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From a variety of sources I've monitored over the past decade, big cities worldwide are typically trending even bigger growth-wise-- both in developed and non-developed nations. That is, among both the richest and advanced, and the poorest and most primitive of countries.
But as the US continues its steep decline by virtually every measure but for debt, citizen imprisonment, and military spending, it's bucking the global trend by its big cities actually shrinking1.
Note that historians say big cities are the core of modern civilization. So when they shrink, it could be a sign their host country is losing its civilized nature and/or modern infrastructure; or reverting to primitive Stone Age tribalism in social terms2.
Other recent news items reported individual Americans are shrinking physically as well-- literally. In the average height of successive generations. Which is historically a sign of a population suffering from rising malnourishment, poverty, oppression, and/or excessive stress in general. Add to this the fact American life span improvements are beginning to lag badly behind much smaller and supposedly more backward nations, and the US media should be ringing alarm bells on a regular basis (but they're not)3.
So what's the ultimate results of such trends, if they are allowed to continue to the bitter end? Some contemporary examples would include the despot-ruled North Korea, and the very worst nations of Africa (those mired in perpetual mass starvation, corruption, and civil war).
But the rest of the world is unlikely to let a country with thousands of nuclear weapons and a public policy of attacking first and asking questions later to descend that far into chaos or totalitarianism, before stepping in. So if we in America allow Republicans and Republicans Lite (conservative Democrats) to continue our present course, I'm hopeful states like Japan and Europe will step in and take our missiles and tanks and aircraft carriers away, divvy us up like the Allies did Germany after WWII, and teach us how to be responsible adults again over a couple generations, before allowing us to reassume control of our own destinies.
Yes, I'd rather we could straighten out our own mess here, well before that. But look at who we made President-- TWICE. And look who we gave control of all three branches of government to, at the same time. And look who we allow to spoon-feed us outright lies as news, in our mainstream media (Rupert Murdoch and his cronies, plus Rush, Drudge, Beck, Pat Robertson and other war-drum beating nuts claiming to be devout followers of a hate-filled Jesus, etc.).
I'm just about certain we're almost to the point of complete hysteria as a nation, and will require a grown up to metaphorically slap us through the face and take away our dangerous toys to prevent us from hurting ourselves or anyone else any further. Then make us think about what we've done for maybe 50 years, with a good grounding.
And that's if we're incredibly lucky, and others actually still care enough about us to be that nice! Which might be asking a lot, since almost every non-American on Earth today can name at least one blood relative we killed or tortured or impoverished directly (or by proxy) sometime in the last 50 years. And in the vast majority of such cases, there's no evidence whatsoever that our victims were truly our enemies, or otherwise a threat to us in any way. Indeed, the majority may have been wholly innocent women and children. Yikes!4
"For the first time in history, most of the world's population will live in cities by 2007..."
-- U.N. Projects Historic City Populations by 2007 By Grant McCool; Reuters; Mar 24, 2004
-- The astonishing decline of America
"...the foundation of the nation’s innovative capacity — is in some ways shrinking."
-- The State of Research Isn’t All That Grand By ANNA BERNASEK; September 3, 2006; nytimes.com
-- Census: Americans Are Fleeing Big Cities - Yahoo! News [original URL (now broken) "http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/fleeing_big_cities;_ylt=Ag1WdJvcmQznM7LCyf46lY6s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--"] By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press; Apr 20, 2006; news.yahoo.com
-- Cities vital for new businesses, says management professor; eurekalert.org; 23-Jun-2003; Contact: Lanna Crucefix email@example.com 416-978-0260 University of Toronto
-- US may collapse as a superpower: analyst by Eleanor Hall; 1 June , 2007; abc.net.au
"...America’s declining technological prowess has been little publicized in the United States..."
-- The Creativity Conceit America will always be number one, won’t it? by Eamonn Fingleton November 5, 2007; The American Conservative
-- 36 Retail Stores Closing Doors David Zalubowski; 5-29-08
-- Airlines’ Cuts Making Cities No-Fly Zones By MICHELINE MAYNARD Published: May 21, 2008
"Youngstown, Ohio, has seen its population shrink by more than half over the past 40 years, leaving behind huge swaths of empty homes, streets and neighborhoods.
Now, in a radical move, the city - which has suffered since the steel industry left town and jobs dried up - is bulldozing abandoned buildings, tearing up blighted streets and converting entire blocks into open green spaces. More than 1,000 structures have been demolished so far."
-- The incredible shrinking city Youngstown, Ohio, has long been on the decline and now is being hit by the foreclosure crisis. Its answer: Razing abandoned buildings and tearing up streets. By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer Last Updated: April 14, 2008
"As cities get larger they create more wealth and they are more innovative at a faster rate. There is no counterpart to that in biology."
"...the larger the city the greater return on investment."
"Cities are really one of the most important innovations in humans history,"
-- Researchers find 'large is smart' when it comes to cities; 16-Apr-2007; Contact: Skip Derra firstname.lastname@example.org 480-965-4823 Arizona State University; eurekalert.org
-- It's the cities, stupid; Jane Jacobs on cities; by Mark Rosenfelder; zompist.com; accessible online 7-1-07
"In about a century, some of the places that make America what it is may be slowly erased."
-- Rising Seas Likely to Flood U.S. History By SETH BORENSTEIN; The Associated Press; September 23, 2007
"Highly educated people, who have more choice about where to live, are far more concentrated in certain big metropolitan areas than they were 30 years ago. And for every doubling in city size, there's a 14 to 27 percent increase in productivity per worker—meaning that individual workers are far more productive if they live in cities than they would be out in the sticks."
"As Richard Florida put it in a 2005 speech, "The world is not flat... there are two dozen spiky"—that is, particularly creative—"places in the world that account for 98 percent of innovation."
"The it-factors of urbanism are density and diversity. The potential edge that urban dwellers enjoy over their country cousins can be linked to having more and different people to meet, and more meeting places—parks, coffee shops, parties, or simply the sidewalk."
-- The Laws of Urban Energy The world is flatter than ever. But while technology may give us each the tools of creativity, it takes urban proximity and unpredictability to sharpen them. By Anya Kamenetz; Psychology Today Magazine; Jul/Aug 2007
"The study...found that the United States had the shortest population in the industrialized world..."
"Komlos said height revealed a lot about a country's well-being, including how long its citizens lived and how healthy they were."
"...Americans as a whole are getting shorter..."
-- Americans no longer tallest people in world; 3/1/07; media.www.stateronline.com
"He found that while Europeans are getting increasingly taller, Americans have "stopped growing."
In the 1800s, the Dutch were, on average, three inches shorter than Americans - now they are around three inches taller."
-- European men outstrip Americans; 14 April, 2004; news.bbc.co.uk
-- Economist traces height trends U.S. heights don't dominate anymore; economist thinks he knows why By Tom Hundley Tribune reporter May 28, 2008
Maybe the fact Americans are getting smaller compared to other folks doesn't bother you. But I bet one logical implication of this WILL bother quite a few American men: the fact that their physical manhood must be getting smaller in proportion to other men, too (because foreign men are getting bigger in general).
And to make matters still worse, those sexually shrinking American men are becoming ever more impotent as well (their sperm counts dropping faster than those of others).
Mounting environmental toxins and dropping nutritive value in food are combining to make sperm counts for men worldwide steadily drop-- effectively tilting males everywhere towards being less male and more female each and every day.
But American males seem to be leading the way to this new '200 pound weakling' paradigm.
For the worst declines in sperm counts anywhere appears to be in American men: down 68% between 1938 and 1988.
-- Look out, men: Testosterone is under attack A phenomenon called a xenobiotic attack is meddling with your manhood [original URL, now broken: "http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20302363/"] By Richard Conniff; Aug. 19, 2007; msnbc.msn.com
-- Low Sperm Counts and Deformed Penises: The Chemical Industry Has a Hold on Your Reproductive Future By Joshua Zaffos, Colorado Springs Independent. Posted June 26, 2008.
"If you aren't part of the richest 1%, then you know you are living one phone call, accident or illness away from financial ruin because of a medical crisis."
-- US tumbles down the world ratings list for life expectancy by Ewen MacAskill; August 13, 2007
"For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles."
"Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands.
"Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries," said Dr. Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington."
-- U.S. life span shorter By Stephen Ohlemacher; August 11, 2007; boston.com
"At 6:30, NBC's Brian Williams went into shocked-and-breathless mode to announce that American life expectancy had hit a whopping 77.9 years. Then at 7:00, I heard Jim Lehrer calmly announce the same fact and put it in context. While this is the highest life expectancy the US has yet achieved, it falls behind 40 other nations. The context changes everything. If you were watching Brian Williams, you'd be popping the champagne corks. If you were watching Jim Lehrer, you'd be contemplating moving to Costa Rica--one of several third world countries with longer life expectancies than the US."
-- Why Does Commercial News Suck? by Daniel Brook; September 16, 2007; huffingtonpost.com
""Hospital and doctor visits in the United States have surged by 20 percent in the past five years and the most commonly prescribed medications are antidepressants..."
-- U.S. hospital, doctor visits balloon, survey finds [original URL, now broken: "http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070629/hl_nm/hospitals_usa_dc;_ylt=ApKC3jBtcqEhI0.7QWtiU_IDW7oF"] By Maggie Fox; Reuters; Jun 29, 2007; news.yahoo.com
"Alcohol-related deaths on U.S. roads rose to their highest level in 14 years in 2006..."
-- U.S. drunk driving deaths rise; May 25, 2007; Reuters; thestar.com
"World leaders promote fear "because it allows them to consolidate their own power, create false certainties and escape accountability,"
-- War on terror destroying lives - Amnesty; 2007-05-23; pressesc.com
-- Bloomberg On JFK Plot: 'Stop Worrying, Get A Life' by Marcia Kramer; Jun 5, 2007; wcbstv.com
-- Why is the USA so frequently the victim of resentment around the world?; krysstal.com; accessible online 7-1-07
-- U.S. Faces More Distrust From World, Poll Shows By MEG BORTIN; June 28, 2007; nytimes.com
-- U.S. ranks low, just above Iran on new peace index By Deborah Charles; 30 May 2007; Reuters
-- Anti-American Sentiment Grows Worldwide Oxford Analytica 08.23.07; forbes.com
"The US has suffered a significant loss of power and prestige around the world in the years since George W. Bush came to power, limiting its ability to influence international crises, an annual survey from a well regarded British security think-tank concluded on Tuesday."-- US sufffers decline in prestige By Stephen Fidler; September 12 2007; ft.com
-- American justice? Isn' t that a contradiction? by William Rees-Mogg; May 28, 2007; timesonline.co.uk
-- The Shrinking Influence of the US Federal Reserve By Gabor Steingart; 06/26/2008
"...where Americans have seen defensive behavior, the rest of the world has looked on and seen the most powerful nation in human history acting like a caged animal, lashing out at any and every constraint on its actions."
-- The Fearful Superpower It's not just Bush's fault. America is scared of the new world, and that's no way to run a hyperpower. By Fareed Zakaria NEWSWEEK; Dec 12, 2007
-- U.S. loses status as top World Bank donor to Britain By Iain Rogers; 12-14-07