America: Default Alive, or Default Dead?

I read a lot. Mostly blogs, for the breadth of content. And, what I have found most interesting about that reading is the links.

The links are an indicator of what that blogger was reading/thinking about, when they decided to put down those thoughts. In essence, the links are a cookie trail to what inspired that thinking.

Some of the link go to a book – often, one that they didn’t write (not self-promotion). More often, they go to either a factual story, or to a relatively obscure blogger.

Like this blogger.

One of his stories focused on startups, and how to tell if they are Alive (will continue growing, even if slower), or Dead (continuing on that current trajectory will inevitably result in “He’s dead, Jim”). In my pre-teaching career, I worked for a lot of smaller companies, and saw businesses in either of those conditions. I learned early to steer away from those on the Dead Path.

But, that’s also true of other entities:

  • Relationships – we’ve seen them, those that are Destined to Die. Their fundamentals are so unsound, that, absent a MASSIVE and QUICK change in that relationship, they are just waiting for those words, “Clear!” to enable the announcement to be made.
  • Neighborhoods/cities – you’ve seen them, many are coasting on past glories and reputations. San Francisco was like that for a long time. The rot was obvious, just hidden by the fact that their proximity to decent jobs was driving up the prices to an unstainable level (both because the average worker was unable to find affordable housing, and because the houses, assessed objectively, were much more expensive that even other urban areas). It just required a flashpoint, which the business lockdowns of COVID were, to deliver the death blow.
  • Sports teams – many of them manage to eek out a few more years, usually by hiring a superstar who – almost single-handedly – delivers a championship. But, the rest of the team is still crippled – by aging players, injuries, addiction issues, and lack of team cohesiveness (which the infusion of the superstar seems to help, because everyone is united against him). After the ‘soop’ moves on – and they ALWAYS do, as their paycheck will bankrupt the team if they stay – the team collapses. The perfect example team is Cleveland – they hired Lebron TWICE to deliver the goods, only to implode when he left.

So, what about countries/cultures? Is there a trajectory that ends up in Dead Country Walking?

Of course.

But, I would argue that America is not yet there – and, there is evidence that they have stepped off the trajectory they were on.

What has changed?

Sales – it’s the underappreciated part of business. Those who make the business look at the “suits” as overpaid and unnecessary. Surely, if you have a great product, it will virtually sell itself?


There are a lot of products who need the salesmen/women – the people who don’t speak of the products features, but of how YOU will benefit from them – to get them off the ground floor. There are some example here that demonstrate just how massively important sales is to a company’s survival.

On killer for business is when the founders don’t have at least ONE person in that group who can enthusiastically explain just how incredible their product/service is, and push you to try it out. That’s not an unimportant function – it’s the beating heart of a business. The case of Stripe, the credit card processor, is one of those cited at the above link, and the story of its early days is illuminating.

This essay, for example, is one that has implications for America – it’s the story of a once-great company that is now operated by power-mad people resting on Apple’s past successes – sound familiar, Nancy/Chuck/Obama?

Because that’s the issue. America is run by people who care more for their perks and media stories, than the people who make up the company country. The path they are following leads to bankruptcy, collapse of the ruling structure, and economic uncertainty for the investment class – which, as it includes a LOT of retirees, makes my stomach hurt.


I have kids. And other family. And friends. If we accept the need to work together, we may be able to get through this situation alive. Those who haven’t family, or whose friends are also old, may die out.

I’m confident that the smaller towns/cities will survive, in some form. One promising aspect of implosion of the big structures – government, Wall Street, multinational businesses, NGOs/charitable foundations – is that local efforts can be maximized, without the drain that sending money out of the community will cause. It will mean local leadership, to protect homes, trade/sell goods, care for the genuinely helpless, and other measures for the ‘public good’.

What leadership may rise up will be – as the tradition always was in America – poorly paid, or even unpaid. Perhaps they can use the time put into those jobs to earn them some in-kind donations – food, fuel, exemption from patrolling streets or fighting fires. It won’t, however, be able to make them rich.

It also won’t make them powerful. Which should do a lot to take the psychos out of politics.

There will still be ruthless people in charge. Given the need to protect a community from invasion, a little (or a LOT) of ruthlessness might be a good thing.

The cities will hollow out. Gangs of looters will be able to stay alive for years, just harvesting and either consuming or selling the stuff left behind. S’Okay. It keeps them away from the rest of us for long enough to build up defenses.

Could taking just ONE step make the collapse go away? This guy seems to think so: from the comments at the link.