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Thread: This Is How Empires Collapse

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    Hatha Sunahara's Avatar
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    This Is How Empires Collapse

    One corrupted individual participant at a time.

    I started noticing my bosses were corrupt 20 years ago. Before that, I thought they were just stupid. It's not easy to stick around without feeling the pressure on you to 'join in'. The corruption comes from the top. It spreads by peer pressure. The imperative to conform. If you don't refuse to see it, you wonder how much longer the whole structure can remain standing. It takes a special person to remain a part of it.

    Hatha


    http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com...-collapse.html

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    This Is How Empires Collapse

    This is how empires collapse: one complicit participant at a time.

    Before an empire collapses, it first erodes from within. The collapse may appear sudden, but the processes of internal rot hollowed out the resilience, resolve, purpose and vitality of the empire long before its final implosion.

    What are these processes of internal rot? Here are a few of the most pervasive and destructive forces of internal corrosion:

    1. Each institution within the system loses sight of its original purpose of serving the populace and becomes self-serving. This erosion of common purpose serving the common good is so gradual that participants forget there was a time when the focus wasn't on gaming the system to avoid work and accountability but serving the common good.

    2. The corrupt Status Quo corrupts every individual who works within the system.Once an institution loses its original purpose and becomes self-serving, everyone within either seeks to maximize their own personal share of the swag and minimize their accountability, or they are forced out as a potentially dangerous uncorrupted insider.

    The justification is always the same: everybody else is getting away with it, why shouldn't I? Empires decline one corruptible individual at a time.

    3. Self-serving institutions select sociopathic leaders whose skills are not competency or leadership but conning others into believing the institution is functioning optimally when in reality it is faltering/failing.

    The late Roman Empire offers a fine example: entire Army legions in the hinterlands were listed as full-strength on the official rolls in Rome and payroll was issued accordingly, but the legions only existed on paper: corrupt officials pocketed the payroll for phantom legions.

    Self-serving institutions reward con-artists in leadership roles because only con-artists can mask the internal rot with happy-story PR and get away with it.

    4. The institutional memory rewards conserving the existing Status Quo and punishes innovation. Innovation necessarily entails risk, and those busy feathering their own nests (i.e. accepting money for phantom work, phantom legions, etc.) have no desire to place their share of the swag at risk just to improve sagging output and accountability.

    So reforms and innovations that might salvage the institution are shelved or buried.

    5. As the sunk costs of the subsystems increase, the institutional resistance to new technologies and processes increases accordingly. Those manufacturing steam locomotives in the early 20th century had an enormous amount of capital and institutional knowledge sunk in their factories. Tossing all of that out to invest in building diesel-electric locomotives that were much more efficient than the old-tech steam locomotives made little sense to those looking at sunk costs.
    As a result, the steam locomotive manufacturers clung to the old ways and went out of business. The sunk costs of empire are enormous, as is the internal resistance to change.

    6. Institutional memory and knowledge support "doing more of what worked in the past" even when it is clearly failing. I refer to this institutional risk-avoidance and lack of imagination as doing more of what has failed spectacularly.
    Inept leadership keeps doing more of what once worked, even when it is clearly failing, in effect ignoring real-world feedback in favor of magical-thinking. The Federal Reserve is an excellent example.

    7. These dynamics of eroding accountability, effectiveness and purpose lead to systemic diminishing returns. Each failing institution now needs more money to sustain its operations, as inefficiencies, corruption and incompetence reduce output while dramatically raising costs (phantom legions still get paid).

    8. Incompetence is rewarded and competence punished. The classic example of this was "Good job, Brownie:" cronies and con-artists are elevated to leadership roles to reward loyalty and the ability to mask the rot with good PR. Serving the common good is set aside as sychophancy (obedient flattery) to incompetent leaders is rewarded and real competence is punished as a threat to the self-serving leadership.

    9. As returns diminish and costs rise, systemic fragility increases. This can be illustrated as a rising wedge: as output declines and costs rise, the break-even point keeps edging higher, until even a modest reduction of input (revenue, energy, etc.) causes the system to break down:

    http://www.oftwominds.com/photos2012/rising-wedge.gif

    A modern-day example is oil-exporting states that have bought the complicity of their citizenry with generous welfare benefits and subsidies. As their populations and welfare benefits keep rising, the revenues they need to keep the system going require an ever-higher price of oil. Should the price of oil decline, these regimes will be unable to fund their welfare. With the social contract broken, there is nothing left to stem the tide of revolt.

    10. Economies of scale no longer generate returns. In the good old days, stretching out supply lines to reach lower-cost suppliers and digitizing management reaped huge gains in productivity. Now that the scale of enterprise is global, the gains from economies of scale have faltered and the high overhead costs of maintaining this vast managerial infrastructure have become a drain.

    11. Redundancy is sacrificed to preserve a corrupt and failing core. Rather than demand sacrifices of the Roman Elites and the entertainment-addicted bread-and-circus masses to maintain the forces protecting the Imperial borders, late-Roman Empire leaders eliminated defense-in-depth (redundancy). This left the borders thinly defended. With no legions in reserve, an invasion could no longer be stopped without mobilizing the entire border defense, in effect leaving huge swaths of the border undefended to push back the invaders.

    Phantom legions line the pockets of insiders and cronies while creating a useful illusion of stability and strength.

    12. The feedback from those tasked with doing the real work of the Empire is ignored as Elites and vested interests dominate decision-making. As I noted yesterday in The Political Poison of Vested Interests, when this bottoms-up feedback is tossed out, ignored or marginalized, all decisions are necessarily unwise because they are no longer grounded in the consequences experienced by the 95% doing the real work.
    This lack of feedback from the bottom 95% is captured by the expression "Let them eat cake." (Though attributed to Marie Antoinette, there is no evidence that she actually said Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.)

    The point is that decisions made with no feedback from the real-world of the bottom 95%, that is, decisions made solely in response to the demands of cronies, vested interests and various elites, are intrinsically unsound and doomed to fail catastrophically.

    How does an Empire end up with phantom legions? The same way the U.S. ended up with ObamaCare/Affordable Care Act. The payroll is being paid but there is no real-world feedback, no accountability, no purpose other than private profit/gain and no common good being served.

    That's how empires collapse: one corrupted, self-serving individual at a time, gaming one corrupted, self-serving institution or another; it no longer matters which one because they're all equally compromised. It's not just the border legions that are phantom; the entire stability and strength of the empire is phantom. The uncorruptible and competent are banished or punished, and the corrupt, self-serving and inept are lavished with treasure.

    This is how empires collapse: one complicit participant at a time.
    Cosmic justice is getting what you deserve.

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    Hatha Sunahara's Avatar
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    Re: This Is How Empires Collapse

    Here's a video that reinforces the process described in the OP:



    The important point is that empires don't fall--they rot slowly until they can no longer hold themselves up.

    Hatha
    Cosmic justice is getting what you deserve.

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    Great Value Carrots Sparky's Avatar
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    Re: This Is How Empires Collapse

    The thing is, empires can take a long time to fall. Rome emerged as an empire around 30 BC and reached its peak shortly after 100 AD. It took another three hundred years after that for the empire to collapse.

    The fall of the British Empire transpired more quickly, peaking after World War 1 and crumbling with World War 2, a span of only a quarter century.

    There needs to be a new empire to fill the void. It looks like China or Russia may have those aspirations. But they still have a long way to go to position themselves.

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    Iridium Libertytree's Avatar
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    Re: This Is How Empires Collapse

    With the advancement of time, things move much more swiftly, per Sparky's notation of the Roman empire vs the British empire. It didn't take long for the USSR to fall but reasserting itself has taken quite a bit of time.

    I don't know how this translates to the future of the US but it seems the pace at which it could happen has shortened considerably. Once the writing is on the wall it's just a matter of it hitting that tipping point and no matter how long TPTB try and salvage it or prolong it the end is a forgone conclusion.
    "Truth is treason in the empire of lies"...Ron Paul
    "A government is a bunch of people, usually, notably ungoverned"...
    Shepherd Book, Firefly

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    Unobtanium EE_'s Avatar
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    Re: This Is How Empires Collapse

    Things being as they are, I think we have a long way to go. We may not see it in our lifetime.

    You may think they have, but I don't believe the elite ever lost control.
    The power to print the money of the world can accomplish anything and buy anyone.

    None of us really knows who is all in on taking control of the population...China and Russia may be joined with the US/Israel? So we really know nothing on how things will play out.

    One thing is for sure, you can't believe a thing you see reported happening in the world...it's all just a distraction for the elite to profit and gain more control behind the scenes
    The Ukraine, so called crisis, appears to be as much a non-event along with every other event we've seen.

    We are living in a time where all the smaller nations of the world are being decimated and no one's lifted a finger to stop it.

    We have people being made kings daily, they are buying and owning everything while working class people in the US and around the world are being impovershed.

    The stock market is climbing to new record highs daily again, while the gold and silver genie has been stuffed back into the bottle. You hear the cries by the media people that we need more jobs, but I'm convinced they really think we do not.

    They never lost control and probably will not in our lifetime.
    It will take a force not of this world to change anything.

    Other then that, everything is great!
    TRUMP WILL WIN BY A LANDSLIDE!
    You can forget about making America great again, it ain't gonna happen.

    The NWO is here, and you all stood in line for it!

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    Iridium Spectrism's Avatar
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    Re: This Is How Empires Collapse

    Quote Originally Posted by Libertytree View Post
    With the advancement of time, things move much more swiftly, per Sparky's notation of the Roman empire vs the British empire. It didn't take long for the USSR to fall but reasserting itself has taken quite a bit of time.

    I don't know how this translates to the future of the US but it seems the pace at which it could happen has shortened considerably. Once the writing is on the wall it's just a matter of it hitting that tipping point and no matter how long TPTB try and salvage it or prolong it the end is a forgone conclusion.
    Exactly right. The timescale of old does not apply today. Look at an exponential curve upward. With less time the climb increases enormously. Speed of communication, transportation, computation and deliberation makes the world a faster-moving and more dangerous place. We have not seen it recently but the events of WW2 times 1000 in a timeframe less than one fifth is now possible. Once the big one starts, the flashes of nuclear annihilation will make postwar Germany or Japan look like good old days.

    The trapper is laying snares all over the place right now. Trip up the right one and they all spring. Here is what it will look like:

    Rev 6:4 And another horse went out, red. And it was given to the one sitting on it to take peace from the earth, and that they should slay one another. And a great sword was given to him.
    Rev 6:5 And when He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and the one sitting on it having a balance in his hand. [judgment- hunger & slavery]
    Rev 6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenixes of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.
    Rev 6:7 And when He opened the fourth seal, I heard a voice of the fourth living creature saying, Come and see.
    Rev 6:8 And I saw, and behold, a pale green horse, and the name of the one sitting on it was Death; and Hades followed after him. And authority was given to them to kill over the fourth of the earth with sword, and with famine, and with death, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
    SPECTRISM time is almostout

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    Re: This Is How Empires Collapse

    Quote Originally Posted by Spectrism View Post
    Exactly right. The timescale of old does not apply today. Look at an exponential curve upward. With less time the climb increases enormously. Speed of communication, transportation, computation and deliberation makes the world a faster-moving and more dangerous place. We have not seen it recently but the events of WW2 times 1000 in a timeframe less than one fifth is now possible. Once the big one starts, the flashes of nuclear annihilation will make postwar Germany or Japan look like good old days.

    The trapper is laying snares all over the place right now. Trip up the right one and they all spring. Here is what it will look like:

    Rev 6:4 And another horse went out, red. And it was given to the one sitting on it to take peace from the earth, and that they should slay one another. And a great sword was given to him.
    Rev 6:5 And when He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and the one sitting on it having a balance in his hand. [judgment- hunger & slavery]
    Rev 6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenixes of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.
    Rev 6:7 And when He opened the fourth seal, I heard a voice of the fourth living creature saying, Come and see.
    Rev 6:8 And I saw, and behold, a pale green horse, and the name of the one sitting on it was Death; and Hades followed after him. And authority was given to them to kill over the fourth of the earth with sword, and with famine, and with death, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
    These passages have nothing to do with time.
    This person you read of...one having a great sword, the one holding the scales and the one called death is lucifer. Revelation is written this way so you cannot go wrong....plenty of warnings told to you.
    However, pay attention to who lucifer cant harm....the oil and the wine.
    What is the oil and the wine?.......translated its who the oil and the wine are.
    These are those who know the truth....they cannot be fooled into worshipping the fake christ (lucifer) as they know hes fake.
    lucifer and his fallen angels will flee in terror from these who are the wine and oil.
    Its these who God will speak through....yes He literally speaks through them in a voice all people will know.
    The real Christ returns at the last trumpet...the 7th trump!

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