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The strengths and weaknesses of the united states and the american culture

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  • This is no time to triangulate with idiocy;
  • Advances in farm productivity stemming from mechanization and organizational changes in commercial farming have enabled a smaller labour force to produce greater quantities than ever before;
  • But there is no such conservative openness to economic management and social reform in the contemporary United States;
  • Lead mining is concentrated in Missouri;
  • Within days of the fall of Fort Sumter, four more states joined the Confederacy:

Strengths and weaknesses The U. In the first decade of the 21st century, the economy was able to withstand a number of costly setbacks.

These included the collapse of stock markets following an untenable run-up in technology shares, losses from corporate scandals, the September 11 attacks in 2001wars in Afghanistan and Iraqthe devastation of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast near New Orleans in 2005, and the punishing economic downturn that became widely known as the Great Recessionwhich officially dated from December 2007 to June 2009 and was caused in part by a financial debacle related to subprime mortgages.

Businesses are free to hire or fire employees and open or close operations. Unlike the situation in many other countries, new products and innovative practices can be introduced with minimal bureaucratic delays.

The government does, however, regulate various aspects of all U. Federal agencies oversee worker safety and work conditions, air and water pollutionfood and prescription drug safety, transportation safety, and automotive fuel economy—to name just a few examples. The government also operates public health programs such as Medicaid for the poor and Medicare for the elderly. In an economy dominated by privately owned businesses, there are still some government-owned companies.

These include the U. The federal government also influences economic activity in other ways. As a purchaser of goods, it exerts considerable leverage on certain sectors of the economy—most notably in the defense and aerospace industries.

It also implements antitrust laws to prevent companies from colluding on prices or monopolizing market shares. Despite its ability to weather economic shocks, in the earliest years of the 21st century the U. The country faces a chronic trade deficit; imports greatly outweigh the value of U. For many citizens, household incomes have effectively stagnated since the 1970s, while indebtedness reached record levels.

Rising energy prices made it more costly to run businesses, heat homes, and transport goods and people. At the same time, the burgeoning federal budget deficit limited the amount of funding available for social programs.

The most important source of tax revenue is the personal income tax accounting for roughly half of federal revenue. Gross receipts from corporate income taxes yield a far smaller fraction about one-eighth of total federal receipts. Excise duties yield yet another small portion less than one-tenth of total federal revenue; however, individual states levy their own excise and sales taxes. Federal excises rest heavily on alcohol, gasoline, and tobacco. Other sources of revenue include Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes which account for almost two-fifths of federal revenue and estate and gift taxes yielding only about 1 percent of the total.

Labour force With an unemployment rate that returned to the traditional level of roughly 5 percent per year following the higher rates that had resulted from the Great Recession, the U. After peaking in the 1950s, when 36 percent of American workers were enrolled in unionsunion membership at the beginning of the 21st century had fallen to less than 15 percent of U.

The transformation in the late 20th century to a service-based economy changed the nature of labour unions.

American Strengths and Weaknesses

Organizational efforts, once aimed primarily at manufacturing industries, are now focused on service industries.

In 2005 three large labour unions broke their affiliation with the American Federation of Labor—Congress of Industrial Organizations AFL-CIOthe nationwide federation of unions, and formed a new federation, the Change to Win coalition, with the goal of reviving union influence in the labour market.

Although the freedom to strike is qualified with provisions requiring cooling-off periods and in some cases compulsory arbitration, major unions are able and sometimes willing to embark on long strikes.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of American Exceptionalism

Advances in farm productivity stemming from mechanization and organizational changes in commercial farming have enabled a smaller labour force to produce greater quantities than ever before.

Improvements in yields have also resulted from the increased use of fertilizerspesticidesand herbicides and from changes in agricultural techniques such as irrigation. Among the most important crops are corn maizesoybeanswheatcottongrapesand potatoes. Harvesting corn on a farm near Alden, north-central Iowa.

More than four-fifths of the trees harvested are softwoods such as Douglas fir and southern pine. The major hardwood is oak. Fish for human consumption accounts for more than half of the tonnage landed. Shellfish account for less than one-fifth of the annual catch but for nearly half the total value.

  • More than four-fifths of the trees harvested are softwoods such as Douglas fir and southern pine;
  • All of the principal ingredients of gunpowder were imported.

Less than one-fiftieth of the GDP comes from mining and quarrying, yet the United States is a leading producer of coalpetroleum, and some metals. It relies on other countries for many energy sources—petroleum products in particular. The country is notable for its efficient use of natural resources, and it excels in transforming its resources into usable products.

Beginning in the 1990s, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing fracking of shale gas also grew in importance in states such as OhioPennsylvaniaand West Virginia. Recoverable coal deposits are concentrated largely in the Appalachian Mountains and in Wyoming.

IllinoisIndianaand Ohio also produce coal. Iron ore is mined predominantly in Minnesota and Michigan. The United States also has important reserves of coppermagnesiumleadand zinc. Copper production is concentrated in the mountainous western states of ArizonaUtahMontanaNevadaand New Mexico.

Lead mining is concentrated in Missouri. Other metals mined in the United States are goldsilvermolybdenummanganesetungstenbauxiteuraniumvanadiumand nickel. Important nonmetallic minerals produced are phosphates, potash, sulfurstone, and clays. Biological resources More than two-fifths of the total land area of the United States is devoted to farming including pasture and range.

Tobacco is produced in the Southeast and in Kentucky and cotton in the South and Southwest; California is noted for its vineyards, citrus groves, and truck gardens; the Midwest is the centre of corn and wheat farming, while dairy herds are concentrated in the Northern states. The Southwestern and Rocky Mountain states support large herds of livestock. Most of the U. Of total commercial forestland, more than two-thirds is privately owned. About one-fifth is owned or controlled by the federal government, the remainder being controlled by state and local governments.

Power Hydroelectric resources are heavily concentrated in the Pacific and Mountain regions. Nevertheless, while manufacturing jobs have declined since the 1960s, advances in productivity have caused manufacturing output, including construction, to remain relatively constant at about one-sixth of GDP.

33b. Strengths and Weaknesses: North vs. South

Significant economic productivity occurs in a wide range of industries. The manufacture of transportation equipment including motor vehicles, aircraft, and space equipment represents a leading sector.

Computer and telecommunications firms including software and hardware remain strong, despite a downturn in the early 21st century. Other important sectors include drug manufacturing and biotechnology, health services, food products, chemicals, electrical and nonelectrical machinery, energy, and insurance. Finance Under the Federal Reserve Systemwhich regulates bank credit and influences the money supplycentral banking functions are exercised by 12 regional Federal Reserve banks.

The Board of Governors, appointed by the U. Based in Washington, D. Treasury also influences the working of the monetary system through its management of the national debt which can affect interest rates and by changing its own deposits with the Federal Reserve banks which can affect the volume of credit. While only about two-fifths of all commercial banks belong to the Federal Reserve System, these banks hold almost three-fourths of all commercial bank deposits.

Banks incorporated under national charter must be members of the system, while banks incorporated under state charters may become members.

Member banks must maintain minimum legal reserves and must deposit a percentage of their savings and checking accounts with a Federal Reserve bank. In serving both individual and commercial customers, these institutions accept deposits, provide checking accounts, underwrite securities, originate loans, offer mortgages, manage investments, and sponsor credit cards.

Financial services are also provided by insurance companies and security brokerages. The federal government sponsors credit agencies in the areas of housing home mortgagesfarming agricultural loansand higher education student loans.

Smaller exchanges operate in a number of American cities. LC-DIG-highsm-11972 Foreign trade International trade is crucial to the national economy, with the combined value of imports and exports equivalent to about three-tenths of the gross national product. Leading exports include electrical and office machinery, chemical products, motor vehicles, airplanes and aviation parts, and scientific equipment.

Major imports include manufactured goods, petroleum and fuel products, and machinery and transportation equipment.

  • This can be achieved with targeted but crucial reforms to the federal tax law and Medicare which effectively create vouchers instead of open-ended arrangements;
  • But many factors undetermined at the outbreak of war could have tilted the balance sheet toward a different outcome;
  • And they do so because the dominant culture of contemporary America contains not simply individualism and an antipathy to politics, but also strong strands of fairness and commitments to social justice that Republican lawmakers so often forget.