Last week Azer and I were talking about how we should invest our money. Cash? Gold? Stocks?
One crux of this decision is how the American economy will fare. Azer's view was that America is no longer the land of innovation that it once was, except in high tech.
I am more optimistic about America. But the only thing that makes me more bearish is the way that America denigrates intelligence and studying. It's taken for granted that in America, there is mutual exclusion between being well-liked growing up and having very academic hobbies. The captain of the chess team is assumed to have trouble getting dates. If you are in high school and win lots of math competitions, people assume you're below average in admiration by peers.
In China, getting good grades makes you MORE popular. The valedictorian is usually very popular. And respected. It automatically gets you points. In America, it automatically drags you down in the eyes of your peers.
I think this is the single biggest factor that could lead to America's decline. Everyone wants to be loved and respected by their peers. Making that at odds with pursuing intellectual activities is very damaging to maintaining the status as the land of innovation.