Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rome Did Not Fall In A Day

I sometimes worry that I post too much of what seems to be political related content on this humble blog. But then I think of the fall of Rome. Rome did not collapse overnight due to a major natural disaster. Although many survivalists/preppers plan for some sudden event that will be the end of the world as we know it, such events are generally not what dooms a civilization. Rome, for instance, declined over a period of several centuries during which time: it's government devalued debased its currency; government payrolls (including payments to the military) became bloated and unsustainable; it's middle-class (which, at that time, were the small and medium sized farm holdings) was obliterated as the wealthy figured out ways to drive them off their land and consolidate their holdings into large estates largely operated by slave labor; as a consequence of the foregoing, agricultural productivity within Italy declined, and there was constant trade deficits from having to import goods--including grain from Egypt; the number of people on the bread dole in Rome steadily increased; population growth stagnated for various reasons, resulting to the importation of labor from other regions; border controls weakened so that areas of the Empire were overrun by illegal aliens and refugees. Yes, there were plagues and other disasters that struck the Empire from time to time, but most of the collapse was due to what we might today term "political events," including the Empire's own form of globalization. The later barbarian invasions were only after the Western Empire ("Rome") had become a hollowed out shell.

We are in a collapse today. We just don't see it because it is taking place over a period of decades. Western civilization has been in collapse since at least 1914 (some countries were ahead of the game, while others took a bit more time). The United States has been in decline since the OPEC oil embargo of the 1970's, as evidenced by the stagnation of real wages, decline of manufacturing and resource production (e.g., mining, timber), and cessation of expansion (i.e., the end of a serious manned space program).

Update: Corrected a couple of typos and came up with a better title.

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