I've been working on an essay for several months -- ruminating mostly; rolling things round in my head looking for supporting or counter-arguments. The gist of the piece is that the United States is becoming or - more nefariously - is being turned into a Third World economy.
From personal observation, I've seen my friends and family, by necessity, change from manufacturing jobs or occupations as skilled workers to service jobs, losing pay, perks, union representation, and a sense that the situation will improve with time. Associating those numerous anecdotes, with the dismantling of social services and the disintegration of infrastructure, I wondered what other element would further the affect the USA's slide from First World to Third World economy in this depressing scenario.
(n.b. Scenario construction like this is one, is a technique I employ to control my natural ebullience.)
Since the time last March when this dismal thought first occurred to me, the US economy has imploded; the huge no-strings-attached bail-out funds of TARP have mostly been distributed and dispersed to some of the largest corporations on the planet. Unemployment has risen unofficially to nearly 20% and officially in double digits. Home foreclosures and bankruptcies are pandemic. The missing element that would precipitate the change in the US from a First to a Third World economy became evident; massive debt to foreign creditors. Being heavily indebted to foreign entities is an economic characteristic of all of the poverty-stricken nations of the Third World.