Monday, August 16, 2010

The Sun Also Sets

The Decline and Fall of the America Empire
Niall Ferguson provides a scary glimpse into a not too distant future where the US faces a precipitous decline. He’s no America-hater, but rather a Jeremiah warning us off the path to self-destruction.

Empires exhibit many of the characteristics of other complex adaptive systems, including the tendency to move from stability to instability quite suddenly.

The Bourbon monarchy in France passed from triumph to terror with astonishing rapidity. The sun set on the British Empire almost as suddenly.

The Suez crisis in 1956 proved that Britain could not act in defiance of the US in the Middle East, setting the seal on the end of empire.

What are the implications for the US today? The most obvious point is that imperial falls are associated with fiscal crises: sharp imbalances between revenues and expenditures, and the mounting cost of servicing a mountain of public debt.

Alarm bells should therefore be ringing very loudly indeed in Washington, as the US contemplates a deficit for 2010 of more than $US1.47 trillion ($1.64 trillion), about 10 per cent of GDP, for the second year running.
Since 2001, in the space of just 10 years, the federal debt in public hands has doubled as a share of GDP from 32 per cent to a projected 66 per cent next year. According to the Congressional Budget Office's latest projections, the debt could rise above 90 per cent of GDP by 2020 and reach 146 per cent by 2030 and 344 per cent by 2050.
Even more frightening, Craig Robets paints a bleak dystopia too dark for even Glen Beck ..

The Year America Dissolved, by Craig Roberts
It was 2017. Clans were governing America.  The first clans organized around local police forces. The conservatives’ war on crime during the late 20th century and the Bush/Obama war on terror during the first decade of the 21st century had resulted in the police becoming militarized and unaccountable.

As society broke down, the police became warlords... (Read More)
Think it can't happen here?  Economically powerful Argentines of 100 years ago didn't think so either.  Or ponder the dramatic but dignified decline of Great Britain...

It can happen here.


Trestin said...

I started to realize where we were heading about two years ago. The only thing that can reverse this trend is an an executive that is willing to step on a lot of powerful toes and surrender his or her own power. Not a smart combination for those interested in self preservation.

Silverfiddle said...

Yeah Trestin, that's the conundrum: To fix this, those who get elected handing out goodies need to dismantle the gravy train. Those who hold way too much power must relinquish it.

Scariest of all, the founders suspected that it would all come to this someday...

Anonymous said...

Silverfiddle -

There will be two types of people who will read this: those who treasure the cushy American lifestyle and will take great offense to the idea that it could melt away, and those who have woken up and prepare.

In the words of Robert Heinlein, "Things have always been tough all over for the human race." It's only recently that we've made headway on food production, disease, transportation (all due to freedom, thanks!). To expect things will go on like the recent past is not an historical viewpoint.


- Hugh

Fredd said...

Those who inherit great power never relinquish it willingly. It's just never happened (remember my Ford Mustang analogy).

At least not that I am aware of.

Well, maybe in the case of George Washington; remember the newly independent Americans wanted to make him king, and George wanted nothing to do with his own coronation.

Bastiatarian said...

>Think it can't happen here?

Thinking it can't happen here is one of the most dangerous beliefs we can have. Even on an individual level, thinking that we're too strong to fall inevitably leads to a fall.

I think that part of the belief that it can't happen here comes from laziness (both physical and intellectual), but I also think that much of it comes from a lack of understanding of the nature of evil, and the destructive power of millions of people embracing false principles.

There is a clear pattern that dying civilizations follow, and we're fully within that path. We can turn it around, but it has to be a complete change, and we can't keep going back, "as a dog returneth to his vomit."

Ray said...

I see more waking up Curt, and those scenarios you lay out are real and in our future no doubt without a 180. I just watched 1984 the other night and look how much of it has materialized.

Could be self fulfilled but so can this in both directions, as we seem to be at the tipping point.

Most Rev. Gregori said...

It can happen here and it is happening as we speak.

Everything Obama has done since being in office has been calculated to destroy America, and it appears we lack the will and the courage to stop him.

Always On Watch said...

Oh, yes, it can happen here! It can happen anywhere, but not necessarily according to the various scenarios.

That said, I must comment that I've been hearing this particular doomsday scenario for at least 54 years (I'm 58 years old).

I know a lot of people who have loaded up on gold and even headed for "the hills" during that 54 years I mentioned above.

Silverfiddle said...

Always, My dad has made the same observation as you, and it's true.

But the opposite, a clueless air of invincibility, has also always been there.

I'm not calling you or anyone here clueless! But there are many people who have no idea it could all come crashing down...

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