AuthorTopic: The Empire of Lies: How we are collapsing in the same way as the Roman Empire did.  (Read 590 times)

Guest

  • Guest


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.




Offline K-Dog

  • Global Moderator
  • Sous Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 3039
    • View Profile
    • K-Dog
It is sort of like being a targeted individual.  Ugo has been 'on the radar' since day one of postmodern collapse awareness.  No doubt Orlov has been nice and never said to Bardi:

You are not important and we will never meet.  I don't have to be nice to you.  <== Dymity O.

Dymity wrote that to me in an email exchange.

What is the parallel to being targeted?  The more well known you are the more likely there will be blow-back so the less likely you are to be be harassed.  It is why I originally got my own place on the net.  If I have a dozen or more people visiting my website a day the chance of my phone working as a phone and not become a son of Satan is a way higher than if I'm just an average Joe taking up space and getting in empire's way.  I don't like it when my phone grows knards.

I like Ugo but he spends a lot of time in Italy.  I'm not sure he really gets what is going on in America.  Ugo suffers from a few minor distortions but it is certainly not his fault.  Living in his world Ugo encounters plenty of refined polished people and that makes his opinion of people shine.  Ugo is shielded from the American asshole.  The worst of whom seem to be second generation Russians.  Not all of them of course!  Some are very nice.  They seem to be of the more intelligent kind who are aware of how pushy they can be.  I think they overcompensate.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 09:14:21 AM by K-Dog »
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 37329
    • View Profile
  Ugo is shielded from the American asshole.  The worst of whom seem to be second generation Russians.

Actually, Dmitri is first-generation.  His family emigrated to the FSoA when he was a teenager.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline K-Dog

  • Global Moderator
  • Sous Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 3039
    • View Profile
    • K-Dog
  Ugo is shielded from the American asshole.  The worst of whom seem to be second generation Russians.

Actually, Dmitri is first-generation.  His family emigrated to the FSoA when he was a teenager.

RE

Immigrants would define that as second generation.  Exceptions being most Russians who would be too aloof to make that fib.

I'll add that one of the nicest down to earth and interesting people I met last year was a woman from Montreal who had emigrated to Canada from Saint Petersburg.

I did not comment on Ugo's Blog about Dmitri but I'll do it here because we both have had dealings with the man.  To comment there would have been rude.

I wish I could have remembered his name.  He was teaching a Junior High Class, an unusual man with a military background.  Vietnam was the news every day.  One day he starts talking about George Orwell.  I was the only one in the class who knew who Orwell was but he told me about the bullet through Orwell's neck and the Spanish Civil War for the first time.

Then my teacher starts talking about how much better the Soviet Union is about enduring hardship.  He explains how everybody In the USSR gardens and feeds themselves.  I was in school and I'm older than Orlov.  He explains how the Russians survived WWII and said if we ever got into a war with the Russians we would be toast.  No other adult was around for him to worry about and he'd not have cared if they were.  He was old and distinguished and could say what he wanted.  Dimitri wrote it down years later but Dimitri did not think it up.  George Orwell fanboys knew the whole US/USSR hardship survivability comparison thing.  I became one.  Perhaps my teacher spent some time in New York too.  He knew everything in Dimity's book before the book was written.  My teacher had a thing about wanting us to know about how much more resilient Russia is than America.

But I left what Ugo typed alone.  It would have been rude to differ with Ugo about this.

Quote
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

My teacher even went on about how vulnerable America had become because we were totally dependent on a fleet of diesel trucks that had to keep moving or we would starve.  He said an interruption in the oil supply would be the end of us.

I was a pup!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 09:23:23 PM by K-Dog »
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 37329
    • View Profile
I did not comment on Ugo's Blog about Dmitri but I'll do here because we both have had dealings with the man.  To comment there would have been rude.

Ugo is quite aware I have a LOW, LOW opinion of Dmitri. lol.  The email chain we had going after I ran the Human Extinction Survey was an exercise in oversize egos all trashing each other.  Besides me & Ugo, Dmitri was in there, Kunstler and Dr. McStinksion too!.  It ran a few 100 emails over about a month.  One of these days maybe I will publish it.  Hilarious.  :icon_mrgreen:

RE
Save As Many As You Can

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
6 Replies
6012 Views
Last post October 11, 2013, 06:10:58 AM
by g
The Empire of Lies

Started by Guest Geopolitics

0 Replies
340 Views
Last post February 09, 2016, 03:06:59 PM
by Guest
1 Replies
605 Views
Last post February 19, 2016, 07:22:03 AM
by MKing