As individuals, we are consistently taught about the merits of learning from our experiences and mistakes, with the expectation that we may grow both in terms of our knowledge and behaviour. If we fail to do this, then we must understand that we will subsist in a repetitive cycle of inadequacy, punctuated by sporadic highs and then lows of experience. The same philosophy applies to government rule, and a specific regime is often only as effective as the wisdom that its leaders gain from a countries history.

However, it is not only historical or domestic examples of rule that can influence a governments ideology, as knowledge and effective methodology can also be drawn from other nations across the globe. For a country to advance and continually adapt to an ever changing set of circumstances, a willingness to learn is crucial, as in awareness of its own standing in the contemporary world order. It is the unfortunate case that nations that fail to adhere to these principles often suffer from negative consequences, whether in the guise of social issues or instances of financial difficulty.

Current Examples of Prosperity

An example of the latter can be witnessed in contemporary USA, where the nation faces a series of domestic challenges while attempting to mediate in various international affairs. Given the countries perilous economic state, this diverse balance of activity is not adequately supported by the requisite financial or corporeal resources, which has the inevitable consequence that several aspirations will go unfulfilled. The current situation in the US displays a general lack of awareness, both of its own global standing and contemporary models of successful rule.

For those who only retain a passing interest in the current affairs of the US, they may well be aware of a certain level of hostility that presently exists between the government and its citizens. As online and television media continue to report the closing of schools, budget cuts and a continual rise in poverty across the southern belt line of the country, it is easy to assume that the nation is currently trapped in a cycle of slow economic growth and increasing social frustration.

However, to those who keep their finger pressed firmly against the pulse of US developments, there is a growing impression that the nation is faced with one of the most challenging sets of domestic circumstance in its recent history. Given the US states efforts to integrate cultures and reduce a debilitating national deficit simultaneously, they are faced with difficult confrontations with several factions of society, each with their own concerns about the future of the country and its direction.

The Perils of Contemporary Democracy

While some of these concerns are valid, others appear to be based on ill considered or disagreeable values, and herein lies the significant battle that democracy is forced to wager on a regular basis. Each individual or section of society has an audible voice, afforded to them by the privileges of democratic rule, and this remains intact regardless of the validity or potential consequence of their assertions. With the country in a seemingly permanent state of transition, this state of affairs is likely to worsen before it begins to foster the society it desires.

When a country is at the mercy of fiscal or social constraints, it is inevitable that a faction of its citizens will react in an emotive manner. This is indicative of any society, where certain personality types are prone to the acts of irrational and impulsive behavior. However, while this is accepted as the consequence of enhanced stress and a challenged standard of living, recent statistics have suggested that an increasing number of hate groups are emerging throughout the US.

The term ‘hate group’ is a rather generic and vague media term, but in fact applies to several different demographics of society. These groups are essentially radical right wing ensembles, who generally stand against various types of government and government reforms. Patriot and Nativist groups are relevant examples active in contemporary American culture, and share the common if misguided notion that the US state is their primary enemy.

The Facts of Right Wing Groups

The statistics are indeed significant, and reveal that 2010 saw a vast 7.5 percent increase in the number of hate groups who operated within US boundaries. It is estimated that 1002 hate groups are now active and progressive in the country, and this is the first time since these statistics have been tracked that over 1000 individual groups have been recorded. This number is startling with regards to both its volume and its presence in a liberal society, and points towards an increasingly dissatisfied public.

Budget restrictions are in inevitable consequence of a recession, especially one which itself is the result of irresponsible fiscal management. Subsequently, society and its individuals are forced to endure several significant economic sanctions, which include sizeable reductions in public expenditure and also inflated levels of income and duty tax. While these are an accepted if much maligned aspect of economic recovery, there are serious questions as to how far governments should go to deliver financial stability.

This week, the governors of Michigan supported a move to close up to 70 schools in the troubled city of Detroit, with a view to halving the number of educational outlets in the region by the year 2014. This proposal is in addition to the legislation that closed 59 schools throughout 2010, and will mean that the average high school class would include an estimated 60 students by 2012. Regardless of the economic need, the question that needs to be addressed is whether this sacrifice is worth any amount of fiscal saving.

The Social Cost of Budgeting

This decision is been driven by a desperate need to reduce a vast $327 million school budget deficit, regardless of the cost to the educational well being of US students and parents. This is a government stand point, which states that there are bound to be unfavorable consequences of an economic recovery from a recession, and that the closure of schools is a necessary evil in the pursuit of financial prosperity. The issue with this assertion is that by doing whatever is necessary to secure a short term financial future, there is the potential of damage being done to the long term education of high school children.

It was revealed this week that leading US banks are considering imposing a cap on all consumer debit card transactions, with a view to limiting the swipe fees which cost retailers valuable revenue. Although the motion has yet to be confirmed, it would go further than simply assisting retailers in obtaining a higher level of profit, and would also potentially change the way in which American citizens purchased both everyday and luxury items.

While the benefits for US companies are obvious, any potential advantages for consumers are far more contentious and debateable. Firstly, it is unclear whether this restriction on how and when consumers use their debit cards is either entirely neccessary or reflective of a democratic society, where individuals should be free to spend their wealth as they desire. However, there is also a very pertinent argument that forcing consumers to make more cash purchases would lead to an enhanced fiscal responsibility within society.

Enhancing Economic Awareness

The second of these points is the most interetsing facing the contemporary consumer, especially in an age where consumer and credit card debt has soared beyond $26 billion in the US. Although this issue was not helped by the global recession, the excessive use of debit and credit cards has also been cited as a major influence, with the clear inference that consumers are more likely to spend higher volumes of their wealth through card payments.

If we are to believe recent financial reports and the information supplied by lending bodies, then 2011 is a year that is set to see individuals employ the lessons they have learned from the recent global recession. This involves several facets of responsible spending and saving, as people have adapted to the constraints of financial hardship and vowed to be better prepared should the instance arise again. However, individuals could go even further to improve their economic situation, by exploring online resources as opportunities to generate wealth.

The unstoppable evolution of the internet as an informational and business resource is one that shows no sign of abating, with now more than 80 percent of US households hosting online access. One of the primary benefits of such a wide and instantly accessible media outlet is the diversity of money making ideas and opportunities that have been created, whether through online auctioning or small web based business ventures. Generating revenue from an online venture can be achieved through many activities, and can also be effective as either a sole source of income or a method of earning additional cash.

Utilizing a Skill or Passion for an Online Venture

Given the burgeoning amount of time that US citizens spend online each day, it would be logical to make the practice both generative and profitable. There are numerous benefits of attempting to sell or market a product or service online, as it can be done relatively cheaply and does not require vast financial outlays to support the activity. If citizens are serious about taking control of their finances and cultivating a process of fiscal prudence, then the internet offers them an opportunity to make their leisure time both productive and valuable.

As the US continues its gradual and yet persistent recovery from the global recession, the New Year heralds the beginnings of fresh hope and expectation for the unemployed citizens in society. Obviously, one of the most documented consequences of economic hardship and turmoil is unemployment, where redundancy and the closure of companies forces individuals from their positions and into an ever competitive job seekers market.

Of course, the issue in an economic recovery is that there is not enough positions to satisfy the increased number of unemployed citizens. This is because companies and organizations often choose to utilize this period as a time for consolidation, and are therefore loathe to expand their enterprise and employ additional bodies. This can lead to a frustrating and ultimately fruitless job search for many, and create a prominent sense of apathy and depression amongst large sections of society.

The Signs Ahead for 2011

Given these accepted economic theories, it is surprising to learn that the indicators are particularly positive for 2011. Although it is expected that the year will still see only a gradual and intermittent improvement in terms of unemployment levels, the same period of time is set to see the creation of between 2 and 3 million jobs within the US economy. This is a natural progression for economic climates afflicted by a recession, as companies emerge from financial hardship and look to expand their companies to previous capacity.

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