According to The Mainspring of Human Progress, in the 1940s the United States while occupying only six percent of the world's land area and representing less than seven percent of the world's population, owned 85% of the world's automobiles, 54% of the world's telephones, 48% of radios, 46% of the electric power capacity, 35% of the railway mileage, 30% of improved highways, and 92% of modern bathtubs. America was also the sole country that had harnessed the awesome atomic bomb, until August of 1949. In the mid-1940s, the United States was far more advanced than the European continent, which had been completed ravaged by the destructiveness of the world war, which nearly too brought the Soviet Union to ruin, and left the empire of Japan utterly defeated and devastated. At that time, the USA was second to none, a true global phenomena, and essentially the greatest superpower the world had ever known in the sense of military strength, in technology, in knowledge, and in wealth, to which there was no part of the known world that America could not claim as it own, should it but desire to do so.
While today, America remains still the sole superpower in the world, its power, its influence, and its wealth, are fraying at the edges, to which America's greatest strength at this point are its military, its technology, its higher education, and its currency, which is the world's reserve currency, giving America untold additional strength and influence. However, history has demonstrated time and time again, that no single country, no single power, can remain powerful forever without touching, remembering, focusing, and re-invigorating the very characteristics that brought them to the pinnacle of power in the first place.
America's Achilles heel, is that far too many in this country have lost their initiative, have lost their desire to achieve anything of real worth, to be self-sufficient, to understand and embrace the merits of actual work, and would in fact prefer to be kept as wards of the State in perpetuity, which is counter to the founding principles of this great country which has traditionally embraced hard work and responsibility to themselves, to country, and to family. The more people within our country that will not work, cannot learn, are unable to function as cogs within the system, the more the few must work harder to support the many. Consequently, America has become a country that must drag an increasingly heavier and heavier weight for each American that is unable, unwilling or seemingly incapable of standing on their own merits or abilities.
The other countries of the world, especially countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) have their tails up and their appetites are certainly whetted, seeing their opportunity to take market share, to command market space, and to nibble away at the big superpower that seems incapable of rousing itself from a deep slumber.
What America has failed to recognize, is that when you are the sole superpower, you can make the rules whatever that you want to make them, fair or not, and the rest of the world must march to your command, however, when your influence begins to wan, those that were once under your heel, will have something to say, something that you may very well not want to hear, but are incapable of countering, because your influence and your power are suspect, vacillating, and poorly reasoned.
Many that are alive today will not live to see the humbling of America the great, but its humbling is already written and its disgrace only a matter of time.