Very well written sillybilly!
But I would like to add a thought.
We lost expertise, freedom of creativity, etc, because they are now useless.
All that technological progress was driven by discoveries of fundamental science. But in the recent decades we have not made any serious fundamental discoveries. Fundamental science slowed down. Therefore, we should expect that applied science/technology will slow down too. Yes, we can build hybrid cars. But that will only
cut oil consumption by half. This is clearly not enough. The resources are running out, and science/technology simply cannot help. I doubt that Japanese or Chinese are better than us, in this respect. I am afraid that creativity is not very useful anymore, and so instead of talented engineers we now have, here in US, talented lawyers. And strong army.