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Monday, May 5, 2008

American anxiety

American anxiety springs from something much deeper, a sense that large and disruptive forces are coursing through the world. In almost every industry, in every aspect of life, it feels like the patterns of the past are being scrambled. "Whirl is king, having driven out Zeus," wrote Aristophanes 2,400 years ago. And—for the first time in living memory—the United States does not seem to be leading the charge. Americans see that a new world is coming into being, but fear it is one being shaped in distant lands and by foreign people.
For the last 20 years, America's superpower status in every realm has been largely unchallenged—something that's never happened before in history, at least since the Roman Empire dominated the known world 2,000 years ago. During this Pax Americana, the global economy has accelerated dramatically. And that expansion is the driver behind the third great power shift of the modern age—the rise of the rest.

Newsweek Article "The Rise of the Rest"
This article challenges some of my pessimism about the loss of cultures and languages that inevitably comes with globalization. It says that as India has increased wealth, they've become more interested in their own billionaires than in America's billionaires and "that newfound interest in their own story is being replicated across much of the world." English has primarily been adopted as the global language but this shift to countries looking back at themselves seems like the road to keep cultural pluralism alive, at least among globalization's winners. It probably helps that the US is losing its "cool kid" status.

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