It is hard to know which society you're talking about. Others have already commented on American society. From my perspective, European society is changing as well, for better and worse. Immigration to Europe from Africa and Asia has increased rapidly in the last 20 years, and there is a backlash among Europeans. Many in Europe reject the notion that a multi-cultural society can even work, and European politicians like Angela Merkel are starting to echo this sentiment. Hate violence and ethnic tension are on the rise in some areas, a direct result of the increase in immigration. Religious intolerance is also a problem, especially for Islam. Many Europeans fear increasing Islamic influence over their society. Still, Europe is more diverse than it was 20 years ago, and definitely more open-minded. Young people are more socially and environmentally aware than the previous generation, participate more in community service, and volunteer to help lots of different causes. This is an encouraging trend. While racism and cultural backlash aren't as isolated as people would like to think, they are certainly not indicative of the majority either.
I think that in northern and western Europe, most people still have the opportunity to lead a healthy, prosperous life and have control over their personal situations. I don't know if this will continue, though. These societies are getting older, and the birth rates are declining. This trend is much more serious in Europe than in other parts of the world, and it will have a huge impact on European society in the next couple decades. In eastern and southern Europe, things are different. The population aging and birth rate decline is still the same, but in these countries I think the traditional family model still exists, while in the north, family life is a lot more diverse. More mothers work, children are more independent of parental control, and some couples live together without ever marrying. The economies of the eastern countries are growing...some of them growing dramatically. But unemployment is still high and job prospects are better in the West, which is where some people go. There can be no doubt that Europeans, especially in the north and west, enjoy great social welfare systems with many benefits. Again, I don't think this will last. Countries like France and the UK are already starting to implement austerity measures which will reduce some of these benefits, and many people are fiercely fighting it.
I would say overall that Europeans have good reason to be optimistic about the short term future. The long term future will have a lot of social and economic challenges, and I don't really feel comfortable saying everything will work out for the best.
Depends on who you are talking about.
Our society has been great to the wealthiest top few percent of Americans. For the last 30 years most Americans saw their real wages stagnant or declining. The top few percent are making many times as much as they used to.
America's tax burden has been shifting downward. The top tax bracket was as high as 94% at its peak in WWII. Ronald Reagan lowered to top tax bracket from 70% to 28% For the last 50 years corporate taxes have been declining moving more of the tax burden from industry to individuals. Inheritance tax only affects the wealthiest Americans so lowering or eliminating it is another way of shifting the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle and lower socioeconomic groups. Lowering or reducing capital gains also mainly benefits the wealthy. The wealthiest Americans get most of their income from appreciation of their assets so taxing capital gains at a lower rate effectively gives them a big tax break.
The latest ploy is the "flat tax" The idea being that progressive income tax is somehow evil because it penalizes success. The problem is that income tax is one of the few progressive ways our government collects funds. Nearly every other way it collects money is regressive. If it costs a man making $30K/year $100 to register his car or pay a traffic ticket this is a much higher percentage of his income than it would be to a billionaire. Our progressive income approximately cancels out the regressive nature of the other ways government collects money. Currently Americans of all demographics pay approximately the same percentage of their income to the government when you add together all taxes, tariffs, fines, and fees. By going to a flat income tax eliminating the progressive income tax we would effectively have regressive taxation where the poorer Americans are the higher percentage of their money goes to the government.
Many lawmakers bemoan redistribution of wealth but the last several decades have seen the largest redistribution of wealth in recent history; all upward. Today most Americans have no real savings. Struggling to maintain their lifestyle they use credit and now large numbers of Americans have about as much debt as they have savings. Paying interest on all this debt is another way money is being siphoned away from lower classes to benefit the wealthy.
Society is very good to CEO's, investment bankers, and heirs to fortunes. The rest of us are getting the shaft until we wake up.
Unfortunately, I think it will get worse. Our Judicial system is so corrupt that all of the laws passed here in the U S are too vague and only intrude on the average person. If you have the money to litigate you can be above the law. Johnny Cochran said it best. “You are innocent until proven poor”. Large corporations are buying up family owned businesses or putting them out of business by underselling them at an alarming rate. There is a trend by these same corporations to hire part time employees predominantly to avoid having to provide benefits. Companies like Monsanto are genetically engineering seeds and claiming ownership to all crops that happen to be cross-pollinated by them. Monsanto is also doing the same with meat farmers. To date they have a suit going to ‘own’ all pigs that have a genetic marker indicating its DNA carries a specific gene they engineered. Once they have a monopoly, what company reduces their profit margin? Because of enormous campaign contributions our elected officials are ‘wording’ new laws in favor of these corporations.
In time, unless people become outraged and demand that our elected official represent us and not the corporations, we will become a society of indentured servants.
Senate Bill 510 fits your description. Introduced by Senator Richard Durbin D-IL... Majority Leader Harry Reid D-NV is slated to bring a vote during the lame duck session. From Kevin Hayden's article at Truth is Treason...
"In 2008, Hillary Clinton urged a powerful centralized food safety agency as part of her campaign for president. Her advisor was Mark Penn, CEO of Burson Marsteller*, a giant PR firm representing Monsanto. Clinton lost, but Clinton friends such as Rosa DeLauro, whose husband’s firm lists Monsanto as a progressive client and globalization as an area of expertise, introduced early versions of S 510."
Clinton also proposed mandatory health coverage during her presidential campaign that candidate Barack Obama opposed.
Go here to sign a petition to the senate in opposition of this bill.
My take on your question was society itself. Not economy, but the people. I truly believe that it's currently getting worse, and it'll continue that way. When we hit the ages when teenagers started to rebel, we ended up with parents allowing their children to rebel. Those children grew up a little more wild, and their children even more so than themselves. Right now, from what I've seen at least, teenagers are not ideal. I mean, it's a hard time for us, getting pregnant at 16 and becoming a celebrity for it? Encouraging it will only make it worse. There are people that put their children in danger, and in shame, for fame. Those poor little pageant girls, balloon boy? Imagine what they'll grow up to be like. And their children. And the older generations, because this is a whole new breed, won't know how to deal with it.
It depends on what were talking about regarding society and what your views on "worse" are. As for the ecomonomy and jobs, i believe that were going to get better, but repressions dont get solved over night. Other social issues are getting better also, regardless of what the media is portraying, divorce and teen pregnancy rates are both significantly down and steadily dropping. Gays are gaining rights, slowly, but its still a work in progress and its only a matter of time before more states follow californias lead. Racism while still around, is quickly fading and disapeering as the elders who still felt that way are passing on, even in small towns such as mine. Theres alot thats improving.
I think that most hope is gone. Even if I grow up to write something wonderful, if someone like me comes up with the ultimate solution, how many people do you think will go along with it? How many people will even read whatever it is, watch the news to find out? I go to what is considered an advanced school, where girls complain to their parents, who actually call in and manage to get their children's grades changed, because they're the paying customers. Our society has nowhere to go but downward. All the leaders and pioneers are lost among the rest.
That said, thank you. I'd like to think something I do makes a dent.
There is an all out assault on our freedom and liberties by Corporate America being sponsored by our Representatives. The Federal Reserve Bank (a private corporation) controls our economy, pharmaceutical companies are doing drug trials on unsuspecting patients with doctor approval, our food supply is being genetically altered without knowing the long term effects, and our air and water is being polluted; all in the name of making a profit. Obama is proof positive that it doesnt matter who is in charge, corporate benefit trumps voter benefit.
It's very hard to put my opinion about this into words, but I think that society will have a downfall, but find its way back up. If we keep sending money to other countires, but get nothing back from them, it's just going to put the economy even more in a debt.. I personally don't know much about this situation, but I do think that the country will have a downfall, but everytime we have a downfall it always finds its way back up.
I would be surprised if it ever got better, thrs just to many problems and not enough answers
You're very insightful. Especially for your age. Thus I don't think all hope is lost.