America used to be the achievement society, but increasingly since World War II it has become the empire society. Japan and Germany went the other way, empire societies in the thirties, they have become achievement societies today. Japanese capital is very much behind the rise of China and the rest of the Far East. Britain has been an empire society for more than a century now, less so after World War II and less so again after the Cold War ended. Culture, attitudes, and the work force change dramatically when going from one type of society to the other.
ECONOMIC PIE CHART AND THE INDIVIDUAL
In the high military spending and slow growth power society the vectors are all sideways, the fixed economic pie means that if one gains, it is at the expense of another. As the rich get richer, more and more are left behind, unemployed, underemployed, or homeless. What you know becomes less important than who you know, as social mobility is limited. That makes it a win-lose society. Competition is very intense. Market share is crucial, so lawyers, accountants, and salespersons emphasize the small differences. Power control and domination are the goals.
In the low military spending high growth achievement society, the pie is constantly expanding so fast that while some get more and some get less, hardly anyone is left out completely, employment is high and everyone is needed to help get to the higher new frontiers created by the engineers and scientists. Quality circles let the little guy contribute to progress and share in the progress as well. Creating whole new products that grow sales fast means less need to sweat the details with the lawyers, accountants, and salespersons nit picking along the way. Why worry about lawsuits when you can leap ahead of the competition with a great new product? Innovation and excellence are the goals.
NATURE OF THE EMPIRE OR GROWTH SOCIETIES
The growth society is forward thinking and creative. The population is satisfied and successful and feels valued and secure. Crime and corruption are low, unnecessary as pathways are open to all. Manufacturing is king. No need to anesthetize the pain of a win/lose, “dog eat dog” society with drugs, or leapfrog the inequality gap with lotteries. Savings accumulate easily.
The empire society is fearful, corrupt and crime ridden, with the populace seeking ways out of the box they are in with drug use and lotteries. Manufacturing is shrinking and the service sector is expanding, as technology and infrastructure falls behind leaving the “who you know” personal skills of the service and financial sectors dominant as control is the imperative. Position and class are more important than what you know. Inequality grows as the haves leave the have not’s behind and feeling exploited. Debt grows to try to cover the gap between expectations and the new frustrating reality.
HEALTHY OR UNHEALTHY SOCIETIES
The militarization of the empire society makes pro football popular with its imitation of the glory of World War II. Throw the bomb, in the trenches, blitz the line. Only 10% of the Roman gladiators died, but NFL football players routinely die in their fifties with 20% shorter lifetimes. America leads the industrialized world with prisoners, homicides, mental illness, teenage births, and obesity. Together with the lack of social mobility, these six factors favor the military spending defined empire with a correlation of .82 over the Spirit Level finding of inequality as the prime cause correlating an average of just .69 for the same six factors. America’s militarization level is three times that of Western Europe.
Baseball is the sport of choice for the much more successful society of America in the low military spending first half of the twentieth century as America rose to be the number one economy in the world. After the Second World War America and Japan switched roles, as a new low military Japan emerged adopting the “achievement without violence” sport of baseball. Home is the objective of baseball, played on a diamond, with a ball and a stick, sounds pretty domestic to me, not the violent sport of American football with its warlike overtones. Japan and Western Europe have much healthier societies with longer life spans than Americans, as measured by the six factors mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
America is only 47th in freedom of the press as its national security state routinely distorts the news. Its overseas ranking during the Iraq War is even worse. The average ranking of five of the G7 countries is 23, with only Berlusconi’s Italy worse than the US as the government WAS the media in that case. Land of the free, I guess, as long as you don’t question the CIA or the national security state too much. Well, maybe, home of the brave at least. Thanks to our stagnant and feudalistic economic structure, Americans work the longest hours and have half the vacation time of Europe and Japan. The 99% work harder to get deeper in debt, feeding the quadrupled relative income of the richest 1% in our society, has been the story of the last thirty years.
The middle ages between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance were a period of rampant inequality and militarism, where the church was favored over science. Remember lords and serfs, castles and motes, knights in shining armor, and dangerous travel? Come to think of it, sounds a lot like large portions of America today. And crime is higher where the military is higher in America today.
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