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One hidden benefit of growing up in England between the 1950s and 1980s was that I had the chance to witness firsthand the slowly changing national realisation that the United Kingdom was no longer an economic (or military) world power. With the collapse of the Empire, the ravages of two world wars and a depression between them, the country was painfully having to reexamine its place in the world. Ironically, at the very beginning of what would become at least a partial economic renaissance, I left to come to what was at the time (1981) the preeminent world economy.

So perhaps I am better prepared than the majority of my fellow American residents (not fellow citizens, as I am still British) to witness and undergo what is going to be a difficult adjustment for many as the United States loses its economic muscle. (It's an open situation as to what will happen militarily.) An interesting Reuters article spells out very succinctly exactly what is happening and why the changes we see today are important.

If my recollections of England's painful adjustment play out again, I will see a lot of people with a very strong subconscious sense of entitlement having to come to terms with the up-ending of their assumptions. It won't be pretty.

Still, a sense of entitlement is a pretty bad thing to have. If these changes shake out a century's worth of feeling superior and return to the U.S. to the restless energy and vitality of its early years, we'll see a very positive outcome.

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