The Empire of Lies: How we are collapsing in the same way as the Roman Empire did.

youtube-Logo-2gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on Cassandra's Legacy on April 14, 2019

 


(Image source: Wikipedia) The Devil is sometimes said to be "The Father of Lies." It is an apt definition for a creature that doesn't even exist except as a figment of human imagination. Satan is an evil egregore that we ourselves created, a creature that seems to loom larger and larger behind the current chronicles. The recent arrest of Julian Assange is just the latest deed of an Empire that seems bent on truly creating its own reality, something that, in itself, wouldn't necessarily be evil but that becomes so when it implies destroying all other realities, including the only true one. 

 

Discuss this article at the History Table inside the Diner

Initially, I thought to comment the recent news about Assange by reproducing a post "The Empire of Lies" that I published here about one year ago, where I described how the transition from the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages had taken place, in large part, because people just couldn't trust their Imperial rulers anymore. The Roman Empire had become an empire of lies and it was left to Christianity to rebuild the trust that the old empire had squandered – the Middle Ages were far from being "Dark Ages."  But, eventually, I thought to publish something I had in mind about how the Roman Empire and the modern Western Empire are following parallel trajectories in their habit of telling lies as they move toward their respective Seneca Cliffs.

So, here it is my assessment of the Roman Collapse, based on the excellent book by Dmitry Orlov, "The Five Stages of Collapse." Just one note: in the book, Orlov doesn't describe the post-collapse phase of the Soviet Union that ended with Russia becoming again as a prosperous and united country, as it is nowadays. It was a good example of the "Seneca Rebound" — there is life after collapse and there will be new life after that the Evil Empire of lies will be gone.
 

The Five Stages of Collapse of The Roman Empire.

By Ugo Bardi

Dmitry Orlov wrote "The Five Stages of Collapse" as an article in 2008 and as a book in 2013. It was an original idea for that time that of comparing the fall of the Soviet Union with that of the United States. Being an American citizen born in Russia, Orlov could compare the two Empires in detail and note the many similarities that led both to follow the same trajectory, even though the cycle of the American Empire is not over, yet.

To strengthen Orlov's analysis I thought I could apply the same five stages to an older Empire, the Roman one. And, yes, the five stages apply well also to that ancient case. So, here is my take on this subject.

To start, a list of the five Stages of Collapse according to Orlov.
 

  • Stage 1: Financial collapse.
  • Stage 2: Commercial collapse.
  • Stage 3: Political collapse.
  • Stage 4: Social collapse.
  • Stage 5: Cultural collapse.

Now, let's see how these five stages played out during the fall of the Roman Empire.

Stage 1 – Financial Collapse (3rd century AD). The Roman Empire’s financial system was not as sophisticated as ours, but, just like our civilization, the Empire was based on money. Money was the tool that kept together the state: it was used to pay the legions and the bureaucrats and to make the commercial system supply the cities with food. The Roman money was a physical commodity: it was based on silver and gold, and these metals needed to be mined. It was the Roman control over the rich gold mines of Northern Spain that had created the Empire, but these mines couldn’t last forever. Starting with the 1st century, the cost of mining from depleted veins became an increasingly heavy burden. By the 3rd century, the burden was too heavy for the Empire to carry. It was the financial collapse from which the Empire never could fully recover.

Stage 2 – Commercial Collapse (5th century AD). The Roman Empire had never really been a commercial empire nor a manufacturing society. It was specialized in military conquest and it preferred to import luxury items from abroad, some, such as silk, all the way from the other side of Eurasia, from China. In addition to legions, the Empire produced only two commodities in large amounts: grain and gold. Of these, only gold could be exported to long distances and it soon disappeared to China to pay for the expensive imports the Romans were used to buy. The other product, grain, couldn’t be exported and continued to be traded within the Empire’s border for some time – the supply of grain from the African and Near Eastern granaries was what kept the Roman cities alive, Rome in particular. After the financial collapse, the supply lines remained open because the grain producers had no other market than the Roman cities. But, by mid-5th-century, things got so bad that Rome was sacked first by the Visigoths in 410, and then by the Vandals in 450, It recovered from the 1st sack, but the second was terminal. The Romans had no more money left to pay for the grain they needed, the commercial sea lanes broke down completely, and the Romans starved. It was the end of the Roman commercial system.

Stage 3 – Political Collapse (late 5th century AD). The political collapse went in parallel with the commercial collapse. Already in the late 4th century, the Emperors had become unable to defend Rome from the Barbarian armies marching across the empire and they had retired to the safety of the fortified city of Ravenna. When Rome was sacked, the Emperors didn’t even try to do something to help. The last emperors disappeared by the late 5th century but, already decades before, most people in Europe had stopped caring about whether or not there was some pompous person in Ravenna who wore purple clothes and claimed to be a divine Emperor.

Stage 4 – Social Collapse (5th century AD). The social collapse of the Western Empire went in parallel with the disgregation of the political and commercial structures. Already during the early 5th century, we have evidence that the Roman Elites had gone in “escape mode" – it was not just the emperor who had fled Rome to take refuge in Ravenna, patricians and warlords were on the move with troops, money, and followers to establish feudal domains for themselves where they could. And they were leaving the commoners to fend off by themselves. By the 6th century, the Roman State was gone and most of Europe was in the hands of Germanic warlords.

Stage 5 – Cultural collapse (starting in the 6th century AD). It was very slow. The advent of Christianity, during the 3rd century, had not weakened the Empire's cultural structure, it had been an evolution rather than a break with the past. The collapse of the Empire as a political and military entity didn't change things so much and for centuries people in Europe still considered themselves as Romans, not unlike the Japanese soldiers stranded in remote islands after the end of the second world war .(in Greece, people would still define themselves as "Romans" well into the 19th century). Latin, the imperial language, disappeared as a vernacular language but it was kept alive by the Catholic clergy and it became an indispensable tool that kept Europe culturally united. Latin kept a certain cultural continuity with the ancient empire that was only very gradually lost. It was only with the 18th – 19th centuries that Latin disappeared as the language of the cultural elite, to be replaced by English nowadays.

As you see, Orlov’s list has a certain logic although it needs to be adapted a little to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. The 5 stages didn’t come one after the other, There was more than a century lapse between the 3rd-century financial collapse (stage 1) and the three subsequent stages arriving together: commercial, political, and social collapse. The 5th stage, the cultural collapse, was a drawn-out story that came later and that lasted for centuries.

How about our civilization? The 1st stage, financial collapse is clearly ongoing, although it is masked by various accounting tricks. The 2nd stage, commercial collapse, instead, hasn't started yet, nor the political collapse: the Empire still maintains a giant and threatening military force, even though its actual efficiency may be doubted. Maybe we are already seeing signs of the 3rd stage, social collapse but, if the Roman case is a guide, these three stages will arrive together.

Then, how about the last stage, cultural collapse? That's a question for a relatively far future. For a while, English will surely remain the universal language, just as Latin used to be after the fall of Rome, while people may keep thinking they still live in a globalized world (maybe it is already an illusion). With English fading, anything may happen and when (and if) a new Empire will rise on the ashes of the American Empire it will be something completely different. We can only say that the universe goes in cycles and that's, evidently, the way things have to be.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner
Search the Diner
Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D
Archives
Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

Quote from: Surly1 on Today at 05:11:05 PMQuote from: RE on Today at 09:37:31 AMThe Potlatch Parking Lot is taking off!  I fed more than a dozen people yesterday out on a cool (finall...

Quote from: RE on Today at 09:37:31 AMThe Potlatch Parking Lot is taking off!  I fed more than a dozen people yesterday out on a cool (finally, thank god!) Alaska evening (what passes for evening in summer her...

Quote from: RE on Today at 09:41:28 AMQuote from: knarf on Today at 09:03:17 AM"It's a long way to temporary"   The few days while going over the reported newz of the d...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2019/07/16/the-mississippi-is-bringing-a-lot-more-than-just-water-to-the-gu...

Quote from: knarf on Today at 09:03:17 AM"It's a long way to temporary"   The few days while going over the reported newz of the day, all I am seeing is some aspect of our screwed up world. Literally ...

Recent Facebook Posts

A Long Shadow Creeps over the Economy This Summer

A Long Shadow Creeps over the Economy This Summer– 2017 Economic Forecast is looking like the mother of all storms. It’s time to turn around..

1 hour ago

The Mississippi Is Bringing A Lot More Than Just Water To The Gulf

The Mississippi Is Bringing A Lot More Than Just Water To The Gulf

1 hour ago

Epstein, Jane Doe, and Trump

Epstein, Jane Doe, and Trump– MSNBC calls it the “Epstein Firestorm.” Billionaire philanthropist and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein..

1 hour ago

The Warden Tried to Cover Up a Crisis at His Freezing Brooklyn Jail — Then He Got Promoted

From The Intercept:

1 hour ago

Kellyanne Conway’s Irish Ancestors Were the Enemy When Donald Trump’s Dad Was Arrested at a Klan Riot in 1927

From The Intercept:

1 hour ago

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

Quote from: RE on Today at 09:41:28 AMQuote from: [...]

Quote from: knarf on Today at 09:03:17 AM"It [...]

"It's a long way to temporary"   Th [...]

Diner Newz Feeds
  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Quote from: RE on July 15, 2019, 09:15:07 PMQuote [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily July 17The Diner Daily is av [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on July 14, 2019, 06:38:21 PMQu [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily July 16The Diner Daily is av [...]

Quote from: Ashvin on July 15, 2019, 05:50:26 PMQu [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

Quote from: RE on Today at 09:41:28 AMQuote from: [...]

Quote from: knarf on Today at 09:03:17 AM"It [...]

"It's a long way to temporary"   Th [...]

26 Jun, 2019Whether it was the Big Bang, Midas or [...]

In November 2018, a 66-year-old man named Tommy Th [...]

Dear Readers, Things in Venezuela are getting mess [...]

Quote from: Golden Oxen on April 27, 2019, 01:49:4 [...]

Musings from the Potlatch Parking Lot while cookin [...]

Nice! Cant wait to see the article. [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on July 07, 2019, 01:51:06 PMQu [...]

Quote from: RE on July 07, 2019, 08:30:58 AMQuote [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on June 28, 2019, 05:41:10 PMQu [...]

Alternate Perspectives
  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

Meanderings By Cognitive Dissonance     Tis the Season Silly season is upon us. And I, for one, welc [...]

The Brainwashing of a Nation by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog Image by ElisaRiva from Pixa [...]

A Window Into Our World By Cognitive Dissonance   Every year during the early spring awakening I qui [...]

Deaf, Dumb and Blind Who Is Better at Conceding They Are Wrong - Conservative or Liberal Extremists? [...]

The Apology: From baby boomers to the handicapped generations. by David Holmgren Re-posted from Holm [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-15http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-13http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-12http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-11http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability
  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Good Times Traveled"Water may stain the frescos, earthquakes may close the tunnels, but the temples will survive. [...]

Clash of the Negative Emissions Titans: Cannabis, Meet Biochar"These signs and portents point to a coming Anthropocene that will not be your daddy’s World Wa [...]

The Real Climate Debate"That lump in your throat you feel listening to someone laying down hard truth in a poetic way [...]

Riding the Whale’s Tail"Our biological and cultural blinders are equal in every way to those worn by Material Evangeli [...]

Carbon in the Dale"Rather than put back the coal mines, we should seriously think about putting back the forests. [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Why has it taken so long for the climate movement to accomplish so little? And how can we do better [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Top Commentariats
  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

I know Karl Marx is loathed in the West but maybe he was right about capitalism because it sure look [...]

Right. It is hoping to force people into spending freely in circumstances much more likely to induce [...]

I ran across a report called " Decoupling Debunked: Evidence and arguments against green growth [...]

Doesn't this lead to ever more debt defaults and an ever-shrinking economy? How do energy price [...]

Everyone wants "greener pastures." So people move to where prospects seem to be brighter, [...]

Hi Steve. I recently found what I believe is a little gem, and I'm quite confident you'd a [...]

The Federal Reserve is thinking about capping yields? I don't know how long TPTB can keep this [...]

As some one who has spent years trying to figure out what the limits to growth are. let me say that [...]

Peak oil definitely happened for gods sake. Just because it isn't mad max right now is no indic [...]

@Volvo - KMO says he made some life choices he regrets. Not sure what they were. And I don't th [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction
Useful Links
Technical Journals

Climate change mitigation targets have put pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of cultural herit [...]

In February 2019, central Canada, and especially the province of Saskatchewan, experienced extreme c [...]

Incomplete climate records pose a major challenge to decision makers that utilize climate data as on [...]

Follow on our http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/