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February 13, 2010

210 reasons for the collapse of the Western Empire

Watching the collapse of our latter day Western Empire, Victor Davis Hanson asks if we are all Romans now.

Yet Rome did not fall for four centuries after its moralists wrote of its decadence and decline. Why the resilience?

Entitlements and official corruption were for centuries subsidized by the profits accruing from global standardization and Romanization — brought about by the implementation and imposition of Roman law, order, and commerce throughout the Mediterranean. As long as the empire was cohesive, it brought in thousands yearly into its sphere of influence.
So such global uniformity created real wealth in newfound places faster than such bounty could corrupt the citizens in the old Italian core to the degree to bring down what was now a world system. In other words, the creation of entirely new cities like Leptis or the growth of Asian centers such as Ephesus, brought previously unproductive tribal folk into the Roman system at precisely the time old Romans were no longer doing the things that had once created their own vibrant culture that swept the Mediterranean — the ancient version of the Chinese youth working 10 hours in an Adidas factory while an American counterpart is still “finding himself.”

You can see where this is headed. Here is the trouble: America is already Byzantium to Britain's Rome; we are fast running out of imperial space left to collapse. What we need now is the equivalent of some Irish monasteries. Somewhere for the accumulated science and wisdom of the West to ride out the coming storm of the centuries while we pray through the dark for an Indian Renaissance.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at February 13, 2010 12:24 PM