Is The United States On The Decline?

December 16, 2022

In my travels I come across many foreigners who admire America and would love to live here, would love to move here and invest here. What is it that America offers that is so attractive that others lack? It is not size. Other countries are even larger. It is not resources. Others have no less. What is it?

The biggest asset a company, a country can have is what cannot be bought nor sold. It is its culture and system of operating.

In America, in comparison to many other countries, the judicial system works, law enforcement works, both believed to be low in corruption. There is also predictability of behavior. One gets what one orders. You do not feel cheated, promised one thing and what you get is not what you were told will be provided. The product one purchases will operate as advertised,

One can trust the local government services, the health delivery system, that certificates are not forged. In Russia, some medical doctors bought their certificates without ever attending classes. In Ukraine, I was told one can buy any certificate one wishes to have.

The financial reports landscape that is presented are truthful, so one can invest in the markets educated. All in all, one feels in America safer, with less uncertainty than one experiences in many other countries in the world. There is trust. There is law and order.

And the culture is one of mutual respect, of live and let live. Of tolerance to diversity. Abundance and opportunities to grow and succeed are not limited to a certain nation or ethnic group or religion.

But much of it now seems like a picture of the past. Recent past but still past. It's not news that many believe America is in its decline as a world power. And internally we are losing the optimism we had about the future of this country. America had what it takes to be the success it was and still is. But what is happening in America of late?

Trust is declining rapidly. Trust in police protection, in government, in the judicial system, and in big pharma companies who are being accused during the Covid pandemic of chasing money rather than the public good.

And the political system is being more and more adversarial in a destructive way. The mutual criticism leads to no trust in any politician. Add to it, the President himself is accusing the FBI, and the CIA, of being corrupt and the media for spreading fake news and that the elections were stolen. And the freedom of speech, the cornerstone of democracy is under threat. The political righteousness pressure on people to watch what they say in order not to violate whatever is considered to be politically correct at the time threatens the freedom of speech. Especially in Universities where freedom to think freely is sacrosanct. The disparity in income and wealth is growing, and political tolerance and collaboration are almost extinct. And religious tolerance is also on the decline. Antisemitism is on the rise. Then the war in Ukraine. Is it driven by the interests of the military-industrial complex or is it really that Russia is trying to expand and recreate the Soviet Union.

What to believe? Whom to believe? No strange the percentage of the population voting is declining.

Why we are losing in the world is not because Russia is undermining us or China is challenging us. The cause of the problem is in us.

A system, in order to be developing and growing, needs to be synergetic. For synergy, a diversity of complementary inputs with collaboration is needed. Nothing grows in a vacuum or in isolation. It works by interrelating to complement other subsystems.

For synergy to occur, for complementary subsystems to collaborate each component of the system must recognize the sovereignty of the other subsystems to exist, not trying to dominate or monopolize. That's why to enable market systems to be effective, monopolies are prohibited in the economics and political subsystems.

But in order for people to contribute to the system, for symbiosis to occur, there must be faith that the system is going to benefit properly those that contribute to the growth. The increasing disparity in income and wealth is eroding the trust in the system that it is working.

A society, a country, which has a culture of mutual trust and respect has a higher probability of being synergetic and symbiotic and thus more successful than a country where that culture does not exist. All systems have fixed energy at a point in time. When there is no mutual trust and respect, energy is being wasted on dysfunctional interrelationships and interdependencies, as a result of which the energy necessary for dealing with external environment and competing in the global scene is diminished.

When internal disintegration occurs there is less energy to build and develop and less energy to lead the world.

Is it reversible?

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes