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Signs of a Dying Empire - pbrower2a - 09-15-2017

And don't fool yourself: we Americans live in an empire, and the depravity has risen fast. (I speak in part of President Trump, the most decadent person who has ever gotten so far in America!) But he is far from alone in culpability.





Empires do not have a clear date of either birth or death, but they have stages of existence. Empires begin with pioneers establishing a new society, go through an age of conquest spreading the new order into other places, then an age of commerce (transforming raw wealth into something more refined and lucrative), an age of affluence from the profits, an age of intellect (creativity as the definitive white-collar way to make wealth without great capital investment), and finally an age of indulgent decadence.

We are apparently in an age of decadence -- an undisciplined, over-extended military (note the images of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners), lusts by elites for luxury in ostentatious display of wealth, a great disparity in living standards between the rich and the poor, a desire by many (now including right-wingers) to live off a bloated state, an obsession with sex, and (worst and most flagrant) the debasement of currency.

Corruption becomes rampant, and whatever democracy the order ever claims to have had is a sham. (Note my contempt for a legislators in the federal and most state legislatures responsive solely to lobbyists responsible only to the super-rich who hire them to ensure government of the elites, by the elites, and for the elites).


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - noway2 - 09-15-2017

Interesting comment at the beginning of the video, that an empire typically last 250 years. If we assume the American empire was born in 1776, then a 250 year lifespan would occur in 2026, which is I understand is roughly when we should expect to have the climax of the current 4th turning? Furthermore, one of the potential resolutions, if you will, that I see bantered about here and elsewhere is a break up of this nation, which would certainly be the death of an empire.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - pbrower2a - 09-15-2017

(09-15-2017, 02:54 PM)noway2 Wrote: Interesting comment at the beginning of the video, that an empire typically last 250 years.  If we assume the American empire was born in 1776, then a 250 year lifespan would occur in 2026, which is I understand is roughly when we should expect to have the climax of the current 4th turning?  Furthermore, one of the potential resolutions, if you will, that I see bantered about here and elsewhere is a break up of this nation, which would certainly be the death of an empire.

1776? One could use other dates. Independence does not make an empire. 250 years is excessively precise.  1945 marks the end of imperialist regimes in Germany and Japan, but Japan was a collection of feudal micro-states for all practical purposes until 1868. Nazi Germany was for all practical purposes the continuation of the Kingdom of Prussia which was officially dissolved in 1945, but it is hard to see any nation-shaping event in Prussia in or near 1695. The British Empire comes to an apparent end with the retrocession of Hong Kong to China in 1997, with Britain having become a world power in the 1600s. The Romanov dynasty survived for 304 years. 

The degradation of American democracy has happened in stages, and the election of Donald Trump could be the start of the last stage. Could be. My most optimistic hope is that America reverts to its old pattern of a liberal-conservative divide in which quality matters more in politics than does ideology.

The slogan "Make America Great Again" exemplifies a folly. Imagine a time machine. So I am 61 in 1927 and I get to see the world of 2017. Of course there would be much that would upset me, like technologies that would seem magical.  It might upset me more that the automobiles that are in use in 2017 are impossible for me to do minor service work upon. But I would see a world safer, more just, and with more potential of personal choice. Would I have the arrogance to bring someone back to some alleged Good Old Days? I doubt it. I might see good and bad in social change.

Now think of 1957 to 2017. The roads are better. "Jim Crow" is no more. The world is safer and richer, but I am not sure that people are handling themselves better with the new technology. I am glad that the Soviet Union is no more. I am amazed that America could elect a black man as President -- but at least he reminds me of Ike in temperament and personality. But Donald Trump? A demagogue, the sort of person that I could have never expected to get past some local office. Something must be wrong with the educational system if people could elect -- that.

There is no Golden Age in American history. There are times when we did certain things better, as in politics, business ethics, and education. We solve our problems ourselves, or we risk catastrophe that can destroy all the depravity that we allowed to collect. Mass superstition and gullibility? Government by lobbyists? Big-government right-wingers who see government as something to raid for profit instead of something to constrain? Wars for profit? Such are the oily rags of spontaneous combustion.

I can imagine ourselves pushed back to the pioneering stage when we must rebuild the wreck of our world on little more than the rough victuals that farming of the Civil War era allowed. Maybe we end up with that sort of reset. I can imagine far worse.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Warren Dew - 09-15-2017

(09-15-2017, 03:43 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: The slogan "Make America Great Again" exemplifies a folly. Imagine a time machine. So I am 61 in 1927 and I get to see the world of 2017. Of course there would be much that would upset me, like technologies that would seem magical.  It might upset me more that the automobiles that are in use in 2017 are impossible for me to do minor service work upon. But I would see a world safer, more just, and with more potential of personal choice. Would I have the arrogance to bring someone back to some alleged Good Old Days? I doubt it. I might see good and bad in social change.

Just because you personally wouldn't prefer 1927 doesn't mean others wouldn't.  For my part, magical technologies are a plus, but there's far less personal choice in 2017 than in 1927.

That said, I think what Trump is looking for is close to America in the decade after the Cold War.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Kinser79 - 09-15-2017

Interesting but the video needs details.  I think the decline of the US is tied directly to this following issue:






RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - pbrower2a - 09-15-2017

(09-15-2017, 07:06 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 03:43 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: The slogan "Make America Great Again" exemplifies a folly. Imagine a time machine. So I am 61 in 1927 and I get to see the world of 2017. Of course there would be much that would upset me, like technologies that would seem magical.  It might upset me more that the automobiles that are in use in 2017 are impossible for me to do minor service work upon. But I would see a world safer, more just, and with more potential of personal choice. Would I have the arrogance to bring someone back to some alleged Good Old Days? I doubt it. I might see good and bad in social change.

Just because you personally wouldn't prefer 1927 doesn't mean others wouldn't.  For my part, magical technologies are a plus, but there's far less personal choice in 2017 than in 1927.

That said, I think what Trump is looking for is close to America in the decade after the Cold War.


Real estate in real terms was certainly cheaper in those days, so in that respect life was easier.  Commutes were shorter. Of course, your commute could be on foot. A mile on foot  might be better for you from the standpoint of physical fitness than a fifteen-minute drive to and from work, but we can take the dog out for a fifteen-minute walk after we get home from work, can't we? Of course, people were starting to experience the dubious pleasures of smoking, for which they wouold pay great personal costs (lung cancer) a few decades later).

We have far more information at our fingertips (maybe with the aid of a computer screen) in 2017 -- and we need not go to the library.

I certainly wouldn't want to be black in 1927, especially in "Kukluxistan". Having to work unpaid overtime in honest-to-God hard labor because the Boss got an emergency order sounds like a truly-raw deal. Work the added hours or be fired? That's not much of a choice.

Bland and dull as the Interstates are, I prefer them to the Blood Alleys. There are trips that I would not take were it not for the Interstates and similar highways.

...but this said, I have never known of anyone who sees America as a finished project, and I have rarely heard anyone speak longingly of some Golden Age. Maybe people would go back in time to get their youth back, but that is about it.

Of course we have lost some things that we might want to get back. Cheap real estate isn't one of those things that we can get back unless we are to see a population crash. Submissive women (children, kitchen, church)? Tough luck, male chauvinists. Ethnic minorities only in subordinate places. like domestic service or sharecropping? Forget it!

Maybe life was better in some critical aspects when business executives became such near the end of their careers when they were in their mid-50s and lacked the time or means for conspicuous consumption, and made perhaps 3 or 4 times as much as a laborer. Maybe we would be better off if the liberal arts were again the focus of undergraduate education -- in the assumption that education was to improve the person and not to serve as a union card to some Good Life.

I look at our current elites -- tycoons, financiers, executives, political operatives, and experts at fleecing people -- and I see people no better than the aristocrats of a feudal order or of planters in the Old South. That is the problem.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Warren Dew - 09-16-2017

(09-15-2017, 11:51 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: I certainly wouldn't want to be black in 1927, especially in "Kukluxistan". Having to work unpaid overtime in honest-to-God hard labor because the Boss got an emergency order sounds like a truly-raw deal. Work the added hours or be fired? That's not much of a choice.

I wouldn't disagree with that, but I'm not sure it's worse than being black in 2017 inner cities, where you can't get a job to be fired from in the first place.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Warren Dew - 09-16-2017

(09-15-2017, 07:43 PM)Kinser79 Wrote: Interesting but the video needs details.  I think the decline of the US is tied directly to this following issue:




Pretty good video, but he misses the transition from industrial warfare to nuclear warfare.  We can have pax Americana or we can have a warring states period full of North Koreas.  I wonder which it will be.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - pbrower2a - 09-16-2017

I'm tempted to see the debasement of currency as a symptom more than as a cause.

1. That people are living off the past, including the reputation of the currency from better times?

2. The overall fraudulence of the system? Inflation can be a way of cheating workers and savers.

3. The extinction of thrift as people are unwilling or unable to save.

I am tempted to believe that inflation could work to destroy the thrift necessary for creating capital that might compete with extant firms by forming competitive businesses. People who cannot save are unable to establish collateral for starting a business of any kind. Thus is inflation the best friend of the monopolist and crony capitalist?


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Warren Dew - 09-16-2017

Exported inflation is how we pay off our exported debt.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Kinser79 - 09-16-2017

(09-16-2017, 02:03 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 07:43 PM)Kinser79 Wrote: Interesting but the video needs details.  I think the decline of the US is tied directly to this following issue:




Pretty good video, but he misses the transition from industrial warfare to nuclear warfare.  We can have pax Americana or we can have a warring states period full of North Koreas.  I wonder which it will be.

Blackpidgeonspeaks is sometimes fairly shallow in his political analysis.  I personally blame his format and the fact that he's an American Expat in Japan.

As to the dichodomy of Pax Americana vs Neo-Warring States the debasement of the currency will eventually and inevitably lead to the abandonment of the USD as the currency that is used to buy oil (and by extension all other commodities) resulting in the end of Pax Americana.

His point is largely that Pax Americana is only possible because people desire American dollars to buy Saudi Oil--it isn't like goods are made in the US, well no I take that back my son did manage to find some shoes that are American made, they look like prison shower shoes (which they probably are) that people require dollars to buy.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Warren Dew - 09-16-2017

(09-16-2017, 07:43 PM)Kinser79 Wrote:
(09-16-2017, 02:03 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: Pretty good video, but he misses the transition from industrial warfare to nuclear warfare.  We can have pax Americana or we can have a warring states period full of North Koreas.  I wonder which it will be.

Blackpidgeonspeaks is sometimes fairly shallow in his political analysis.  I personally blame his format and the fact that he's an American Expat in Japan.

As to the dichodomy of Pax Americana vs Neo-Warring States the debasement of the currency will eventually and inevitably lead to the abandonment of the USD as the currency that is used to buy oil (and by extension all other commodities) resulting in the end of Pax Americana.

His point is largely that Pax Americana is only possible because people desire American dollars to buy Saudi Oil--it isn't like goods are made in the US, well no I take that back my son did manage to find some shoes that are American made, they look like prison shower shoes (which they probably are) that people require dollars to buy.

The world is going to be moving away from oil in the next couple of decades, anyway.

Seems to me that if we control the seas, there ought to be some way for us to ensure dollars are used for the goods that travel over them.  I haven't thought about specifics, though.

Edit: the border adjustment tax would put us in position to get back into manufacturing on an even footing with Japan and Germany. I'm not sure that's happening, though.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - pbrower2a - 09-17-2017

(09-16-2017, 07:43 PM)Kinser79 Wrote:
(09-16-2017, 02:03 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 07:43 PM)Kinser79 Wrote: Interesting but the video needs details.  I think the decline of the US is tied directly to this following issue:




Pretty good video, but he misses the transition from industrial warfare to nuclear warfare.  We can have pax Americana or we can have a warring states period full of North Koreas.  I wonder which it will be.

Blackpidgeonspeaks is sometimes fairly shallow in his political analysis.

Nobody can address everything.

Quote:I personally blame his format and the fact that he's an American Expat in Japan.

Irrelevant.

Quote:As to the dichotomy of Pax Americana vs Neo-Warring States the debasement of the currency will eventually and inevitably lead to the abandonment of the USD as the currency that is used to buy oil (and by extension all other commodities) resulting in the end of Pax Americana.

Remember -- a dollar is government debt. That is how you are paid your wages or salary. That is what you accept as a business owner or offer as exchange. When the petrodollars come back to America we will have instant inflation for which we will be ill-prepared. The money supply expands with no increase in productivity.

Quote:His point is largely that Pax Americana is only possible because people desire American dollars to buy Saudi Oil--it isn't like goods are made in the US, well no I take that back my son did manage to find some shoes that are American made, they look like prison shower shoes (which they probably are) that people require dollars to buy.


People are also using US dollars to buy Chinese-made wares.  A sudden increase in unwelcome cash that most likely goes first to economic elites will cause prices to rise sharply for us all.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Mikebert - 09-17-2017

(09-15-2017, 07:06 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: Just because you personally wouldn't prefer 1927 doesn't mean others wouldn't.  For my part, magical technologies are a plus, but there's far less personal choice in 2017 than in 1927.

How so? Seems to me people have far *more* personal choice today than in the past, perhaps too much.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - pbrower2a - 09-17-2017

(09-17-2017, 03:32 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 07:06 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: Just because you personally wouldn't prefer 1927 doesn't mean others wouldn't.  For my part, magical technologies are a plus, but there's far less personal choice in 2017 than in 1927.

How so? Seems to me people have far *more* personal choice today than in the past, perhaps too much.

The 'wrong choices' are sleaze. It's up to us to decide to avoid it.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Warren Dew - 09-17-2017

(09-17-2017, 03:32 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 07:06 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: Just because you personally wouldn't prefer 1927 doesn't mean others wouldn't.  For my part, magical technologies are a plus, but there's far less personal choice in 2017 than in 1927.

How so? Seems to me people have far *more* personal choice today than in the past, perhaps too much.

Back in 1927, in most states I could drive an automobile without the hassle of getting a license; in many states I could drive at any speed as there was no speed limit.  I could make a reasonable wage and choose how I would spend over 95% of it, rather than having to pay 20-40% in income and payroll taxes, and being coerced to spend much of the remaining 60-80% in ways the federal government forced on me to avoid even higher taxes.  In general the government imposes far more restrictions on personal choice now than it did in 1927.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - pbrower2a - 09-18-2017

(09-17-2017, 11:56 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(09-17-2017, 03:32 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 07:06 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: Just because you personally wouldn't prefer 1927 doesn't mean others wouldn't.  For my part, magical technologies are a plus, but there's far less personal choice in 2017 than in 1927.

How so? Seems to me people have far *more* personal choice today than in the past, perhaps too much.

Back in 1927, in most states I could drive an automobile without the hassle of getting a license; in many states I could drive at any speed as there was no speed limit.  I could make a reasonable wage and choose how I would spend over 95% of it, rather than having to pay 20-40% in income and payroll taxes, and being coerced to spend much of the remaining 60-80% in ways the federal government forced on me to avoid even higher taxes.  In general the government imposes far more restrictions on personal choice now than it did in 1927.

But some of the important rights are negative rights. The freedom to drive without expecting a grossly-incompetent driver (such as drunk or on drugs) implies that there is no right to drive while drunk or on drugs. Real incomes for working people were already much above what they were in 1927 by 1937 in part because of wage-and-hour laws that kept an employer from compelling one to choose between working uncompensated overtime or losing a job. Licensing requirements for driving a car may have kept some really-stupid people from driving a car. When you think about it, the average person first eligible to get a driver's license (at 16) is as intellectually-developed as a full adult with an IQ of 80. License plates? Those make it far easier for the police to track stolen cars and people using cars in the commission of crimes.

You obviously have more freedom earning $50K a year than by earning $10K a year, at the least in consumer choice. There is obviously far more consumer choice today than in 1927. The only clear negatives to life being better for most people relate to population growth; housing rent is much bigger as a share of income, and commutes are longer.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - Kinser79 - 09-19-2017

(09-17-2017, 12:21 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(09-16-2017, 07:43 PM)Kinser79 Wrote:
(09-16-2017, 02:03 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 07:43 PM)Kinser79 Wrote: Interesting but the video needs details.  I think the decline of the US is tied directly to this following issue:




Pretty good video, but he misses the transition from industrial warfare to nuclear warfare.  We can have pax Americana or we can have a warring states period full of North Koreas.  I wonder which it will be.

Blackpidgeonspeaks is sometimes fairly shallow in his political analysis.

Nobody can address everything.

No they can't, which is why I made a statement of fact rather than a value judgement. I know Boomers typically can't tell the difference between the two but his political analysis is often quite shallow.

Quote:
Quote:I personally blame his format and the fact that he's an American Expat in Japan.

Irrelevant.

Incorrect. Tell me who has a better handle on what is actually happening in America: An American who lives in America and experiences it directly or an American who has lived in Japan for about 15 years and experiences American politics through a far different lens.

Quote:
Quote:As to the dichotomy of Pax Americana vs Neo-Warring States the debasement of the currency will eventually and inevitably lead to the abandonment of the USD as the currency that is used to buy oil (and by extension all other commodities) resulting in the end of Pax Americana.

Remember -- a dollar is government debt.

The dollar itself is government debt true, but that is largely irrelevant on Main Street.

Quote: That is how you are paid your wages or salary.

No. My salary is paid to me by my boss who gets it from customers. I don't particularly care where they got their dollars. I suppose one could say that they all are derived from government debt after it has been passed from hand to hand about a half-dozen or more times. But such is the nature of a debt based currency. There are of course other forms of currency including debt free governmental money--the US had them before the Deep State murdered President Kennedy.

Quote:That is what you accept as a business owner or offer as exchange.

Not quite. I accept dollars because they are the only form of currency acceptable to pay taxes with. If Congress up and decided one day they wanted potatoes instead, we'd take those instead.

Quote:When the petrodollars come back to America we will have instant inflation for which we will be ill-prepared. The money supply expands with no increase in productivity.

That requires the break down of the dollar denominated oil market. So far the largest producers are using dollars for their accounts, but that is subject to change. Venezuela is threatening to move their accounts off Dollars, Russia will accept dollars, euro, gold or rubles, Iran will take gold, RMB or Indian Rupees as well as dollars.

Simply put the break down of the petrodollar is inevitable, the problem is that just about everyone wants that break down to be gradual and controlled rather than sudden and catastrophic.

Quote:
Quote:His point is largely that Pax Americana is only possible because people desire American dollars to buy Saudi Oil--it isn't like goods are made in the US, well no I take that back my son did manage to find some shoes that are American made, they look like prison shower shoes (which they probably are) that people require dollars to buy.


People are also using US dollars to buy Chinese-made wares.  A sudden increase in unwelcome cash that most likely goes first to economic elites will cause prices to rise sharply for us all.
[/quote]

Actually if most of that exported cash goes to the economic elites first what will happen first will be a massive asset bubble. Prices on Main Street will only rise when the little people start getting those dollars, which could take months or years from the offical end of the petrodollar depending on how big the asset bubble is.

That will then be followed by a massive deflation as the old currency is replaced by a new one.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - David Horn - 09-19-2017

(09-17-2017, 11:56 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(09-17-2017, 03:32 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 07:06 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: Just because you personally wouldn't prefer 1927 doesn't mean others wouldn't.  For my part, magical technologies are a plus, but there's far less personal choice in 2017 than in 1927.

How so? Seems to me people have far *more* personal choice today than in the past, perhaps too much.

Back in 1927, in most states I could drive an automobile without the hassle of getting a license; in many states I could drive at any speed as there was no speed limit. 

Yes, you could drive on dirt roads and suffer a plethora of auto accidents due to bad roads and bad drivers.  Is this a net plus?

Warren Dew Wrote:I could make a reasonable wage and choose how I would spend over 95% of it, rather than having to pay 20-40% in income and payroll taxes, and being coerced to spend much of the remaining 60-80% in ways the federal government forced on me to avoid even higher taxes. 

You might be able to secure a good job, or not.  labor was definitely not in the driver's seat in any way, shape or form.  Then there were the bad roads and bad drivers, sketchy law enforcement and the same Gilded Age issues we have today, with less ability to do anything about it.

Warren Dew Wrote:In general the government imposes far more restrictions on personal choice now than it did in 1927.

True enough, but those restrictions were put in place for a reason, and removing them won't make the world a better place to live.


RE: Signs of a Dying Empire - David Horn - 09-19-2017

(09-16-2017, 01:49 PM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(09-15-2017, 11:51 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: I certainly wouldn't want to be black in 1927, especially in "Kukluxistan". Having to work unpaid overtime in honest-to-God hard labor because the Boss got an emergency order sounds like a truly-raw deal. Work the added hours or be fired? That's not much of a choice.

I wouldn't disagree with that, but I'm not sure it's worse than being black in 2017 inner cities, where you can't get a job to be fired from in the first place.

This is true in some places, but not others.  Chicago is bad; NYC is doing great.  San Francisco has no inner city poor, because they can't afford to live there.  In general, being black today -- rich or poor -- is better than it was when I was a child.