The Future for the US

Promise I’ll lay off US politics for a while from now on, but IamWhatIam on the William Gibson Board asked:

Several threads have been whittled down to some very basic points and views about our (US) government.

So I ask here, what do you think the future holds for our country? (This can be a realistic view or an idealised view)

My reply was:

Realistically (and perhaps a bit optimistically) I think and hope that the Democrats will get their act together and propose a genuinely electable candidate in 2008, and that that person will likely get elected, along with some sort of balance in Congress. That won’t be a huge change – still a two-party capitalist system powered by the zaibatsus (multinational corporations) – but it will move America back from the excesses of the current administration.

The system is actually more resilient than we give it credit for. It’ll limp along for quite a while longer, but the debt incurred under Bush 2 will be crippling for a long time, and permanent gas price increases will compound that. There’ll be a major economic correction at some point in the next 10 years that could be on the scale of the Great Depression, and the way the system has been set up and moved means that this will increase the rich/poor gaps.

There will end up being no-go zones in most major cities, and the level of poverty will approach third world levels in many areas, but the system as a whole will continue to exist in pretty much the same form it does now. It will become shockingly easy to fall out of the middle class into poverty, though. (See Jack Womack’s novel “Random Acts of Senseless Violence” and the news from New Orleans.)

That’s the optimistic version. In darker times I do see the Bush Administration figuring out a way to suspend elections for a while and taking the country down this road a lot further and a lot faster. ‘Orwellian’, including the redefinition of language and the perpetual, unwinnable war, is a frighteningly apt description of the situation.

The Pollyanna super-optimist version includes a breakthrough in fusion power and the institution of a hydrogen fuel-cell economy that shields the country from the costs and consequences of oil… but given that the executive is made up of oil execs… that one is kind of contingent on regime change.

Too grim? What do you think?

Late edit: The whole thread, which continues to be interesting, although it may be descending into mere politics, is here.