Intensity and Effect of the Five Major Forces Affecting People

                                   During the Decade from 2010-2019*

Every year, Americans’ fate is influenced by five, strong outside forces; namely, economics, science, politics, religion, and to some extent, sports. This report tracks those forces over time and shows their effect on the U.S. population.

Force #1. Economic Impacts

   *Stock prices – 14% appreciation per year (i.e., almost tripling in value over the 10 years)

   *Gross National Product – 2.3% annual growth rate over the 10-year period

   *Federal surplus/deficit – Average $850 billion deficit per year ($7,000 per voter per year)

   *Inflation – 1.7% average increase per year

   *Purchaser Managers’ Index – 53.6 average (>50 reflects growth)

   *Consumer Confidence Index – 1.8% average increase per year

Score = 90 (on a scale from 0 to 100; with below 50 conveying a negative influence).

Disclaimer: The National Debt now exceeds the Gross National Product. A solution to the 

problem of managing this debt is much more difficult to administer in times of crises.


Force #2. Scientific Discoveries

   *Fossils of new hominin species discovered in Africa and the Philippines dating back two million 


   *Two components of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity (1915) were documented by

     the detection of gravitational waves and black holes.

   *2016 was the hottest year since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration         (NOAA) started recording global temperature 139 years ago.

   *This decade included the worst outbreak of Ebola virus diseases in history.  A vaccine known as        Ervebo was tested in a clinical trial in Guinea in 2016 that proved to be effective.

Score: 60

Force #3. Political Progress

   *Adoption of the Affordable Care Act (subsequently whittled back) 

   *Clean Power Plan of 2015 (later scaled back by the Affordable Clean Energy rule)

   *Multi-country nuclear peace agreement with Iran (subsequently disowned by the U.S.)

   *Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon emissions (subsequently withdrawn from by

     the U.S.)

Score: 30 

Force #4. Religious Influences

   * The Vatican brands the ordination of women as priests a grave crime

   * The percentage of Americans with no religious affiliation grows from

     fifteen percent in the prior decade to twenty-six percent

   *Number of conservative federal judges increases, including a shift on the U.S. 

     Supreme Court to a conservative majority

   *U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 in Obergefell v. Hodges removed obstacles to marriage

     equality across the nation (i.e., allowing gay marriage)

   *Fertility rates in the U.S. are following the decline observed in European nations

Score: 60 

Force #5. Sports Inspirations

   *Simone Biles’ dominance at the 2016 Olympic games

   *Usain Bolt’s speed on the race track as the fastest person ever

   *Kobe Bryant throws down 60 points in his final NBA game

   *Tiger Woods’ comeback victory at the 2019 Masters

   *Chicago Cubs overcome "demons" to win their first World Series in over 100 years 

Score: 90

Overall Score = 65. 

The major forces driving the welfare of the U.S. population were generally positive for the decade, except for the lack of a functioning political system that works on behalf of a majority of its citizens while protecting the rights of minorities.

Impact of the Major Forces on U.S. Citizens Over the Ten-Year Period from 2010 to 2019 

   *U.S. Population = the population grew by about 21 million people, or roughly 7%

   *Average life expectancy = life expectancy was flat during the period

   *Percent of adults overweight – the percent of obese adults increased a few percentage

     points to 38%

   *New cancer cases – the number of new cases per year increased by 400,000, or 27%

   *The number of cancer deaths per year increased by about 55,000 during the decade, although 

     the rate of death per 100,000 people decreased by 15%

Score: 70

Personal Wealth 

   *Average personal income = grew less than 10% over the decade adjusted for inflation

   *Medium net worth = increased by about $16,000 to roughly $80,000

   *Unemployment rate = dropped from 10% to less than 4%

   *National debt per voter = grew by $100,000 per voter over the decade

Score: 70

Overall Score = 70. 

Despite strong economic growth, the nation faces considerable economic challenges, including a market failure in the treatment of chronic diseases such as cancer and the resultant suffering and cost.  Despite failing to understand and agree to a solution to this market failure, the U.S. politicians have separately run up a massive government debt with no end in sight.

* For an explanation and examples of how these major forces affect people, see: The Major Forces Driving Humanity: Solutions for a Growing Divide © 2008 by Steven A. Zecola

February 15, 2020