April Forum: Are America’s best days behind us?

The Columbus Futurists met on Thursday April 28, and discussed Fareed Zakaria’s article “Are America’s Best Days Behind Us?” (Newsweek, March 3, 2011).  One of the largest groups in recent times attended, and a lively discussion touched on key issues in the article, including: What is the definition of “best”?  Are we in a detectable cycle of history?  If there is a decline, what might be done to change directions?  A good part of the discussion also focused on changing attitudes in the political forum and among young people,  a new discovery of Ayn Rand and the decline of altruism – and do those attitudes impact the quality of life in society at large?

Further reading and resources:

Bob Letcher, offered a couple of links to blog posts he had written he felt were relevant even (if the current events discussed are a bit dated).  They are “Pendulum or Wrecking Ball: Which is the more apt image for the United States as the 2008 election approaches” and “Beyond Unemployment Insurance in the Face of Structural Job Loss.”  Both these articles incorporate substantial background and history related to the broad issues of the April discussion and Zakaria’s piece.  The “Pendulum” piece contains Bob’s  attempt to describe Olson’s “logic of collective action,” and it may be  as good as any of us will have opportunity to read.   Neither Olson’s logic nor Bob’s  explanation of it are dated at all.

— Rich Bowers

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