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Tyler Cowen

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Even if you don’t think it’s likely, it’s always best to be prepared.

America’s future?

America’s future?

Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

So what would the decline of America look like? I don’t ask the question because I think it’s happening (yet?), but because even the most inveterate optimist should be interested in the dangers, if only to ward them off.

Here’s the cleanest tale of hypothetical decline I could come up with, keeping away from the more partisan or hysterical scenarios, or those involving a catastrophic deus ex machina.