How Did America Fall So Fast?

In 2000, America was described as the sole remaining superpower – or even the world’s “hyperpower”. Now we’re in real trouble (at the very least, you have to admit that we’re losing power and wealth in comparison with China).

How did it happen so fast?

As everyone knows, the war in Iraq – which will end up costing $3-5 trillion dollars – was launched based upon false justifications. Indeed, the government apparently planned both the Afghanistan war (see this and this) and the Iraq war before 9/11.

And the financial system collapsed last year due to looting and fraud.

How Empires Fall

But Paul Farrel provides a bigger-picture analysis, quoting Jared Diamond and Marc Faber.

Diamond’s book ‘s, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, studies the collapse of civilizations throughout history, and finds:

Civilizations share a sharp curve of decline. Indeed, a society’s demise may begin only a decade or two after it reaches its peak population, wealth and power

One of the choices has depended on the courage to practice long-term thinking, and to make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions at a time when problems have become perceptible but before they reach crisis proportions

And PhD economist Faber states:

How [am I] so sure about this final collapse?

Of all the questions I have about the future, this is the easiest one to answer. Once a society becomes successful it becomes arrogant, righteous, overconfident, corrupt, and decadent … overspends … costly wars … wealth inequity and social tensions increase; and society enters a secular decline.

[Quoting 18th century Scottish historian Alexander Fraser Tytler:] The average life span of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years progressing from “bondage to spiritual faith … to great courage … to liberty … to abundance … to selfishness … to complacency … to apathy … to dependence and … back into bondage”

[Where is America in the cycle?] It is most unlikely that Western societies, and especially the U.S., will be an exception to this typical “society cycle.” … The U.S. is somewhere between the phase where it moves “from complacency to apathy” and “from apathy to dependence.”

In other words, America’s rapid fall is not really that novel after all.

How Consumers, Politicians and Wall Street All Contributed to the Fall

On the individual level, people became “fat and happy”, the abundance led to selfishness (“greed is good”), and then complacency, and then apathy.

Indeed, if you think back about tv and radio ads over the last couple of decades, you can trace the tone of voice of the characters from Gordon Gecko-like, to complacent, to apathetic and know-nothing.

On the political level, there was no courage in the White House or Congress “to practice long-term thinking, and to make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions”. Of course, the bucket loads of donations from Wall Street didn’t hurt, but there was also a religion of deregulation promoted by Greenspan, Rubin, Gensler and others which preached that the economy was self-stabilizing and self-sustaining. This type of false ideology only can spread during times of abundance and complacency, when an empire is at its peak and people can fool themselves into thinking “the empire has always been prosperous, we’ve solved all of the problems, and we will always prosper” (incidentally, this type of false thinking was also common in the 1920’s, when government and financial leaders said that the “modern banking system” – overseen by the Federal Reserve – had destroyed instability once and for all).

And as for Wall Street, the best possible time to pillage is when your victim is at the peak of wealth. With America in a huge bubble phase of wealth and power, the Wall Street looters sucked out vast sums through fraudulent subprime loans, derivatives and securitization schemes, Ponzi schemes and high frequency trading and dark pools and all of the rest.

Like the mugger who waits until his victim has made a withdrawal from the ATM, the white collar criminals pounced when America’s economy was booming (at least on paper).

Given that the people were in a contented stupor of consumption, and the politicians were flush with cash and feel-good platitudes, the job of the criminals became easier.

A study of the crash of the Roman – or almost any other – empire would show something very similar.

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  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    When Israel and Zionists become the only purpose of the American Government there was nothing left for the rest of us. I am 70 YO. There has never been a day in my life where Israel or Middle east has not been mentioned in the news. Enough please! There are other people on this planet.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    Quote -Of course, the bucket loads of donations from Wall Street didn't hurt, but there was also a religion of deregulation promoted by Greenspan, Rubin, Gensler and others which preached that the economy was self-stabilizing and self-sustaining.Is this the new mantra after the Frontline 'documentary' that aired last night (10/20)?What was failed to be mentioned was that this started under a DEMOCRAT administration. Of course, we could argue that it started 'way back when' but the main issue is that the disease persists and its NOT the 'free markets', its the blatant political/economic corruption that is widespread within Washington DC AND Wall Street.People need to stop attacking an economic system and concentrate on the CRIMES that are being committed – including false pretense warfare that has bankrupted this nation.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    The average Yuk won't care until bread is $20 a loaf and the shelves are empty. By then the crooks, with all the wealth, will all have become 'Settlers' in that expanding little country in the Mid East. History repeats.Perhaps the only answer for us is to convert our Dollars to Shekels. Worked in the 1930's for those in Germany that converted their Marks for Dollars before the hyperinflion. Unfortunatly they in turn made one mistake, they stood in Germany with their obscene wealth and we all know the rest of that story.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    Democrats and Republicans are the same, they like to divide everyone so they wont see they are all corrupt.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08454222098667643650 Tom Hickey

    Let's not jump the gun here. The US is still the world's largest economy, the world largest exporter, US multinationals are dominant, and the US has the world's largest and most powerful military and has the strongest alliance (NATO).China is still a fledgling economy, albeit a mighty exporter. But it is very dependent on the US to absorb its exports and the Chinese peg their currency to the dollar to prevent their currency from rising. Moreover, China funds the US buying by repatriating dollars instead of investing the capital in its own economy. This is not real economic strength. More importantly, the Chinese economy still hasn't been challenged by its first major crisis and therefore hasn't shown the strength of its economic system and policy. Moreover, the Chinese military is no match for the US (NATO) and their military spending is miniscule in comparison. A great power? Not quite yet.Yes, the US has some big challenges to meet, but we have met bigger ones before. The present problem cyclle began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, when America no longer felt compelled to react to the Soviet Union with domestic programs that mitigated raw capitalism. When that perceived necessity was removed, the elite sought to reimpose the traditional system favoring accumulation of capital and disadvantaging labor, its major expenditure. This is still playing itself out politically and economically.Moreover, the US no longer had to project itself as the defender of the Free World. It could then assume a more neo-imperial and neo-colonial role in the world, dictated by it huge appetite for resources. The US comprises only about 5% of global population but uses about a quarter of the world's energy resources. There is a very obviuos reason that the US is projecting military power in the ME (Iraq) and Central Asia (Afghanistan).Th world is not passing through a transition phase with respect to energy use, with the attendant challenge of managing pollution and climate change. This is going to have a huge impact on the world going forward, especially the US as the world's largest consumer of energy.The world has also been moving onto a new financial level since 1971, with the ending of commodity-based money and the beginning of a non-convertible fiat monetary system with flexible exchange rates. Economic theory, policy, and ideology have not yet adapted to this new regime. See L. Randall Wray, Understanding modern money: the key to full employment and price stability. As this new realization dawns, it will be possible to design national economic policies that obviate the perceived need for a stock of unemployed labor to dampen wage inflation, for example.The US has enjoyed a premier position since WWII primarily because of its post-war pre-eminence due to the destruction of other industrialized countries. That coincidental "blessing" has drawn to a close and the US now faces a much different world. Of course, the US is not going to be able to dominate as it has, but that doesn't necessarily spell decline either.President Obama received the Noble prize because the world again recognizes US leadership not only politically, economically, and militarily, but also morally. So I wouldn't be too pessimistic about the US just yet.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    Niall Ferguson: U.S. Empire in Decline, on Collision Course with Chinahttp://tinyurl.com/yjawk9t

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    "On the political level, there was no courage in the White House or Congress "to practice long-term thinking, and to make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions". Of course, the bucket loads of donations from Wall Street didn't hurt, but there was also a religion of deregulation promoted by Greenspan, Rubin, Gensler and others which preached that the economy was self-stabilizing and self-sustaining. This type of false ideology only can spread during times of abundance and complacency, when an empire is at its peak and people can fool themselves into thinking "the empire has always been prosperous, we've solved all of the problems, and we will always prosper" (incidentally, this type of false thinking was also common in the 1920's, when government and financial leaders said that the "modern banking system" – overseen by the Federal Reserve – had destroyed instability once and for all)."Let me say first about the gentleman who wrote this paragraph, -I have no doubt he is smarter than -and- better educated than- 99.x% of the people on the planet. And- I'll readily concede -probably he's smarter than -and- better educated than I am too.BUT!!! Put this into perspective.No one is really very smart -or- educated -even in the least. There is a huge unbridged-gap between stuffing all the -wrong information and interpretation- irreparably available to everyone, -and- given to them constantly throughout their short lives, -and any possibility of recognizing something resembling reality.That -disconnect- is the only topic worth discussing, -not what reality might be. We are not discussing reality. Everyone can step down off that cloud -right now.All we can do is throw plates of intellectual spaghetti against the wall, -and ask- Do you suppose that is what reality could look like?All the worthwhile expository comes from those who -explaining why- -say, "No. There's no chance reality looks like that."It is the -long term planners- who have transmitted the infectious gene of ignorance, -spreading the vile contagion of the ongoing problem of the wrong perception of human competence.Any notion of human competence is quickly disproved by a summary examination of even a small sampling of pertinent evidence relating to how this conjecture has been repeatedly disproved throughout history.Most everyone who read this article -came away saying, "True! – True!"Bullshit. All the braying of the profoundly incompetent jackasses in the world -would not make one, single, small, short-lived -TRUTH-.The whole world is "falling". Get that right, anyway.And if America is falling, -relative to -and- below- everyone else, -then someone else must be rising above us.Who? The one-billion Chinese peasants who are about ready to take matters into their own hands?Who? The warring, jealous and inwardly xenophobic Europeans?Who? The Indian continent nearing its own billion barefoot souls?-Who- then defines America's fall?Let them declare their remarkable historic victory over the most bellicose nation on earth -if they dare tempt the sure, gruesome, fate that will greet them at the threshold of the throne they would seize.There's an eight-hundred pound gorilla in the room, and he's not just prone to violence. He been suckled since birth on it.For the last sixty years, the United States has spent 3x more on military R&D than the top three contenders combined, -for sixty years-…There's your "long term" thinking.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    Good grief, as an American I amd so embarrassed by my fellow Americans who wear blinders and actually believe that there is a difference between the left and the right. Our two-party system is a joke as it truly has become a one-party system with the Capone's on 1-side and Gambino's on the other. They have ran this system into the ground and they are now all fleecing it, particularly the bankers and wall street. And to the post concerning zionists in America, I wholeheartedly agree. These wars were about Israel, as most Neo-Conservatives are Israeli firsters and helped write documents in the late 90s like PNAC and A Clean Break which explains exactly what we are doing now, make no mistake about it.

  • http://DaveofMarylandnoreply@blogger.com Dave of Maryland

    It's very simple. The rich have stolen all the money. Given the means & enough time, the rich will always steal all the money. That's how all civilizations end. Everything else is ideology. The rich were nearly successful in the 1920's, but somehow, with the sacrifice of countless millions of innocents, the economy was restored. Governments everywhere are weak handmaidens to the rich. The only hope I see is if the various foreclosure cases working their way through the system result in a defacto repudiation of mortgages en mass. So far as I can tell, that's the only remaining way the rich can still be defeated, though, like the 1920's, it would only be temporary.Otherwise, we first heard about the impending catastrophe (2005-2008), now we're hearing about the ongoing disaster & upcoming new disasters. This is an old story. A ship battered by a storm, with more storms to come, is already hunkered down in survival mode. What comes after collapse? Answer: A simpler system with a lot less money. In a word, feudalism. The filthy rich will become the new lords, dukes, earls, princes & ultimately kings. Most of the rest of us will become landless serfs. The lucky will live as freemen in cities, the very lucky will be courtiers. Don't believe me? At the rate air travel is collapsing, Boeing has one, maybe two generations of planes left, and that's it.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    It all started with ronnie reagoon. When the country switched from a productive economy to a service economy. A wise man once said he was born in a rural area and he understood the meaning of the term service in an agricultural sense. It is the same in an economic sense.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    The Untitled Snakes of a Merry Cow was groomed for failure. This is 'payback time' for throwing the British monarchy and the Rothschilds banking jews off of U.S. soil in the early 18th century.To be honest, Ray Gun only kicked the baby carriage a little harder in front of the approaching, speeding bus hurtling down the narrow street. We have been bought and sold by Israel, but the sheeple here haven't figured out that jews have a strangle hold on virtually everything in this country, from the 'spying' telecoms, to the farmed out NSA spying being done by Israeli front companies.This is the rich oligarchy's way of telling us; "fuck you ungrateful GOYIM….we own you, and now we are auctioning your asses off.."in 1913, the U.S. was formally turned into a SLAVE STATE. McFadden made an eloquent and prescient and very on target floor speech about that fact, but got 'ignored' by everyone.Today, he'd be another James Traficante, railroaded into a prison somewhere for telling the blunt truth about Israel's involvement in the demise of the U.S., for it's jewish banking cartel, the Rothschilds.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    It's over people, and it has been for a long time. Too bad we were all asleep. Say hello to the New World Order. Say hello to world government. I hope you like living in 3rd world conditions and tyranny, cause that's what your gonna get. 9/11 was an inside job sukkas!

  • http://foo.com foo

    Tom Hickey, the largest economy is the EU and the largest exporter is, again, the EU.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08454222098667643650 Tom Hickey

    @ fooSorry, but the EU is not a country.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    The EU is an economic zone classified along with mostly countries albeit also the Emerites etc. However it may be practical to learn MANDARIN.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    Great article, but how can this guy say "there was also a religion of deregulation promoted by Greenspan, Rubin, Gensler and others which preached that the economy was self-stabilizing and self-sustaining." The very existence of the Fed shows that market intervention doesn't work. And this doesn't address the fact that Wall Street was operating under the "Greenspan put". Wall Street wouldn't be what it is without the Fed. America got drunk, but the Fed was the one supplying the liquor.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are the banksters/culprits, and are running the USA tru the Treasury and the Fed, along with much of the world…they act as if they own it. So let's just give it to them:debts and all…..let us all stop working for those parasites; they'll all get yr money in the end either way!Hank, Montreal

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    did you not know ? perpetual war is the path to peace .. and of course our increase safety and freedoms at home …good lord.

  • http://twitter.com/mika2k1 mika2k1

    The days of the car/oil/military mafia are fast coming to an end. Without the trillion dollar subsidy (yes, with a "t") provided by the US military, without the hundreds of billions in tax code related subsidies, without the political subterfuge to implement these subsidies (wars in Kuwait Iraq Afghanistan Serbia, etc., on behest of the Saudis), we would have long ago been using clean green renewable energy. This awareness is now becoming more and more prevalent in the US and around the world, and I'm quite confident that even the racist morons in bed with the islamo-nazi imperialists, eventually will come to this realization.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    How did this happen so quickly? It has taken almost 100 years to debase the currency, since 1912 to be exact – the formation of the FED

  • http://tajwalinoreply@blogger.com tajwali

    Perpetual War on terror. A war without any objectives. Invading soveriegn contries on false pretences.Ilegal occupation of a country without any clear objective. Classifing the native peoples struggle against the occupation as terrorism. Classifing people with daggers and sticks as threat to American National Security 10000 kms away.Clasifiying doubious ponzi schemes as instruments of Financial inginuity.All this is going to showup somewhere

 

 

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