Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire
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"Provocative...stimulating and insightful."―Publishers Weekly
In Dark Ages America, the pundit Morris Berman argues that the nation has entered a dangerous phase in its historical development from which there is no return. As the corporate-consumerist juggernaut that now defines the nation rolls on, the very factors that once propelled America to greatness―extreme individualism, territorial and economic expansion, and the pursuit of material wealth―are, paradoxically, the nails in our collective coffin. Within a few decades, Berman argues, the United States will be marginalized on the world stage, its hegemony replaced by China or the European Union. With the United States just one terrorist attack away from a police state, Berman's book is a controversial and illuminating look at our current society and its ills.
planning and design (the technological fix argument), and that a vision for design can actually break with the dominant ethos and escape being co-opted by mainstream corporate forces. For the most part, neither the garden cities nor the New Urbanist towns developed an independent economic base, sustained any real income diversity, or avoided basic car dependency. In the end, New Urbanism replaced ugly suburban sprawl with prettified, upper-income suburban sprawl; the basic idea remains the same.
without it. In September and October of 2004, on the eve of the presidential election, I sit in bars and luncheonettes in Maryland and Virginia trying to get a sense of what the electorate is thinking. What I hear, in lieu of any real political or historical analysis, are recycled slogans from TV: “Well, the thing is that Bush is courageous, while Kerry is a flip-flopper.” In fact, the newspapers around this time report that even in the foothills of the Appalachians, where thousands of people
Michael Hotz, ed., Holding the Lotus to the Rock (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003), p. 1. Classic studies of the Puritans include Perry Miller, The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century (New York: Macmillan, 1939); and Edmund Morgan, Visible Saints: The History of a Puritan Idea (New York: New York University Press, 1963). 8. Joyce Appleby, Capitalism and a New Social Order (New York: New York University Press, 1984), pp. 9 and 14–16. 9. Ibid., pp. 21–22, 25–27, and 31–33. 10.
(New York: New Press, 1996); Carl Goldstein, “Wal-Mart in China,” The Nation, 8 December 2003, pp. 7 and 10; Gittings, “China Joins Long March of Capitalism” Jim Yardley, “The Right to Beauty, Though Not a Birthright,” IHT, 18 June 2004, p. 2; David Barboza, “China’s Market Revolution,” IHT, 7 March 2003, p. 1; Keating, “The American Era” and Watts, “China Takes to the Capitalist Road.” 26. Cunningham, “Man Versus Machine” Peter James Froning, Letter from China (Bloomington Ind.: First Books,
in powerful ways, and thus may be more fundamental to the globalization process than the economic developments described above. The most insightful inquiry into the relationship between technology and the way we live today, at least that I am aware of, is Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life (1984), by the American philosopher Albert Borgmann. Borgmann’s analysis makes it possible to see that much of globalization, as well as the condition we have labeled liquid modernity, is the