% (according to the 2007 "purchasing power parity" GDP and external debt figures supplied by the CIA World Factbook).
The fact is that when you're No. 1, you always get blamed for everything. When you're No. 3, or No. 5 -- or No. 135 -- you can put your hands in your pockets and whistle tunelessly with a "Who, me?" look on your face, and no one ever asks any questions.
Take Slovakia. Five years ago, Slovakia invaded Iraq. Admittedly, it did this with the help of a few other countries. But still, does Slovakia ever get the blame for all the trouble that has gone down over there since then?
I think the biggest relief will come when I do not have to worry so much about a future President of the United States making global mistakes. If only George W. Bush had gotten elected in, say, 2080 he couldn't have done much internationally with his position. But no. He had to have a powerful military at his disposal.
Ayers sees a booming business for any surviving US newspapers to sell condescending tripe to American readers eager to look down on peoples more powerful than them.
The beleaguered American newspaper industry, for example, might very well be able to profit immensely by simply dispatching its most snide and ironically detached correspondents to the new capitals of world power, from which they will be able to report with maximum condescension about the hilarious earnestness of the locals.
Well, if you are into condescension the future will seem culturally more enriching. Me, I think I'll shift to reading news written by the local writers of these future centers of power.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2008 December 27 10:08 AM Civilizations Decay|