I found this worthy of thought and I am in complete agreement aftergiving this some contemplation, although I am well aware mostAmericans will be quick to point fingers at everyone else exceptthemselves (including their Harvard educated President George Bush whorecently commented that food prices are going up because Indians andChinese are eating more, what a jerk!)Been there, seen it all myself with my own eyes, I let the article dothe rest of the talking.http://www.rediff.com/money/2008/jun/23mrv.htmI copy and paste the entire article below in case the link above doesnot work.Why the US is an economic burden on the worldJune 23, 2008It could be comic or tragic, depending on your sense of morality. Inwhat I see as stunning news from the United States, 17 schoolgirlshave entered into a 'pregnancy pact.' Staff at a secondary schoolhealth clinic in the city of Gloucester, Massachusetts, becamesuspicious after seeing a surge in girls seeking pregnancy tests, mostof whom are below the age of sixteen.But that is just the beginning. The school's principal is reported tohave said: "Some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant."The school is reported to have "administered 150 pregnancy tests" lastyear alone. In an ironic twist to the tale, press reports suggest thatthe school itself allows distribution of condoms and contraceptionwith 'parental consent.'Strangely, despite the enormity of the problem, many are looking atthe issue through the legal lens. One of the officials of the schoolis reported to have said: "We're at the very early stages of wrestlingwith the complexities of this problem. But we also have to think aboutthe boys. Some of these boys could have their lives changed. Theycould be in serious, serious trouble even if it was consensual becauseof their age --not from what the city could do but from what thegirls' families could do."All this has raised many questions and the reasons could be many.Adults in Gloucester, according to press reports, blame economicdepression, broken families skewered sense of status and movies likeJuno and Knocked Up that glamorize pregnancy. Experts, according toreports, feel that celebrities like Jamie Lynn Spears, sister ofBritney Spears, sent out the wrong message to teens by gettingpregnant at 16.How the US sees thisAll these are not remote happenings in some corner of the world thatcan be brushed aside. Rather, in a globalised world, they affect youand me -- not only within the narrow confines of civilisational values-- but also through the broad prism of economics.Naturally, in a globalised world, all these have an impact not only onthe national economy, but also on the global economy.But the problem with understanding economics, especially whenarticulated by economists is that they understand and explaineconomics as a discipline completely disconnected with the largerquestion of how culture and civilisational values impact economics.To comprehend all this, a brief reference to the manner in which thesociety in the US is arranged is necessary. Francis Fukuyama, in hiscelebrated book -- Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation ofProsperity -- has elaborately dealt with the extant issues. Accordingto Fukuyama, the US had undergone a 'rights revolution' in the secondhalf of the twentieth century.This revolution, he believes, has its roots in the ChristianProtestantism which provided a moral basis for the promotion ofindividualist behaviour while simultaneously weakening othertendencies towards group life. This is evidenced by the disintegrationof even the nuclear family and community with a concomitant rise insocial isolation within the US.It may be amazing to note that these thoughts and ideas are not merelythe products of the late twentieth century. In fact, such thoughtspermeate the entire length and breadth of the US constitution as itpervades in the political thinking of eminent western politicalthinkers, notably Thomas Hobbes and Thomas Jefferson.And the fundamental assumption that has driven such political thoughthas been that man is born not with duties but with rights and rightsalone. Whatever duties he takes on, he acquires as a result of hisfree will -- neither necessitated by law nor expected by society.This primacy of individual rights is substantiated by the wordscontained in American Declaration of Independence: "Man is endowedwith certain inalienable rights."Subsequent thinkers have even suggested that not even the family isnecessary for human sustenance. Based on such extreme ideas,constitutional experts in the US argue that parents and children mayhave mutual obligations of love and respect, but parental authorityshould end when the children are capable of reasoning things out ontheir own.The culmination of all these political and social thought, evolutionof constitutional law and, of course, societal values has resulted in16-year-olds getting pregnant through a pact.Remember, no one -- including the parents of these children -- wouldhave any constitutional right to question these kids. In fact, shouldthey attempt to do so it would well be seen as interference inindividual rights.The impact on the US and by extension the global economyThis proliferation of unfettered rights had a two-fold impact on theUS economy: one, it led to the government assuming someresponsibilities of an individual that would normally be in the handsof the family in other societies, and, two, this led to increased andreckless spending by individuals.As the role of the government increased, it began to collect taxes tofund its increased responsibilities. No wonder, the governmentspending in the West ranges from a third of the GDP, as in the case ofthe US, to over two-thirds -- yes, two-thirds! -- in case of someScandinavian countries.In contrast, the government in India, both at the State and theCentre, put together account for less than one-sixth of the GDP. Yet,our governments are advised to prune and privatise.And strangely our experts, educated in Harvard, Oxford and Cambridgeconcur, little realising it is the family that performs most of thefunctions of those governments. The next logical question: If a largepart of the responsibilities is in the hands of the individual, whyblindly tax the individual on his income in India?Bereft of responsibility towards the family, individuals in the UScould engage in reckless spending. Crucially, with a government thattakes care of their pension and provides protection in their old age(social security), Americans can afford to have an entirely differentset of economic policies, rooted in individual rights, unfetteredconsumption and reckless spending.But this recklessness has already taken a heavy toll on the Americaneconomy and, consequently, the global economy. It is precisely forthese reasons that the American economy is unable to produce enoughfor the American people and increasingly relies on imports aggregatingabout $800 billion every year.Simultaneously, the American government -- owing to the hugeresponsibilities cast on it by the system -- runs massive budgetdeficits. To fund these twin deficits, Americans are continuouslyborrowing from the world in excess of $2 billion a day. No wonderapproximately 70 per cent of global savings are routed to the US tofund their imports.And yet we think of America as a rich country and expect it to fundour development!Responsibility is the bedrock of discipline, be it at the individual,the national, or the international level. When a society is builtpurely on individual rights -- as the American society has been -- itleads to massive indiscipline.To put things in perspective, Americans constitute 5 per cent of theglobal population, but consume about 40 per cent of the global resources.In the process, not only are the Americans sucking out the naturalresources from the rest of the world, they are dependent on the restof the world and routing out precious savings to fund theirrecklessness. This idea of funding the recklessness of the Americansby the savings of the rest of the world goes on by the innocuousappellation of 'globalisation.'Those 17 schoolgirls are fully aware of this entire paradigm -- one,that there is no family member who can stop them; two, that if theyget pregnant the US government will take care of their babies (thanksto social security); three, no one will ridicule them and there is nosocietal taboo (thanks to unfettered individual rights as guaranteedby the US constitution); and, finally, the world is ready to funddeficits of the US (thanks to globalisation). No wonder theycontributed their bit to the American recklessness.For all these reasons aren't America's societal values and economic,political and legal systems an economic burden on the entire world?