October 16th, 2014
10:55 AM ET

What I'm reading: The age of vulnerability

By Fareed Zakaria

“In the U.S., upward mobility is more myth than reality, whereas downward mobility and vulnerability is a widely shared experience,” writes Joseph Stiglitz for Project Syndicate. “This is partly because of America’s health-care system, which still leaves poor Americans in a precarious position, despite President Barack Obama’s reforms.”

“Those at the bottom are only a short step away from bankruptcy with all that that entails. Illness, divorce, or the loss of a job often is enough to push them over the brink…The recent economic downturn eviscerated the wealth of many. In the US, even after the stock-market recovery, median wealth fell more than 40% from 2007 to 2013.”


“If China can impose its will in the South China Sea, at least five rival claimants – all much smaller, weaker Asian states – will be limited to a narrow band of the sea along their coastlines,” writes Howard French in The Atlantic. “China would gain greater security for its crucial supply lines of oil and other commodities; exclusive access to rich fishing areas and potentially vast undersea oil deposits; a much larger buffer against what it regards as U.S. naval intrusions; and, not least, the prestige and standing it has long sought, becoming in effect the Pacific’s hegemon, and positioning itself to press its decades-old demand that Taiwan come under its control. Arguably, it would achieve the greatest territorial expansion by any power since imperial Japan’s annexation of large swaths of Asia in the first half of the 20th century.”

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Lester

    The #1 cause of bankruptcy in this country is medical bills. And these are people who _have_ insurance. One reason is a thing called "chargemaster rates", an completely made up set of numbers hospitals use. Look it up. It's horrifying.

    October 16, 2014 at 11:13 am |
  2. Allan Kinsman©

    Injustice it would seem would be a diminished condition in a modern world. Unfortunately we seem distracted from early American goals and years chipping away at principle have brought us to the present. "The information age" does not require critical thinking and "opinion" leads many into a false sense of perspective. The failure of a once robust middle class comes to us through a failure of political policy promoted by a corporate dash toward a short term thinking. As the expense of war and jobs run to cheap labor diminish America our poorly expanded foreign policy makes it a more dangerous world. A world where reason is hiding.

    October 16, 2014 at 11:29 am |
    • Thank you Allan

      Awesome comments from Allan Kinsman. God bless you, Sir! Reason is certainly hiding when "bomb bomb bomb" America finds that all its jobs have gone to Asia, and "bomb bomb bomb" strategy does not work anymore, but just gets us deeper int debt and increases our enemies. Meanwhile "build build build" China quietly takes all our jobs (given to them on a silver platter by the power of greed) and laughs all the way to the bank, their 200 mph high-speed rail in place, their middle-class blooming into 100's of millions, their bank balances bulging........ while "short term thinking" America falls on its face........

      October 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
  3. Allan Kinsman©

    We are all vulnerable to injustice. What makes America safe from a wider threat of terrorism is a predominance of fairness. Not that injustice is abscent but diminished by people having jobs, being treated fairly in general. During World War 2 we must remember a fascist ideology nearly took over the world. When a rule or legal perspective gains hold which represents favoritism toward a rule of law and is injust we make potential for power to be corrupted. It must always be a focus for a court. When the supreme court pass a rule which gives the rule of law the potential for corruption then corruption will exist on a wider scale.

    October 16, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
    • palintwit

      Sarah Palin and her Tea Party Patriots are the latest threat to us all.

      October 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
      • Allan Kinsman©

        Hitler coined an idea. "If you tell a lie make it a big lie and it is more likely to be believed". The press represents the opportunity to address lies. Yet six corporations own the airways and the newspapers and the stench of deceipt far out weighs any reason finding a way into those thinking individuals willing to stand up. Yet, I have a great faith in my fellow Americans, I can't explain it. I spend my days now trying to express a point of view which finds sense. It takes all my effort.

        October 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
      • Thank you Allan

        Thanks again, Allan Kinsman. But Hitler was wrong yet again! When only lies (big, small and medium sized) rule supreme, then a nation can head only in one direction, and that is downwards, and fast at that! The very few of us that are willing to stand up, and are trying valiantly to get us "back to where we once belonged" are being utterly swamped by the new truth that has become America: divorce, drugs, debt, decadence, deception.......... aka: the 5 D's...........

        October 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
      • Chambliss

        It is no secret that Mahatma Gandhi (Hindu leader) was a pedophile. What is very disturbing is his relationship (!) and friendship with Hitler. He is known to have offered advice and encouragement to Hitler and his Nazi Party to undertake the Jewish Holocaust.

        October 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
      • Clint

        @Chambliss: Hinddoosz by far are the most disgusting people that i have ever come across in this world. Truly dirty and without any civic sense. Very unhygienic also. Everywhere the Hindus have been shunned. They have been kicked out of Singapore, Kenya and Uganda and Australia and Barbados. Now Bangladesh has torched their temples and homes and thrown them out of the country. Italy made a mockery of them. Nobody wants them. Even the Americans have jailed most of them. All these people see the ugliness in Hindus and want them gone . They can't all be wrong!!!!

        October 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
  4. Crockett

    Unfortunately, Mr. Zakaria, in my country America we cannot spray kerosene on a wife and burn her away to oblivion as you would in hindu culture. We have to go through a divorce process and yes that may cause financial hardships.
    Plus we don't have a caste system in America as in India.

    October 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • Adam

      Shut the fuck up about this already, you god damned online terrorist. We ALL see what you're doing. Ass~/b>hole. Yeah, yeah, steal my name and post BS, Crockoshit.

      October 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • Sanders

        There we go again. Another
        Bumfu kk terrorist hindoo Indian polluting the american forum. Why don't you guys get off our backs. Stop begging from us. Stand on your feet.

        October 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
      • Adam

        How many fucking Hindus go by Adam, you moron? Fuck off. Your stupidity is on display.

        October 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
      • Clint

        Hey you b@st@rd raypist Indian watch your tone before I kick your black a zz so hard you will land in Bombay. Muther f ukker sand monkey.

        October 16, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
      • Adam

        Oooooh, what an edgy little hipster.

        October 16, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
  5. Blue Saffron

    @Adam. STFU or I will gag you with my ba lls.

    October 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
    • Chambliss

      Must be hindoo culture doing that? Are you a D@thead? Seems like it

      October 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
  6. Crockett

    Oh shut the f ukk up Fareed. This script is from RAW in India. Kiss the Chinese ring. they beat your Indian a zz up many times. Hope fully your family is safe in India and not raiped by Modi or other hindoos.

    October 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • Sanders

      LOL it seems to me that raiping is the new monetary standard in India. Seems to me that the same culture now prevails on CNN among the Indian origin script readers.

      October 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • Lester

        Can you give a specific example of "Seems to me that the same culture now prevails on CNN among the Indian origin script readers."? The vast majority of comments are by bigoted anti-India posters.

        October 17, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • Sanders

      Ya know they stuff candles up the p ussies of underage girls during gang raipes in India? Hindu delight.

      October 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
  7. Crockett

    The curry eating monkeys from India are back from their raiping escapades in India tonight and now polluting the forums. Om Om Om. I'm outta here. Bye Bye

    October 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • Adam

      You are beyond profoundly ignorant and firmly in the retarded category.

      October 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
      • Clint

        Suk my caucasian d ik ya sand frikkin m akaka

        October 16, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
      • Adam

        Roid rage rears its fairy widdle head.

        October 16, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
  8. Sanders

    Mr. Zakaria did you hear your leader Modi's balls have been cut off and on display in the Golden Temple in Amritsar on top of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in India. Modi has been castrated. Could you comment on the foreign policy implications of such a tactical move.

    October 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
  9. Sanders

    Hey Fareed care to comment on the first case of death penalty in America whereby a hindu from India has been sentenced to death by the court for multiple raipe murders? Is this gonna be the norm in our country now? Ahhhhh ... daymn the hindoo culture being exported from India.

    October 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
  10. Thank you Fareed

    Thanks Fareed. Joe Stiglitz has always been the "lone American" speaker of the truth. God bless him! His book on the Iraq War taught all of us Americans about what really went down in Iraq, which explains the nightmare that is unfolding right now. And Joe Stiglitz speaks the truth yet again, about how over 100 million Americans are sliding inexorably into lower class status / poverty, while their government continues to bomb the crap out of any nation it feels like.............. the new world slogan: America bombs while China builds.............. guess who is going to win this race to be king of the mountain??????????

    October 16, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  11. Philip

    Downward mobility, it said. The effect of gravity on America's nationwide obesity epidemic/Jabba the Hut movement.

    October 16, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
  12. Take a Sabbatical Fareed

    America is doing just fine. Focus on your motherland India where 1.1 billion people have no toilets and are starving.

    October 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
    • Philip

      One in 5 US children go hungry each day, @Take a blah blah blah. While US adults throwaway 40% of their food, no less. And gave obese house pets too.
      ENRON absconded with 100"s of billions of our dollars and used stolen funds to upgrade India's power grid and rip Indians off too. India and USA are in the same hole.

      October 16, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
  13. Ctesiphon

    Where I come from we feed terrorists like Modi alive to Aghoris or Jeffrey Dahmers.
    One hindu the other American. The comparison ends there ... at cannibalism.

    October 16, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
  14. Honey B

    Syria is not important to me.

    For me it is the revelation that India is the epicenter of all terrorism in region triggered by preachings of Hinduism.

    : millions have been killed in Indian Occupied Kashmir

    : thousands have been massacred in Gujarat

    : assam continues to be a slaughterhouse

    : bengalis are being raiped to a pulp

    That about sums it up re: India

    October 16, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
    • Lester

      Syria is important to Syrians. India is important to Indians. Are you Indian?

      October 17, 2014 at 10:57 am |
  15. Thomas

    It's good to know the America’s health-care system can still be manipulated .

    Please don't take away my bother in laws 4 Porsche's , 4 homes , his membership to 4 golf clubs , and season tickets to Giants and 49er games.

    Please , help him to keep the life style of the rich and famous at the expense of those that need affordable medical care .

    October 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  16. Bayu Angora

    This is interesting.

    July 15, 2019 at 11:09 am |

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