Developing Nations Discover America's Secret Plastic World
by Paul A. L. Hall.
There's a problem with being the fustest with the mostest. Eventually the real players pass you and you get, as the track-and-field term goes, lapped.
America the land of the flim-flam, the illusionist, the prestidigitator and the Yankee peddler. Well, your little plastic world had 'em fooled for the better part of a century and now it's their turn. For decades you've been unwisely using the originators of gunpowder and producers of some of the world's greatest antiquities for cheap labor. Well, they caught on, in case you haven't been keeping up on your current events. But those guys have potential. When they go to space they're the type to be mining the asteroid belt while you're still tripped off on saga movies.
Now, what's the better thing to be? What's the opposite of the cheap, shallow, meaningless existence. Among other things, a bit of real civilization would be nice. A world in which whole forests remain intact instead of becoming peddler's mediocrity stuffing your mail box. A pet peeve? Maybe. Let's look at something more pertinent:
We now have a sort of throw-away society. This implies a temporary existence in which one camps out, as it were to get something more substantial under way. But it has become permanent in contemporary society. A sort of picnic lifestyle generating garbage mountains.
The point is, if you want to continue to live that way, don't expect to be a world class power. Because that's a life-style anyone can emulate and eventually others will catch on and not only equal you but, and justifiably I might add, best you. I mean, you want to be a world power with nothing more than a pathetic pop culture and a few trinkets? Listen, there's only one place for a cheap shot like that: oblivion. They will not just "bury you", as Khrushchev warned, they'll simply forget you. You'll be recorded in history as an also-ran. A "what-not-to-be".
The problem with this lifestyle of plastics and cheap housing made of pressboard stuck together like a Hollywood prop is that it's not unique. It's not creative. There's no real personality to it, no innovation, no greatness. Anyone in the world can imitate it. There's nothing to it. No substance.