Why America Fell So Far … So Fast

All Empires Crash Soon After They Reach Their Peak

Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”   And because I love my country, I frequently criticize America’s shortcomings in the hopes of making her better.

But the truth is that the United States is not unusual … it is just like all other empires which have hit their peak and then quickly crashed.

We noted in 2008:

Political insider and veteran reporter Kevin Phillips has documented that every major empire over the past several hundred years has undergone a predictable cycle of collapse, usually within 10 to 20 years of its peak power.

The indications are always the same:

- The financialization of the economy, moving from manufacturing to speculation;

- Very high levels of debt;

- Extreme economic inequality;

– And costly military overreaching.

We wrote in 2009:

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?

***

How Empires Fall

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.

We pointed out in 2010 that more empires have fallen due to reckless finance than invasion.  (Whichever side of the stimulus-austerity debate you agree with, spending walls of money on things which neither help people or stimulate the economy is idiotic.)

Inequality was – indeed – .   In fact, inequality in America today is twice as bad as in ancient Rome , worse than it was in in Tsarist Russia, Gilded Age America, modern Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen, many banana republics in Latin America, and worse than experienced by slaves in 1774 colonial America.

Finacialization? Yup, we’ve got that in spades …  Economist Steve Keen has also shown that “a sustainable level of bank profits appears to be about 1% of GDP”, and that higher bank profits leads to a ponzi economy and a depression).  But government policy has been encouraging the growth of the financial sector for decades:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2DxXTVc4xnc/USfwvMBlO-I/AAAAAAAAB_Y/a1dyx_5U5Hs/s1600/financial+and+nonfinancial+sectors+-+compensation+Les+Leopold.jpg

Corruption? Check … the government and big banks are all wallowing in a pig sty of criminal fraud.  The economy has been hollowed out due to looting and fraud. And our institutions are .  They are so corrupt and oppressive that people are more afraid of the government than of terrorists.

The bigger the bubble, the bigger crash … and we’ve just come out of the biggest bubble in history.

Costly military overreaching?  Definitely…

The war in Iraq – which will end up costing between $5  and $6 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.

It is ironic that our military is what made us a superpower, but our huge military is bankrupting us … thus destroying our status as an empire.

Empires which fight “one too many wars” always collapse:

“Just one more surge!” — The Indus

“Just one more surge!” — The Kushan

“Just one more surge!” — The Scythians

“Just one more surge!” — The Parthians

“Just one more surge!” — The Saffarid

“Just one more surge!” — The Ghaznavid

“Just one more surge!” — The Ghorid

“Just one more surge!” — The Timurid

“Just one more surge!” — The Hotaki

“Just one more surge!” — The Durrani

“Just one more surge!” — The Aryan

“Just one more surge!” — The Persians

“Just one more surge!” — The Sassanids

“Just one more surge!” — The Hephthalites

“Just one more surge!” — The Huns

“Just one more surge!” — The Mughals

“Just one more surge!” — The Arabs

“Just one more surge!” — The Turkic

“Just one more surge!” — The Hazaras

“Just one more surge!” — The Khwarezmids

“Just one more surge!” — The Mongols

“Just one more surge!” — The British

“Just one more surge!” — The British (again)

“Just one more surge!” — The British (Yet again)

“Just one more surge!” — The USSR

“Just one more surge!” — The United States

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  • HS

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that chart before, only with different data. Something happened in 1982-1985 that opened Pandora’s box. It empowered Wall Street beyond imagine, which consequently weakened the government, via campaign contributions. Any guesses? The 401(k).

    If you look at defined contribution plan assets and the S&P500 over the same time period, you see the same graph in both cases. By allowing Wall Street to create a payroll tax for themselves, we enriched them to the point that they could buy all the deregulation and regulatory capture that they desired. Ironic, no?

  • Just A Man

    You left out the one key point: The rejection/forgetting of the Creator and his laws. The Old Testament is filled with stories of what happened to nations that rejected God. A good example, and one that has easily been verified in history and archeology, is the city of Tyre. Sadly, our nation will only continue its rejection of the Creator and continue its downward spin into total collapse. And, our people will become enslaved once again as in ancient times. Unless, however, it comes to its senses and repents.

    • http://www.facebook.com/TRLovepunk Keli’i Beyer

      This is pure malarchy, get your head outta your biblical ass! It’s superstitious beliefs in bronze age rituals and religions that cause your typical citizen to ignore the real issues affecting our planet today (climate change, wealth inequity, mass extinctions, GMOs, etc.) in lieu of the belief that some diety (namely, Jesus) will return to Earth and rapture us all. It’s time we hold our leaders responsible, and stop putting all our faith (and finances) in religious charlatans pandering to the least common denominator amongst the masses. God is dead and never existed in the first place. Wake up people

      • Josh Cohen

        There are those of us left with open enough minds to realize we are not experts in everything.’ Keli’i Beyer’, you are arrogant. You have no idea what ‘Just A Man’s definition of God is, (it could be “that which is necessary for the universe to exist as it is” which would mean, by definition, The inexplicable source of all creation is simply named “God”. Your words reek of some smug satisfaction that you are smarter and more awake than ‘Just a Man’ is. I would rather have a beer with, and talk philosophy and the meaning of life with Just a Man, even though I am not a Christian and don’t take religious texts literally.

        • Guest

          If God is dead there will be no need for any of us to wake up. You need some serious help.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dan.barrios.12 Dan Barrios

        If you think God is dead, then you are a slave. It is from God that Man gets life and freedom. Otherwise if it comes from man. Then man can take it away. You wake up!!

      • http://oahutrading.blogspot.com/ steveo77

        Your confidence is simply arrogance

      • danallison

        And what are you but a meat-eating, automobile-owning, electronic age savage? Your hubris is unbearable, dude. Along with your follow-the-herd conventional unwisdom. What the hell good is your obsession with climate change, wealth inequity, mass extinctions, GMOs, etc, actually doing to improve anything? You’re just a whiny liberal trying to tear down everything decent. FAIL!

  • greg scott

    America is dying because of the almost universal belief in the myth of authority. The belief that their should be a ruling class(which calls itself servants and its subjects believe that lie) is the root of strife, fraud, contention and violence. If Americans ever come to reject authority and embrace liberty and freedom there will be a chance of things getting better. If not a total collapse is in the cards.

  • gozounlimited

    Eyewitnesses: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Did Not Shoot Boston Cop……. http://www.prisonplanet.com/eyewitnesses-dzhokhar-tsarnaev-did-not-shoot-boston-cop.html

    The few good men left….Wake up world!…… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__B2nXOfTeM

    • HS

      I’m a fairly avid shooter and I’ll let you in on a little secret I learned at the range: Most cops absolutely cannot shoot. No matter whether it’s at 5yds, 10yds, or 25yds, they are lucky to hit the target let alone any center of mass. Thus, I always suspect friendly fire when I hear of a police shootout where an officer gets shot.

  • Jeddy Khan

    Endless wars abroad, rising unemployment and homelessness at home. Banks failing. The ideal situation would have been the US fights wars and the people of the USA become increasingly prosperous, but that has not been the case.

  • neil

    America’s collapse is an engineered event. It’s being made to happen and has been in the works for at least 2 decades at least that’s when I first started to notice where we are being herded. We have more than enough resources to turn things around but we are simply not allowed to utilize them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ricky-Ross/100003376270758 Ricky Ross

      Actually, it has been in the works since 12/24/1913. That is when the Federal Reserve came in to existence and was given a 100 year contract to print all of our currency.
      (Read The Creature From Jeklly Island)

      It is no coincidence that all of this is happening now…in 2013, exactly 100 years later, come December 24th.

      The NWO/Banksters had 100 years to extract as much wealth from the American people as possible…and they have just about decimated us.

      Along the way, they figured out that if they tied all countries trade to the American Dollar via a central banking system, they could own all of the wealth in the world.

      …Mission Accomplished, as the American people slept.

  • Ronnie

    something happened in 1981. At the USPS, I made exactly $10.00 an hour. 32 years later, go to craigslist and see the hundreds, thousands of jobs requiring skills, experience, zero benefits and the equal of an FBI check for menial work. $10.00 and hour. CEO-regular worker compensation ratio is something like 10 times higher now.

  • usmcmailman

    That’s simple ! This Country is now populated with a bunch of “Dancing with the Stars” sissy’s !
    The only saving grace is God and 30 million angry Veterans !

  • trisha

    Cool post! Very informative to learn! http://www.essaycapital.com/

  • Washington76

    Children Of The State

    The destruction of the family unit is an essential step to take towards achieving totalitarian rule. Radical feminism and global collectivism are slowly but surely eradicating individuals and families alike paving the way for a one world government controlled by the state.

  • http://twitter.com/MaryBro77801894 Mary Brown

    Time to rise up and fight and take our country back. Slash military funding in half, pull all troops back except for the 5 or 6 major bases we have had a long time.

  • Blair T. Longley

    Indeed! “Just one more surge.”

    However, we have not seen anything yet. No previous empire in known human history had an abundance of weapons of mass destruction, which enabled it to become almost omnicidal, when it went through its internal processes of psychotic breakdown.

    I regard the central mechanism of the coming collapse into chaos as due to the paradox of final failure from too much success. That is, the driving force is always the same, throughout the rise, until the fall. Namely, human realities are always organized lies, operating organized robberies. What makes them great, at their beginning, is also what destroys them in the end.

    The American Empire was always an expression of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. However, as that path is followed, the lies get bigger, while, therefore, the coercion to back those huge lies up gets less effective. However, since the established system have dug themselves into deeper and deeper pits within pits, where their previous success was due to force backed frauds, they can not return to enough radical truth to be able to do anything about that trajectory.

    They get so deeply stuck in the rut of runaway triumphant frauds, that there is nothing else that they can do, but continue towards psychotic breakdowns, and collapse into chaos. Their dishonesties get bigger and bigger, while their violence to back up their dishonesty therefore becomes less and less able to make those lies become true, by backing them up with violence.

    In theory, we would do better, IF we could embrace more radical truth about ourselves. However, what history has done is that after the period of collapse into chaos, some new system of organized lies, backed by organized violence, emerges, which then grows again to become way to hypocritically insane about itself!

    The social selection pressures keep on promoting more and more psychopathic people into positions of power, which drives those established institutions to become more psychotic, which eventually results in their excessive madness destroying themselves. And so, around and around we go … However, it will NOT be the same this time, since the technologies have become trillions of times greater, and that has no known precedent in human history. To me that suggests that the established Anglo-American (Zionist) empire will be able to continue to build itself to even more astonishing astronomically amplified sizes, until its final collapse into chaos will match that rise with the scale of its horrible collapse into chaos beyond comprehension!

    Meanwhile, everyone who is most successful within those established systems have got to be that way by being the best professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, and a lot of them have brainwashed themselves to believe in their own bullshit! Therefore, the ONLY real cure for these social diseases would be more radical truth about human realities. (And I DO mean radical truth, in the sense of truth about the social facts with respect to both the money system and the murder system that backs that money system up.) However, that radical truth is precisely the last thing that anybody who was successful within the established systems is willing or able to entertain, much less act upon.

    But nevertheless, since we DO have technologies which are trillions of times more powerful driving the new forms of the rise and fall of civilization, theoretically, it would be better IF we could admit more radical truth about the basic human ecology and political economy systems.

  • Blair T. Longley

    Indeed! “Just one more surge.”

    However, we have not seen anything yet. No previous empire in known human history had an abundance of weapons of mass destruction, which enabled it to become almost omnicidal, when it went through its internal processes of psychotic breakdown.

    I regard the central mechanism of the coming collapse into chaos as due to the paradox of final failure from too much success. That is, the driving force is always the same, throughout the rise, until the fall. Namely, human realities are always organized lies, operating organized robberies. What makes them great, at their beginning, is also what destroys them in the end.

    The American Empire was always an expression of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. However, as that path is followed, the lies get bigger, while, therefore, the coercion to back those huge lies up gets less effective. However, since the established system have dug themselves into deeper and deeper pits within pits, where their previous success was due to force backed frauds, they can not return to enough radical truth to be able to do anything about that trajectory.

    They get so deeply stuck in the rut of runaway triumphant frauds, that there is nothing else that they can do, but continue towards psychotic breakdowns, and collapse into chaos. Their dishonesties get bigger and bigger, while their violence to back up their dishonesty therefore becomes less and less able to make those lies become true, by backing them up with violence.

    In theory, we would do better, IF we could embrace more radical truth about ourselves. However, what history has done is that after the period of collapse into chaos, some new system of organized lies, backed by organized violence, emerges, which then grows again to become way to hypocritically insane about itself!

    The social selection pressures keep on promoting more and more psychopathic people into positions of power, which drives those established institutions to become more psychotic, which eventually results in their excessive madness destroying themselves. And so, around and around we go … However, it will NOT be the same this time, since the technologies have become trillions of times greater, and that has no known precedent in human history. To me that suggests that the established Anglo-American (Zionist) empire will be able to continue to build itself to even more astonishing astronomically amplified sizes, until its final collapse into chaos will match that rise with the scale of its horrible collapse into chaos beyond comprehension!

    Meanwhile, everyone who is most successful within those established systems have got to be that way by being the best professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, and a lot of them have brainwashed themselves to believe in their own bullshit! Therefore, the ONLY real cure for these social diseases would be more radical truth about human realities. (And I DO mean radical truth, in the sense of truth about the social facts with respect to both the money system and the murder system that backs that money system up.) However, that radical truth is precisely the last thing that anybody who was successful within the established systems is willing or able to entertain, much less act upon.

    But nevertheless, since we DO have technologies which are trillions of times more powerful driving the new forms of the rise and fall of civilization, theoretically, it would be better IF we could admit more radical truth about the basic human ecology and political economy systems.

  • omegaman22

    Edison?

  • omegaman22

    Edison?

  • http://www.911Blogger.com/ Orangutan.
  • windship

    If the banksters just keep printing money, pretty soon everyone will be living out of a shopping cart under a crumbling freeway overpass, burning 100′s to keep warm in winter.

  • http://twitter.com/okifax Carl Bier

    The real reason we fell is because we turned our back on god. This country was founded in god and once we turned our back on him and took god out of our lives his protection was lifted. We as a nation should pray for his mercy.

  • Warren Celli

    The Xtrevilist corporate giants control nation states — including America — through their central banking cartels. If you want to understand the rise and fall of nation states throughout history you have to look at and understand the common denominator, the disease of Xtrevilism (no, you won’t find it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) written by the American Psychiatric Association because they are carriers of the disease).

    http://www.boxthefox.com/articles/premiere%20article.html

    The nation states are intentionally created deceptions set up to impose the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality that the disease feeds on.

    http://www.boxthefox.com/deceptionology.html

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  • danallison

    Too late, folks. Pray or run to your your bunker, but this ain’t gonna turn around.

 

 

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