A good book for people who are into politics and policy: The Rise and Decline of Nations by Mancur Olson. In that book, he argues convincingly that there are predictable patterns in a stable society, the most important of which is the rise of interest groups. He shows how, throughout history, stable societies become places where powerful interests collude to make the government work in their favor, and how, eventually, those interests cause the nation to decline. Here's the sad part. Thus far, in history, once a nation enters the downward portion of its life cycle, there is no getting out of it until a destabilizing event shakes up the powerful interests. For Rome and Great Britain, there was a long, slow, steady decline. For Germany and Japan, there were catastrophic ends for their interests in WW2 and the nations had a rebirth. I think the US is in rapid, irreversible decline that can only be remedied with some massive shakup event. That can be something catastrophic like the inevitable destruction of the dollar, or something more positive like a truly destabilizing technology (artificial intelligence or something).