[The World] decline decline decline
As a matter of fact, after reading Richard Florida's book and few papers aside like Florida's take about War and the US or Nature (Immigration controls introduced under the 'war on terror' are restricting the flow of foreign researchers into the United States), it appears that EVERY COUNTRY believes in its decline (I know about France and Italy, and Europe as a whole; it seems that the US are on the same path): is decline the trend? I don't think all those countries are declining, it's just a matter of change. And people feel change as decline, but it's not so true. The point is that shifting from the service economy to the creative economy is hard (even harder than the previous shift from indutrial economiy to services).
For instance, in France there is this decline-thing in themedia since few months. Everybody, especially in the righ wing feels that France is falling. Of course there are problems in differents fields (public research funded by State for example). But when I am there, I don't feel it, I find regions dynamic, with projects (like clustering, local research, intellectual life is booming in cities). 20 years ago in France, people just waited projects from the State and it's no longer the case. And the EU supports regions, not states, that's the chance. I believe there is a shift from state to regions. Hence I admit that in Europe States decline, but not regions. Here is one of the shift that IN THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE, decline is just a matter of scale.