Position paper on ‘Lament for America’ by Earl Fry

America has being a super power for a long time after the fall of the Roman Empire. The country has not only been powerful economically, but also politically. However, a critical analysis of the issues that the country is facing especially in the current century indicates that its power is declining. In the book ‘Lament for America’ by Fry, the author clearly illustrates that the super power is on the decline.

The situation has been caused by various factors such as the effects of globalization, problems and challenges within the borders of United States as well as the stiff competition arising from other countries and nations within the European region. The signs of decline have already been evident in the first decade of the twenty first century.

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As much as anyone may want to be optimistic, there is no doubt that the issue of America as a super power will be history. With that background in mind, this paper strongly illustrates that it is true that America is on the decline as illustrated in the book ‘Lament for America’ by Earl H. Fry.

As much as the challenges facing United States are from without, studies indicate that there are a lot of domestic problems which are affecting not only its capability to influence other nations but also the country’s ability to support its population and provide a better and comfortable life to the present and the future generation.

The economic situation in United States is troubling bearing in mind that the country has always been recognized as a super power in the past. For instance, United States is leading in terms of the government debt. The United States’ public and private sector borrow seventy percent of the world’s savings.

Although the private sector is growing tremendously, the huge government debt becomes a real obstacle to any type of development. Analysts project that the problem may become worse because during the last three decades, the government debt increased by twelve times.

Although United States was the largest creditor after the First World War until 1980s, it is the largest debtor country currently. The citizens, corporations and well as the government have been living far beyond their means and that is why the external debt is on the increase[1].

The popularity and the importance of the United States dollar is a major contributory factor to the United States popularity. Dollar has been a major currency in the world for long time although Euro and Yean as well as the Swiss franc are replacing it. It is clear that currently, the United States dollar is the chief international currency since it accounts for about sixty percent of the central bank reserves.

However, analysts project that in the next decade, the reserves will fall to less than fifty percent. Most the United State’s competitors like Brazil, China and Russia are in the forefront pushing for diversity in the monitory system. Due to such issues and increased government debt, it is clear that it is difficult for United States to remain as a super power.

It is the duty of each nation to provide health care to all citizens irrespective of their economic status. As studies of Fry indicate, it is true that United States health care is almost the most costly system in the world and worse still, it lacks equity. Further studies explain that compared to other western countries in the world, United States spends twice as much on health care only.

On the same note, it is important to point out that though America spends twice as much, many people in the country lack any medical cover, while those that are already covered lack full cover. Due to lack of medical cover, many Americans die every year after succumbing to various sicknesses.

While most of the countries western regions spend around twelve percent of their Gross Domestic Product on health care, United States spends around seventeen percent. Families in United State spend more on healthcare more than on any other need. Health care costs have been increasing consistently and as a result, it is expected that the trend will continue in the future decades.

Most of the private companies that are operating in United States have been evading provision of medical cover to their workers. In addition, some of the companies have been shifting their operations to other places where the health care is more affordable like Canada. In that case, it is clear that the situation in America will continue to become worse.

It is easier to argue that the situation can improve but as the studies of Fry[2] illustrate, viable solutions would only have been applicable about two decades ago. Therefore, while focusing on the health care only, it is clear that United States is declining daily and the situation is becoming worse. Moreover, the viable solutions may not be of much help currently, or they may take quite some time before they are implemented.

As highlighted in the introductory part and contrary to the views of the majority, America is poorly prepared to support its population especially them that are expected to retire in the current decade as well as in the subsequent decades. Studies indicate that a quarter of the population in the United States was born from the year 1946-1964[3].

The same studies illustrate that the same population is expected to retire in the current and in the following decades. The situation clearly illustrates that the obligations of the programs that are meant to take care of the retirees like the Medicare and Social Security will increase.

Although the increased spending of the benefit programs like food stamp and health care are worsened by the economic recession and may reduce once the economic improves, spending by Medicare and Medicaid may not be affected positively. The problem is worsened by the high life expectancy, which ranges from 80 years for women and 75.4 for men.

Initially, life expectancy was much lower but due to various reasons, it is on the increase. As a developed nation, America ought to be prepared to take care of the aging population. On the contrary, no program has been put in place cater for the same. Such a situation will continuously deplete the savings, a situation that will contribute to the decline of the country as a super power.

Globalization has many benefits in many countries as it has in United States. However, disadvantages of the same are present in most countries of the world. To begin with, globalization leads to interdependence not only among states and countries but also among business corporations as well as among different societies. Due to that, domestic affairs are seriously affected by decisions that are made in foreign countries.

For instance, United States depends so much on the petroleum products from other countries and the same has a great effect on its industries. In addition, globalization calls for increased international interaction between various countries. Such activities and engagements are serious disadvantages to a super power like United States.

For instance, studies of Fry [4] indicate that the government debt of United States was doubled during the time of the George Bush administration. In the view of the fact that United States was actively involved in solving some of the international problems, the money spent on defense increased greatly[5].

Consequently, foreign countries like Japan and China hold more than half of the public debt after buying various instruments of debt like bonds and shares. Such situation is very dangerous to a super power like United States because the economic status is highly dependent on countries that buy the country’s government debt.

The upcoming competitors like China and Japan are challenging the economic and the military power of United States. The economy of China is growing very fast and if the trend can continue for two decades, it can surpass the economy of United States. European Union, which has twenty-seven states, is also becoming stronger, politically and economically.

In addition, there is a high possibility that Euro can replace the dollar. Countries like Japan and Brazil are also becoming stronger economically as well as countries from the South East Asia. If such countries can continue with such trend, they will get a voice in making of the international decisions and will eventually challenge the international standing of United States.

The study has indicated that it is true that United States has been a super power for many years. However, as Fry [6] illustrates, there is a high possibility that the future generation will know a poorer nation and not an economic giant. This is because its economic and political power is on the decline.

As much as anyone may want to disagree with the book ‘Lament for America’, reading through the text indicates that valid reasons are used to project the decline of the United States.

A critical analysis of issues pertaining to globalization, competitors as well as domestic problems of United States indicates that the current trend is not promising at all. In the view of the fact that implementing changes is not only a long process but also a lengthy process, it is clear that the decline is inevitable.

Works Cited

Fry, Earl H. Lament for America: decline of the superpower, plan for renewal. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2010. Print.

Paterson, Thomas, et al. American foreign relations: a history. Since 1895, Volume 2. Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.

Paterson, Thomas, et al. American foreign relations: a history. Since 1895, Volume 2. Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2009 pp. 181. Print.
Fry, Earl H. Lament for America: decline of the superpower, plan for renewal. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2010 pp.26. Print.
Fry, Earl H. Lament for America: decline of the superpower, plan for renewal. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2010 pp. 33. Print
Fry, Earl H. Lament for America: decline of the superpower, plan for renewal. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2010 pp.28. Print
Paterson, Thomas, et al. American foreign relations: a history. Since 1895, Volume 2. Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2009 pp.. Print.
Fry, Earl H. Lament for America: decline of the superpower, plan for renewal. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2010 pp.2. Print

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