All empires fall. The American one is already well into its terminal phase.
America has its flaws. Countless books examine them, but they often conclude their grim analyses with a chapter on ?how to make things better.? Rarely is the feasibility of these proposed solutions considered.
What if the flaws in our principal institutions, from Capitol Hill to the National Security apparatus to the Federal Reserve, are unfixable? What if they exacerbate one another, resulting in an unsolvable nightmare? Is the reality that America has already begun its irreversible decline, after only 250 years, staring us in the face?
All empires fall, after all. It?s just a matter of time before America goes the way of Rome.
In 2014, a study partly funded by NASA warned that global industrial civilization could implode in the near future.
The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.
Excess resource extraction and unequal wealth distribution were crucial to every civilizational collapse of the past 5,000 years. Privileged elites rapaciously exploited the environment and labor while shielding themselves from the consequences. The lives of commoners ultimately descended into chaos, creating a destructive vacuum that obliterated the foundational pillars of society.
Excess resource extraction. Unequal wealth distribution. Are these not the problems currently plaguing America, and for which there are few proposed solutions? Expecting our notoriously venal politicians or our overworked, heavily distracted citizenry to resolve these issues is absurd. Identity politics, among other things, has stifled our ability to unite and address imminent dangers.
In 2008, Thomas Fingar, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, stated that US global leadership will ?rapidly deteriorate in political, economic, and arguably cultural arenas.? NIC?s Global Trends 2030 says that in the coming decades the US will be mired in internal crises as a result of low economic growth. Despite the cheery optimism of America?s politicians, the Intelligence community seems certain that ticking debt-bombs and social instability will mightily diminish America?s global standing.
Are we closer to Rome than we think?
Morris Berman?s trilogy on the American Empire and William Ophuls? Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail offer astute analyses on why America?s problems are irreparable and reminiscent of past empires. I?ll briefly explain why America is ?down for the count? for those unwilling to read the books.
1) The era of U.S. Dollar hegemony is coming to an end
In 1944, the Allied Powers constructed the post-war monetary order at the Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire. Because America had cemented itself as the world?s preeminent superpower, it was agreed that the U.S Dollar would officially be the global reserve currency (it had unofficially held this status since 1925). The bulk of international transactions would now be conducted in U.S. Dollars. The world?s central banks would also hold massive quantities of USD. As of today, the U.S. Dollar constitutes 60% of global reserves and 80% of global payments.
According to Global Trends 2030:
Historically, US dominance has been buttressed by the dollar?s role as the global reserve currency. The fall of the dollar as the global reserve currency?would be one of the sharpest indications of a loss of US global economic position, equivalent to the sterling?s demise as the world?s currency, contributing to the end of the British Empire in the post-World War II period.
Simply put, the current monetary system allows America to pay for goods and services with printed dollars. If other countries printed giant sums of their money to buy imports, their currency?s value would crash on the foreign exchange market. Because the USD?s reserve currency status creates an unlimited demand for dollars, America has been merrily churning the printing presses to bolster its military and buy foreign goods.
All of the ?Made in _______? goods being sold at American retailers, as well as American made products using imported materials, should be 2?5x more expensive than they are now. The US runs trade deficits with virtually every country in the world. Other countries give us goods and we give them printed money. That the U.S has spent the past century debasing its currency is obvious; the prices of everyday goods are more expensive than in the 1950?s by several orders of magnitude.
The US Dollar is not the world?s first reserve currency, nor will it be the last.
The average reserve currency length is 95 years. That the U.S dollar will lose its status as the global reserve currency is unavoidable. This will lead to Americans paying much higher prices for imports. The federal government will downsize drastically. No longer will massive yearly deficits be run.
When we can no longer pay our deficits with printed dollars, the 1 in 5 Americans who receive federal aid will see giant reductions in their benefits. Government employees will be fired en masse. Pensioners will receive a fraction of what they?re owed. This, of course, will be happening as our currency is plummeting on the foreign exchange market. Chaos will erupt in the streets. This day is rapidly approaching because?
2) The U.S. is only a few years away from another financial crisis
In 1998, Wall Street bailed out a hedge fund called Long-Term Capital Management to prevent a meltdown of the global financial system. In 2008, the world?s central banks bailed out Wall Street. What?s going to happen when central banks need to be bailed out?
Since 2008, they have printed over 12 trillion dollars to prop up the financial system. They?ve engendered monstrous speculative bubbles in stocks, bonds, and real estate. Donald Trump?s presidency, Brexit, and the rise of the European Far-Right are, in part, responses to Western nations buoying our broken monetary system at the expense of the general public.
James Rickards? The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites? Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis details how the international monetary system is more unstable and disaster-prone than ever. Unprecedented levels of risk and criminality exist within it. The world?s governments, corporations, and citizens have never been this indebted. Once the global economy slows and debt-bombs begin exploding, the world?s Central Banks will be printing obscene amounts of money in an attempt to mitigate the damage. Their efforts will prove futile as citizens rush to hard assets to preserve their wealth.
Out of necessity, the global monetary system will be reconstructed. The International Monetary Fund?s Special Drawing Right (SDR) will supplant the U.S Dollar as the world?s reserve currency.
3) America no longer even remotely resembles what the founders envisioned
It?s remarkable how prescient our Founding Fathers were about America?s current predicament. They were keenly aware of man?s tyrannical impulses and the usurious nature of banks. They knew once the American public favored idols and indulgences over liberty, prudence, and goodwill, their leaders would follow suit. It?s shocking how far the country has deviated from what it originally was.
Whereas America used to embrace self-sufficiency and limited Federal governance, it is now a profligate, warmongering police state. Those who have suffered at the hands of our imperialistic wrath are still seething. In 2010, a military-grade, Russian attack virus was found in the NASDAQ operating system. Admiral Michael S. Rogers, head of the NSA, recently stated, ?It?s only a matter of [time when] you are going to see a nation state, a group, or an actor engage in destructive behavior against critical infrastructure of the United States.?
Retaliation against our militarism abroad will soon destroy the nation.
The splintering of a civilization doesn?t happen overnight; it?s a gradual process. By now, it should be clear that we?re in this process, but the U.S. propaganda juggernaut has duped Americans into believing, ?Once candidate X gets elected, everything will be OK!?
Often, it?s the vastness and complexity of empires that conspire against them. Resources are exhausted managing novel crises. Once the elites realize the structural problems are intractable, they pillage the society before others are aware of its inevitable dissolution.
From now on, please consider that America?s problems are of a civilizational nature. Circumstances here will likely get much worse until the country self-destructs.