Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent by Edward LuceGentlemen, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking.-Sir Ernest Rutherford, winner of the Nobel Prize in Nuclear Physics
Time to Start Thinking is a book destined to spark debate among liberals and conservatives alike. Drawing on his decades of exceptional journalism and his connections within Washington and around the world, Luce advances a carefully constructed and controversial argument, backed up by interviews with many of the key players in politics and business, that America is losing its pragmatism - and that the consequences of this may soon leave the country high and dry.
Luce turns his attention to a number of different key issues that are set to affect Americas position in the world order: the changing structure of the US economy, the continued polarization of American politics; the debilitating effect of the permanent election campaign; the challenges involved in the overhaul of the countrys public education system; and the health-or sickliness-of American innovation in technology and business. His conclusion, An Exceptional Challenge looks at Americas dwindling options in a world where the pace is increasingly being set elsewhere. While many Americans believe that their country can and should retain its status as a global superpower, Luce sees this as an increasingly unlikely scenario, unless Americans themselves can stand up against the countrys increasingly plutocratic character. America has bounced back successfully from the shocks of The Great Depression and the Soviet launch of Sputnik, but Luce wonders if the next crisis in American confidence may knock it off the top-dog position for good.
As distressing as it is important, Time to Start Thinking presents an America in economic, social, and political crisis, in danger of losing its most defining and vital characteristic: its pragmatism.
‘Time to Start Thinking,’ by Edward Luce
Edward Luce , who cites Ford's assertion, tells the reader that Oliver Wendell Holmes was closer to the mark when he said: "An ounce of history is worth a pound of logic. Every one of the gallery of grotesques that have tried to challenge Obama for the presidency interprets America's slide from pre-eminence as the result of Democrat policies, while Obama himself dismisses all talk of decline. The assumption underlying practically all US discussion is that any slippage in America's global standing is the result of misguided policies that can be reversed by an act of will. It is true that there have been serious errors in policy. Luce, formerly the Financial Times 's south Asia bureau chief based in New Delhi and now the paper's chief Washington correspondent, spells out these exercises in self-damage in painful and illuminating detail.
Next, It's a tradition as old as Alexis de Tocqueville, friendly foreign voices commenting on the United States. But this time, a British author is much more pessimistic. He's now turned his insights into a book portraying an America that's falling behind and seems unable or unwilling to meet its challenges going forward. I think that the heart of this is the health, the condition of the middle class, because I think the middle class, the greatness of the American middle class explains the greatest generation of the 20th century, its rise to being the first — the world's first mass middle class in the midth century was key to America's success. I also think a strong middle class is key to a democracy, not just to an economy. And that is breaking down and has been breaking down, which gives such cause for concern over a long period of time, if you look at the pay rates, if you look at the security of the middle class, and if you look at their ability to move up to different income levels. So that core American value of income mobility is now something where you're doing worse than other countries.
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In , Japan was at the peak of its prosperity. It seemed an unstoppable force. But the boom turned out to be a bubble. Or so it seemed. If you stepped into any bookstore in Tokyo, however, you saw stacks, veritable towers, of a discordant book. The Japanese felt that something was amiss; they and Emmott, later the editor of The Economist were right. So now, two Japanese lost decades later, a generation has passed.