This compelling and persuasive book is the first to explore all of the interrelated aspects of America's decline. Hard-hitting and provocative, yet measured and clearly written, The End of the American Century demonstrates the phases of social, economic, and international decline that mark the end of a period of world dominance that began with World War II. The costs of the war on terror and the Iraq War have exacerbated the already daunting problems of debt, poverty, inequality, and political and social decay. David S. Mason convincingly argues that the United States, like other great powers in the past, is experiencing the dilemma of "imperial overstretch"—bankrupting the home front in pursuit of costly and fruitless foreign ventures. The author shows that elsewhere in the world, the United States is no longer admired as a model for democracy and economic development; indeed, it is often feared or resented. He compares the United States and its accomplishments with other industrialized democracies and potential rivals. The European Union is more stable in economic and social terms, and countries like India and China are more economically dynamic. These and other nations will soon eclipse the United States, signaling a fundamental transformation of the global scene. This transition will require huge adjustments for American citizens and political leaders alike. But in the end, Americans—and the world—will be better off with a less profligate, more interdependent United States. More information is available on the author's website.
This is a well-written, engaging, and impressive work in scope and integration. The End of the American Century provides the information and analysis for the informed discussion and debate about our economic and political problems that must take place as we face the monumental decisions that will decide our fate over the coming generations. It should be read by all who share a deep concern for the American future, but especially by young people who must live in it.
With remarkable clarity and evenness of tone, Mason's text provokes students to think out loud together about what it means to be American in the world today, and how a range of interconnected issues, conventionally ignored in more orthodox IR, are directly relevant to their future lives. I’m excited about teaching with this book.
Well designed and thoroughly argued. The author does a splendid job of backing up every one of his assertions. This book has an enormous amount to say and deserves a wide audience.
Introduction: The Beginning and End of the American Century
Chapter 1: Imperial Overstretch and Economic Decline
Chapter 2: The End of Affluence and Equality
Chapter 3: Torn Social Fabric: Inadequate Health Care, Violent Crime
Chapter 4: The Dimming of America: Education, Science, and Fundamentalism
Chapter 5: Ailing American Democracy
Chapter 6: Abandoning International Order
Chapter 7: Last Gasp of U.S. Supremacy: The Iraq War and Terrorism
Chapter 8: The World Sours on the United States
Chapter 9: America's New Rivals: Europe, China, and Others
Chapter 10: America and the World after the American Century