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Wall Of Worry Redux: 24 Statistics Confirming America's Decline

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Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:47 | 649197 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Ya all just discovered Economic Collapse?

Those fucking lists are the highlight of my day.


May as well share this


It's not an uncommon sight in financial markets: price trends that gradually accelerate until they go "parabolic." Of course, not all of the moves are to the upside. Sometimes, it's less of a "moon shot" than a crash-and-burn. Does that describe the trajectory of the United States standing in the world? Based on the following article by Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald, "Collapsing Empire Watch," it's hard not to draw that conclusion.

It's easy to say and easy to document, but quite difficult to really internalize, that the United States is in the process of imperial collapse. Every now and then, however, one encounters certain facts which compellingly and viscerally highlight how real that is. Here's the latest such fact, from a new study in Health Affairs by Columbia Health Policy Professors Peter A. Muennig and Sherry A. Glied (h/t):

In 1950, the United States was fifth among the leading industrialized nations with respect to female life expectancy at birth, surpassed only by Sweden, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands. The last available measure of female life expectancy had the United States ranked at forty-sixth in the world. As of September 23, 2010, the United States ranked forty-ninth for both male and female life expectancy combined.

Just to underscore the rapidity of the decline, as recently as 1999, the U.S. was ranked by the World Health Organization as 24th in life expectancy. It's now 49th. There are other similarly potent indicators. In 2009, the National Center for Health Statistics ranked the U.S. in 30th place in global infant mortality rates. Out of 20 "rich countries" measured by UNICEF, the U.S. ranks 19th in "child well-being." Out of 33 nations measured by the OECD, the U.S. ranks 27th for student math literacy and 22nd for student science literacy. In 2009, the World Economic Forum ranked 133 nations in terms of "soundness" of their banks, and the U.S. was ranked in 108th place, just behind Tanzania and just ahead of Venezuela.

There is, however, some good news: the U.S. is now in fifth place in total number of executions, behind only China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and comfortably ahead of Yemen and Sudan, while there are two categories in which the U.S. has been and remains the undisputed champion of the world -- this one and this one. And, of course, the U.S. is not just objectively the greatest country on the planet, but the greatest country ever to exist in all of human history -- as Dave Roberts put it in response to these life expectancy numbers: "but we're No. 1 in bestness!" -- so we're every bit as exceptional as ever.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:42 | 649378 trav7777
trav7777's picture

it's impossible to look at the US compared to other nations without examining our demographics.

Let's look at what we've done in the past 30 or 40 years.  We've relentlessly imported 3rd world demographics and systematically propped up our indigenous 3rd world demographic through programs such as affirmative action, which have devoted resources to those with demonstrably less APTITUDE than others.

So, when 25% of your country is essentially 3rd world, how do you expect to compare to Lichtenstein and shit?  We have demographics in this nation whose violent crime rates are 6-10x that of the majority demographic rate.  This will put a crimp on "life expectancy" as the highest cause of death for young men in one of those demographics is murder.

Yet, our policy profile and the relentless mantra of "multiculturalism" or wtfever it is suggests we should devote more resources to artificially elevating those who have proven unable to cut it, and we should have more immigration to change the demographics of the nation further, because having more 3rd world people and behavior and culture is a "good" thing.

Those in power pushing these agendas want us to be more like Mexico or more like Africa.  They see this "diversity" as strength.  It will somehow make us better.  Well, scoreboard, bitchez; it certainly has NOT by any objective metric in comparison to other nations.  We just keep sliding down the list.  Increasing diversity certainly appears to have failed to improve ANY QoL in any organization on any metric. 

The onus is on the demographic whose dominance LED to the initial high rankings to stand up en masse and retake the helm and discourse.  There may be some eggs broken in cooking this omelette.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 12:50 | 649644 Arthor Bearing
Arthor Bearing's picture

Just so we can bring it back to the usual enemy, the third world was imported by Kennedy et al. in the 60's in order to continue our economy's exponential growth so we could continue to pay off debt obligations to the fed.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 14:22 | 650012 Trundle
Trundle's picture

We've also relentlessly poisoned our kids with various vaccines, pharmaceuticals, crap food etc. since birth.  That has a huge impact on their cognitive abilities.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 15:16 | 650249 trav7777
trav7777's picture

the Flynn Effect would seem to dispute that.

Honestly, for anyone who's interested, you can compare ALL of these HDI and QoL metrics, demographic to demographic, from US to Norway or Belgium or any of them and see that we actually tend to outperform them.  The dominant european demographic's violent crime rate here is lower than that in Europe, homicide rate, we tend to have higher educations, higher IQs, etc.

Just break our indices down by demographic and some VERY clear trends emerge.  More diversity is not more strength, it means averaging us toward wherever the demographic came from.  It takes a very long time for nurture to overcome nature, if such a thing is even possible.  There are a variety of scholarly works out there, such as IQ and the Wealth of Nations, that are good starting points.

All this kvetching over America's "decline" proceeds under the absurd and factually wrong assumption that all people have equal traits.  It's a suicidal fantasy world that we inhabit with regard to this.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 14:55 | 650121 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

LOL - Politically correct profiling. Nothing wrong with broadening one's horizons. We cannot forget the contributions some of those demographics have made. I will agree that basing progress of a society on the lowest common denominator, can hold an entire society back. One never knows where the next George Washington Carver will come from.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 15:21 | 650276 trav7777
trav7777's picture

"broadening horizons"??  Is that some kinda diversityspeak?

GW Carver was a historical irrelevancy; most of the things he's popularly credited with were not in fact his inventions.  Part of the myth surrounding him and other things such as the traffic light or gas mask are complete falsehoods intended to promote diversity as a strength.  It's pure historical revisionism to obfuscate the fact that, at best, diversity is utterly irrelevant.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 15:04 | 650160 midtowng
midtowng's picture

So its immigrants that have ruined the country, huh? It couldn't possibly be those millions of exported jobs, nor the wealthy elite that have directed the nation's policies.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 15:24 | 650292 trav7777
trav7777's picture

Look, dude, we weren't talking about jobs or this other BS, we were comparing QoL and HDI factors.

From that perspective, YES, 3rd world imports who tend to mirror 3rd world behaviors present in their region of origin DO average downward indices such as those pertinent to the OP.

As far as "whose fault" it is, obviously the rulership saw diversity as a strength; I thought I was patently clear when I explained that the first time.  Clearly, they value diversity OVER QoL

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:57 | 649441 trav7777
trav7777's picture


Thu, 10/14/2010 - 13:59 | 649920 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture

c'mon GF,

you compare the US and iraq, iran, saudi arabia in 'total number' of anything? try this same number as percentage of populations...

and i'm not buying the china numbers - whatever they tell you...

i don't care if i agree with the point, shit like this is asinine.



Thu, 10/14/2010 - 15:50 | 650437 masterinchancery
masterinchancery's picture

Bogus stats which include lots of 3d world born immigrants, and their kids, now living in the us.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:46 | 649200 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Because Jane and Jhon Doe have the memory capacity of a goldfish, nobody will care and nobody will remember the good old days.

Hollywood will make a movie about the economy of 2010 and in 2080, everybody will say: LOOK! America was once a influential world power!

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:48 | 649204 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Sudden Debt

"Jane and Jhon Doe", do they own a market?

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 14:53 | 650116 Trundle
Trundle's picture

No, an RV.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:48 | 649201 Voodoo Economics
Voodoo Economics's picture

Yes, but the rest of the world isn't as inventive as we are. Yes, they've now got the engineers, mathematicians, programmers, etc. etc., but we've got Paris Hilton and Dumb Jocks making gazillions and everyone else just trades.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:49 | 649205 spartan117
spartan117's picture

#1 Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States has fallen to seventh.

If that statement is based on housing equity, then it should only get worse.  Plus, how is this data compiled and compared against the rest of the world?  If the dollar continues to fall against currencies of the developed/developing nations, then it only means that we have a bigger decline coming in the next few years.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:49 | 649207 99er
99er's picture

Chart: SPX

Did someone say "decline"?


Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:50 | 649209 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Looks like Hollywood has actually been able to make a very realistic movie about the future of America:






Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:56 | 649221 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Sudden Debt

Never read any C.M. Kornbluth then. Try The Marching Morons.

Way before Idiocracy.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:22 | 649299 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

And way before The Marching Morons, was a man named Cecil Rhodes who so greatly feared being overrun by the barbarians that he dedicated his life and his immense wealth to ensure the liberties of English gentlemen were not lost, creating the Rhodes Scholarships.

To these people we owe the CFR, and countless other social "do-gooder" groups. Instead of making the world a better place though, they work to promote idiocracy in order that they may continue to demonstrate the necessity of their rule.


Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:36 | 649346 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


And before Rhodes there was the church. A church that felt a serious threat from Gutenberg.

There is always a before. There is always some individual or group wishing to capitalize on the ignorance of others.

Same as it ever was.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:54 | 649217 George Costanza
George Costanza's picture

CogDis, I think that the "dumb money retail investor" feels this decline and that is one of the many reasons why they are not falling for the Fed Trap to seduce them back into Equities.  

That along with demographic factors and balance sheet repair needs. 

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:57 | 649226 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

This is great, since everyone always says the market "climbs a wall of worry". Why the market goes up when it's worried about the country being squashed like a little bug has always confounded me.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 10:59 | 649233 packman
packman's picture

#23 U.S. government spending as a percentage of GDP is now up to approximately 36 percent.

That statement is false actually.  The graph originally referred to in the blog referenced is all government spending (including states and municipalities), not just U.S. government spending.

U.S. government spending is running at 25.4% of GDP. ($3.7T per year, as of Q2).


Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:21 | 649291 clagr
clagr's picture

Wow! Now I sure do feel better to have that cleared up.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:45 | 649402 packman
packman's picture

My comment wasn't really intended to paint a prettier picture - just making a commentary that using sloppy data to make an argument doesn't help the argument.


Thu, 10/14/2010 - 14:09 | 649966 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture

+++ thank you.

perhaps this is why the church feared gutenberg. it threatened their hedge on BS?


"but that doesn't matter ikk, i want to make a point so i'll use google to help me bend some stats..."

friggn irritating - especially when the point doesn't need exaggeration to be valid.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:00 | 649236 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

Lemme Guess,


France or Belgium are number 1, right?

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:24 | 649310 Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs's picture

If only our government feared us.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 13:53 | 649911 Cpl Hicks
Cpl Hicks's picture

Good comment. If you sliced/diced and boiled down these lists and came up with the "top" countries I bet that we could have a lively debate about if we would consider moving ourselves, families and wealth to one of the list toppers.


Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:03 | 649238 Comrade de Chaos
Comrade de Chaos's picture

"(Reuters) - Singapore widened the trading band for its currency in response to increasing market volatility and India intervened to temper a rising rupee as foreign exchange tensions persisted ahead of a key G20 meeting."



and the question of the day ,has the FED started direct purchases of foreign currencies to devalue the $ yet? Are we there, yet? Are we? Arrree

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:02 | 649240 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

"The economy of India is projected to become larger than the U.S. economy, China" etc. those are meningless extrapolations, without external deman (mainly from the USA) those economies Can not grow (that fast)

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 12:19 | 649526 trav7777
trav7777's picture

not enough oil for them to grow that large

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:02 | 649241 AbandonShip
AbandonShip's picture

But where else can we go??? 

Has anyone successfully emigrated from Uncle Sam recently that can share their experience?

Canada? (imminent housing bubble there too), Switzerland? Nordic countries?  Trying to figure out if I can get  a phat ex-pat package either in Singapore, HK or <gasp> Arab Gulf.  I hear Aussie mining firms are gearing up for another materials run for ChIndia.  Any Aussie's out there that give us buy/sell recommendation on living in Australia?

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:02 | 649243 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Hands down, the "worst of the worst" commercial bank here in Los Angeles is Banco Popular.  These guys were the "subprime" SBA lender for many years.  Any SBA deal I looked at and didn't like, I referred it to BPOP.  About 75% of the time, those guys would make the loan.

Worth watching, because if it breaks out, look out above...

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:03 | 649244 Weimar Ben Bernanke
Weimar Ben Bernanke's picture

Stop with your fear mongering and anti america sentitment Tyler. Do not you have heard we Amerika,history and the law of economics do not apply to us! American exceptionalism will prevail. I dont care about your facts and economic models that show we are in a decline! Odummer will save us if not then Sarah "Alaskan Bimbo " Palin will save America. USA USA USA USA!!!! It is your patriotic duty to watch Jersey Shore,American Idol,Dancing with the stars and not pay attention what out govt is doing!!!!

Sarcasm off.

The only thing America needs to have in order to compare it to Rome's decline is an Adrianople. The battle of Adrianople proved that Romes military supeiorty was done for. If we go to war with Iran that will be our Adrianople.Iran cant us beat conventionally. However they will use assymetrical warfare to defeat us in Iraq,Afghanistan. All they have to do is destablise Saudi Arabia,Iraq,Baharain,and Egypt.Give stinger missiles to the Taliban and give us major headaches in these areas.Afghanistan could be our Adrianople if Pakistan collapses. But America's military prowess is slowly declining.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 12:07 | 649487 johnnynaps
johnnynaps's picture

Bzzzz! Wrong! We don't have to worry about winning and losing conventional battles, the "terrorists" proved that with one simple attack. Since 9/11 our economy has done what?

Point being, if we were to go to war with Iran there will be more debt, more political backlash, higher gas prices, social unrest, and an even worse economy. You need not worry about stinger missiles.......you will have to worry about natives with glocks!

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 14:51 | 650110 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

Who perpetrated 9/11? 

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 21:32 | 651538 johnnynaps
johnnynaps's picture

some disgruntled oligarch that wanted to make a ton of cash shorting airlines! Just another great reason for this ponzi scheme to come crashing down!

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 14:54 | 650120 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

I think Afghanistan and Iraq qualify as abject 'failures'. What 9 years in Afgan and how much progress?

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:12 | 649259 Winston Smith 2009
Winston Smith 2009's picture

Here's what will trigger the collapse:


The _entire_ chain of ownership in real estate is fatally tainted.  This is HUGE.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:19 | 649280 BobPaulson
BobPaulson's picture

Denial of the HUGENESS has been ongoing for 3 years now. When the doctor lifts the bandage, sees what's underneath and smiles and does _nothing_, you know you're a goner.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:13 | 649261 Internet Tough Guy
Internet Tough Guy's picture

Even the Mona Lisa is falling apart.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:14 | 649269 BobPaulson
BobPaulson's picture

I agree with many of the trends of the predictions but I am not moved by predictions many decades into the future. There are many game changes out there we haven't discovered (the famous Rumsfeld unknown unknowns) that could make things worse or better. 

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 14:16 | 649991 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture

+'s on that too.

"experts at FT (bloomberg, CNBS, etc.) predict that a solar flair will wipe out *all* major economic powerhouses (and most of the the smaller ones as well), in less than 100,000 years, presenting a great opportunity for the long-term bears..."


Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:17 | 649275 George Costanza
George Costanza's picture

The financials are finally take a bit of a hit, that does not bode well for the overall market.    Equities cannot break through upper bounds unless Financials participate

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:19 | 649283 the mad hatter
the mad hatter's picture

#25 parasitic bankers have captured the legislative process worldwide and have forced the fiat-based fractional reserve banking system down the throat of humanity

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:27 | 649322 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Nothing new about that fact. Though, perhaps the new part will be its endgame.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:24 | 649308 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Between 1960 and 2006, US production of goods and services as a percentage of total world production dropped by half. Despite the hype surrounding the "glorious days" of the 1980s and 90s, which were just deficit-induced spend-fests.



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