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The world's lone superpower is on the wane

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The US has long inhabited a world of make-believe – of a war that demands no sacrifice, of a consumer boom that demands no payment, of a power and prosperity that seemed America's birthright, whatever events in the real world. Now those fantasies are yielding to the truism coined by Herb Stein, a top White House economic adviser in the 1970s. If something can't go on for ever, it won't.

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