While I get caught up, I'll let Spengler take up the "long term consequences" of the "consumer society" that was built up in the U.S. over the last 60 years.China’s six-to-one advantage over the US
"...Chinese parents urge their children to excel at instrumental music with the same ferocity that American parents [urge] theirs to perform well in soccer or Little League,” wrote Jennifer Lin in the Philadelphia Inquirer June 8 in an article entitled China's 'piano fever'.
The world’s largest country is well along the way to forming an intellectual elite on a scale that the world has never seen, and against which nothing in today’s world - surely not the inbred products of the Ivy League puppy mills - can compete. Few of its piano students will earn a living at the keyboard, to be sure, but many of the 36 million will become much better scientists, engineers, physicians, businessmen and military officers...
China has plenty of her own problems, don't get me wrong. And the U.S. has an immense, though latent, potential to excel again, once the horrible task of flushing out the debts and malinvestments we are burdened with is done. China is rising, though, and you need to be prepared. The Middle Kingdom may fracture before she gets wealthy, but this intellectual elite that is being built up will be a force to reckon with on the world stage for generations to come.
The elites of a country matter. That should send a shudder down your spine for my readers in the U.S.