For those who equate well-being with GDP, personal wealth or stock market gains, I refer you to an article which deals with how these things can be improving while a country declines. Chris Buskirk published the article on American Greatness which was then picked up by Lew Rockwell. It is informative in many respects, especially that the quality of a society or nation is more than a collection of economic statistics:
The expectation of constant progress is deeply ingrained in our understanding of the world, and of America in particular. Some metrics do generally keep rising: gross domestic product mostly goes up, and so does the stock market. According to those barometers, things must be headed mostly in the right direction. Sure there are temporary setbacks—the economy has recessions, the stock market has corrections—but the long-term trajectory is upward. Are those metrics telling us that the country is growing more prosperous? Are they signals, or noise?
Read this article and consider whether the US is improving or declining. Mr. Buskind clearly suggests the latter stating:
The California culture of the 1960s now looks like a fin-de-siècle blow-off top. The promise, fulfillment, and destruction of the American dream appears distilled in the Golden State, like an epic tragedy played out against a sunny landscape where the frontier ended. Around 1970, America entered into an age of decay, and California was in the vanguard.
Worth your reading time!