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The Rise And Fall Of Great Powers

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The very attempt to reform an unstable, diminishing-return system often precipitates its collapse.

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers  

Our collective interest in the rise and fall of empires is not academic. The meteoric rise of China and the financialization rotting out global capitalism are just two developments that suggest we are entering an era where some great powers will collapse, others will remake themselves and others will gain ascendancy.

In How Empires Fall (April 17, 2013), I discussed Adrian Goldsworthy's How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower and an old favorite on the same topic, Michael Grant's excellent The Fall of the Roman Empire.

Paul Kennedy's influential book from 1987, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, seeks generalizations about what causes the rise and decline of great powers, be they empires or nation-states.

Kennedy avoids the temptation to extract grand theories from history, quietly mocking Wallersteins's "world systems" and related analyses. In this he follows fellow historian Fernand Braudel, who also hesitated to draw overarching theories from the messy history of capitalism.

Kennedy proposes one mechanism that he claims does hold true over time: it's not the absolute wealth and power of any one nation or empire that matters, it's the economic growth rate of competitors and its wealth and power relative to theirs that matter. A nation whose economic base is growing at a lower rate than a competitor slowly become relatively weaker than its rival, even though its absolute wealth is still increasing.

He also notes a tendency for powers in relative decline (i.e. those growing less robustly than their neighbors/rivals) to spend more on military security as their position in the pecking order weakens. This diversion of national surplus to military spending further saps their economic vitality as funds are shifted from investment to unproductive military spending. This creates a feedback loop as lower investment weakens their economic base which then causes the leadership to respond to this weakening power with more military spending.

This feedback creates lags, where an economically weakening power may actually increase its military power, until the overtaxed economy implodes under the weight of the high military spending.

This dynamic certainly seems visible in the history of the Soviet Union, which at the time of this book's publication in 1987 was unanimously considered an enduring superpower with a military that many believed could conquer Western Europe with its conventional forces.

This debate over the relative superiority of Soviet arms now seems quaint in the light of the collapse of the USSR a mere four years later, but it worth recalling that one of the most influential defense-doctrine books of the early 1980s was The The Third World War: August 1985 a novel by Sir John Hackett, about a fictional Soviet attack on Western Europe in 1985.

It was widely recognized by the late 1980s that the Soviets' relative power was in decline compared to the U.S., as the U.S. had worked its way through the malaise and restructuring of the 1970s and re-entered an era of strong economic and technological growth in the 1980s, rapidly outpacing the sclerotic Soviet economy.

It's also worth recalling the truly dismal status of the Soviet and Eastern Bloc economies compared to the Western economies: common inexpensive consumer items such as kitchen toasters were rare luxuries. In other words, while the Soviet economy was probably still expanding in the 1980s, the rate and quality of its expansion was considerably less than the growth of the West.

If one economy grows by 1% a year and another grows by 5% a year, in a mere decade the faster-growth economy will have expanded by more than 62%, while its slower-growing rival's economy grew only 10.5%.

Many observers (especially on the Left, where suspicion of military spending is never far below the surface) see the U.S. as following this same path to decline and fall, as post-9/11 defense spending has skyrocketed while growth has stagnated. Despite what I see as wasteful spending on overlapping intelligence agencies and insanely costly programs like the F-35 fighter, U.S. defense spending remains around 5% of GDP (Pentagon/National Security budget is around $690 billion, GDP is around $15 trillion).

Though statistics from the Soviet era are not entirely reliable, various scholars have estimated that fully 40% of the Soviet GDP was being expended on its military and military-industrial complex.

During the height of the Reagan buildup, the U.S. was spending about 6% of its GDP on direct military expenditures. If you include the Security State (CIA, NSA, et al.), the Veterans Administration and other military-related programs (DARPA, etc.), the cost was still less than 10% of GDP.

How about America's position relative to other Great Powers or alliances? Interestingly, America's decline has been noted (and predicted) since the 1970s. Other nations such as Japan were growing much faster and were expected to overtake the U.S., based on the extrapolation of high growth rates into the future.

Once again the same predictions are being made, only this time it is China that is logging high annual growth rates that are being projected far into the future. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Kennedy ends his book with a brief chapter looking ahead from 1987. He is careful not to make any outright predictions, but it is fair to say that he completely missed the bursting of Japan's miraculous high growth economy and the implosion of the Soviet Union a mere four years later in 1991. With the benefit of hindsight, we can discern the dynamics that led to these abrupt declines of relative power. But at the time, Japan's economy was universally regarded as superior to the U.S. economy and the USSR was widely viewed as a permanent superpower rival to the U.S.

How can we be so wrong about projecting present trends when we have so much data at our disposal? Why can't we identify the trends that end up mattering? Reading political-economic history books written a few decades ago reinforces our humility: we cannot predict the future, except to say that projecting present trends leads to false predictions.

Virtually no one in 1987 foresaw the limited Internet of the time exploding into a globally dominant technology, yet a mere decade later the web browser, cheaper memory, faster processors and broadband cable and DSL launched a digital revolution.

In 1987, pundits were predicting that Japan's "5th generation" computing would soon dominate what was left of America's technological edge. They were spectacularly wrong, as the 5th generation fizzled and Japan became an also-ran in web technology, a position it still holds despite its many global electronic corporations and vast university research system.

Japan's modern economy was set up in the late 1940s and early 1950s to exploit the world of that time. Sixty years later, Japan is still a wealthy nation, but its relative wealth and power have declined for 20 years, as its political-financial power structure clings to a model that worked splendidly for 40 years but has not worked effectively for 20 years.

The decline is not just the result of debt and political sclerosis; Japan's vaunted electronics industry has been superseded by rivals in the U.S. and Korea. It is astonishing that there are virtually no Japanese brand smart phones with global sales, and only marginal Japanese-brand sales in the PC/notebook/tablet markets.

The key dynamic here is once the low-hanging fruit have all been plucked, it becomes much more difficult to achieve high growth rates. That cycle is speeding up, it seems; western nations took 100 years to rapidly industrialize and then slip into failed models of stagnation; Japan took only 40 years to cycle through to stagnation, and now China has picked the low-hanging fruit and reverted to financialization, diminishing returns and rapidly rising debt after a mere 30 years of rapid growth.

There is certainly evidence that China's leadership knows deep reform is necessary but the incentives to take that risk are low. Perhaps that is a key dynamic in this cycle of rapid growth leading to stagnation: the leadership, like everyone else, cannot quite believe the model no longer works. There are huge risks to reform, while staying the course seems to offer the hope of a renewal of past growth rates. But alas, the low hanging fruit have all been picked long ago, and as a result the leadership pursues the apparently lower-risk strategy that I call "doing more of what has failed spectacularly."

Though none of the historians listed above mention it, there is another dangerous dynamic in any systemic reform: the very attempt to reform an unstable, diminishing-return system often precipitates its collapse. The leadership recognizes the need for systemic reform, but changing anything causes the house of cards to collapse in a heap. This seems to describe the endgame in the USSR, where Gorbachev's relatively modest reforms unraveled the entire empire.

Director Michael Apted has been filming a remarkable series of documentaries following the lives of 14 English people since the age of 7: The Up Series (Wikipedia) is a series of documentary films produced by Granada Television that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964.(The titles: 7 Up, 14 Up, and so on, the latest being 56 Up.) The Up Series, eight films (Seven Up - 56 Up)

We expect those children with few advantages in life (i.e. lower-class) to do less well than those with many advantages, and this linear expectation is fulfilled in some cases. (This is the expectation of the working-class children themselves.)

But in most cases, the individuals' lives are entirely non-linear: some decades they do less well, in others they do much better, and the dynamics that arise and dominate each stretch of their lives are not very predictable.

This series reinforces our humility about predicting the life paths of individuals.

So is there a unifying theme here? I would say yes, and it is embodied in this quote from Charles Darwin, co-founder of our understanding of natural selection and evolution: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change."


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Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:28 | 3706046 mikla
mikla's picture

The article fails to mention the biggest issue:  The people in charge are morons.

Seriously, they are absolute idiots.  Any solution they propose would be insanely stupid, and if not, they are not competant enough to execute the simplest of plans.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:30 | 3706053 Midasking
Midasking's picture

The system is working great for the people in charge... maybe they aren't morons but crooks!

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:37 | 3706062 mikla
mikla's picture

Agreed that they are crooks.  However, my point was something along the lines of:

Never before in the History of the World with the most inbred six-fingered Monarchs have we had such a stupid collection of "Life's Losers" be in charge of society.  They know absolutely nothing about anything, with no experience, and demonstrate no competence on any topic.

Yes, they are merely organized crime.  However, past crime lords actually had competence and understanding at some level.

I find it amazing any peoples anywhere listen to these "people in charge" about any topic whatsoever.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:47 | 3706146 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

"Many observers (especially on the Left, where suspicion of military spending is never far below the surface) see the U.S. as following this same path to decline and fall, as post-9/11 defense spending has skyrocketed while growth has stagnated."

The lefties were concerned about military spending when Bush was in office.  Now they could care less too.  Military spending is A-OK under Obama.  In fact, everything that they hated Bush for, is A-OK under Obama.  Patriot Act, NDAA, drones, name it.  If they hated Bush for it, they LOVE Obama for it.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:29 | 3706204 markmotive
markmotive's picture
On the way up many benefit from the rising tide, but as the peak approaches the disparities between rich and poor grow as the wealthy seek to fortify their power. As the empire overexpands, limits to resources per capita means that distribution must change for the wealthy to maintain their living standards. For this reason, even a slow decline or long plateau can still cause massive pain and suffering.


Documentary about the Plunder, Hypocrisy and Violence of Empire: The Power Principle

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:41 | 3706218 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

Meanwhile in South Africa:


Sat, 06/29/2013 - 15:11 | 3706253 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Looks like a nice documentary set, thanks for the link.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 21:46 | 3706885 espirit
espirit's picture

"Though none of the historians listed above mention it, there is another dangerous dynamic in any systemic reform: the very attempt to reform an unstable, diminishing-return system often precipitates its collapse."

CHS - Normally I follow your line of thinking and concur with your analysis, but find it difficult to decypher the above quote with any real meaning.  By this, do you assume that there is a real attempt at reforming such a flawed system?  I believe hypothetically there is/was a conscience effort to get where we are today, and am not convinced reform is what's coming next, but do understand sunk costs effects and and their relationships to societal collapse.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:26 | 3706125 rejected
rejected's picture

Their stealing our money,,, our lifestyle,,, our heritage and our means of support. Our freedom,,, our liberty and our privacy.  Our sons,,, our daughters and our family.


Not bad for a bunch of "losers" dabbling in organized crime........  Wonder what that makes us...



Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:35 | 3706136 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

only because you thought it was yours to begin with.  these "losers" share the same genes (granted just barely) as the egyptian nobility.  freud was killed because he revealed the connection between akhenatan and rothschild.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:33 | 3706208 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

From another writer on Roman history:

Society, at least in Rome, was beginning to become
fossilised. The hierarchy, still fluid in the centre, was growing
petrified toward the summit. The regular inflow which should
have continuously renewed it gave way too often before acci-
dental pressure and unexpected shocks. Slowed down and diverted
from their course, the equalitarian currents tended to exaggerate
essential inequalities. The democratic order tottered with the
wavering of the middle classes, who had been its firm founda-
tion; it was crushed under the double weight of the masses,
from whom a crazed economic system had stolen all hope of
normal betterment, and of a corrupt bureaucracy which aggra-
vated the absolutism of the monarch whose fabulous wealth it
commanded and translated into acts of arbitrary omnipotence.
Thus the brilliance of the Urbs of the second century was al-
ready shrouded in the shadows which under the later empire
spread from Rome over the rest of the known world, and Rome
lacked the courage to shake herself free of the sinister gloom
that thickened round her. To struggle with success against the
evils of their day, societies have need to believe in their own
future. But Roman society, cheated of its hopes of gradual and
equitable progress, obsessed alternately by its own stagnation
and by its instability, began to doubt itself just at the time when
the conscious unity of its established families was cracked and

Carcopino's "Daily Life In Ancient Rome"


Sat, 06/29/2013 - 15:14 | 3706257 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

But this is *insert country*. We can't fail, we're AWESOME.

And our 'future music' (deprived of all musical qualities) gets the bitchez rubbin all up in yer junk, holla knawmsayin.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 19:52 | 3706686 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

Go, Urbs!

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:37 | 3706068 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Well rewarded crooks... if Clinton can book $100 million Obama could be the first to rake in $1 billion...


Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:01 | 3706094 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

The surest sign of a degenerate society is when entering politics becomes the simplest and most direct way of accumulating tremendous wealth.

The parasites are overcoming the host.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 17:45 | 3706454 sschu
sschu's picture

accumulating tremendous wealth

I hope you caught the Friday interview with Hugh Hewitt and Dr Larry Arnn, the topic was just as you state. Arnn is a pretty well read guy and he defines it all very accurately, we have essentially become subjects (no longer citizens) who are led by a tyrannical oligarchy.

The question now becomes, how can we overcome what our government has become and where in the past has this ended in anyway peacefully?

The answers to both are troubling.



Sat, 06/29/2013 - 22:42 | 3706996 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

The surest sign of a degenerate society in my opinion homosexuality.


When men are looking for women batter than themselves and women are looking for men batter than them self, weaker member of the society are left outside the ball park, will go homo.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 17:25 | 3706425 Kiwi Pete
Kiwi Pete's picture

Making money from public speaking tours is not a crime. If he's made $100mil from that then good on him.

According to the article he left public office with a net worth of less than a million dollars. Given the wealth that real poitical crooks leave office with I'd say he was an example of an honest politician.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:04 | 3706714 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

True. Lyndon Johnson was a government employee all his life and he died with an estate of $5 million. (this was back in the day before the big inflation, folks.)

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 21:52 | 3706893 espirit
espirit's picture

Nothing to do with wifey = DoS = CIA?

Uh, okay...

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 15:49 | 3706280 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Maybe the people in charge are moronic crooks. That accounts for both the stupidity of their strategies as well as their profiting.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 17:06 | 3706389 Go Tribe
Go Tribe's picture

Yep. In this government, anyone can make money.

Sun, 06/30/2013 - 10:11 | 3707540 whoisjohngalt11
whoisjohngalt11's picture

The fact anyone allows the system to control them is the problem,LACK OF FREEDOM is the problem , where in men give up and quit trying to excel..

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:32 | 3706054 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

But how can that be?... I mean after all 2 of the last 3 Presidential power couples were both lawyers... and Harvard/Oxford lawyers are smart as whips... so if they are not morons what are they then?

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:45 | 3706081 Sofa King
Sofa King's picture

I believe the word you are looking for is Psycopaths.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:46 | 3706147 mjcOH1
mjcOH1's picture

No.  Psychopaths get locked up.   Sociopaths get elected.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:29 | 3706762 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Sociopaths are psychopaths that make the rules.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 21:56 | 3706900 espirit
espirit's picture

Sociopathic Psychopaths?

Normal as the sky is blue... wait, it is blue in the Matrix - isn't it?

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:34 | 3706058 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

That all depends on who you think is in charge. The puppets ( Obama, Merkel, Abe, et al) are useful idiots. The puppet masters are actually quite shrewd.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:44 | 3706079 mikla
mikla's picture

Totally agree there too.  These "elected-leaders" that keep making headlines are middle-management.  They might be "useful idiots" (and they are at some level), but putting Homer Simpson at the controls of the Nuclear Reactor doesn't guarantee that he's competent enough to follow your very basic instructions.


Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:48 | 3706084 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

The top cop is probably never seen.

Philip K. Dick

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:37 | 3706065 mofreedom
mofreedom's picture

idiots need the power of the gun and the dependancy of the sloths to survive.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:50 | 3706230 Village-idiot
Village-idiot's picture

They aren't morons; they're puppets obeying instructions.

Why do they do it?

For financial gain.

For position and power.

To protect their own lives and the lives of their families.

They know that the alternative is to be down in the $h!t with the commoners.

Remember the biblical warning about gaining the whole world but losing your immortal soul.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 21:58 | 3706906 espirit
espirit's picture

For fear of a painfull and gruesome death.

Sun, 06/30/2013 - 07:59 | 3707394 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

The recent interviews of NSA whistleblower Tice by Sibel Edmonds suggest that the middle manager politicians, judges, etc.  are sleaze bags who are selected for that very reason. They are corruptible and can be easily blackmailed.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:34 | 3706047 toady
toady's picture

Interesting. I didn't think to count out the number of years between beginning to rise and fall.

Focusing on military build up & spending doesn't really work for me. The true timing of the beginning of the fall is when you first hear the words 'finance', 'finacialization', or 'big bank'.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:50 | 3706229 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Another quote from Carcopino's "Daily Life In Ancient Rome" (see above):

"Rome's political supremacy, her gigantic urban development, condemned her to display intense and unremitting activity not only in speculation and trade but in varied manufactures and productive work. Let us reflect that all the roads of Italy led to Rome, and all the lines of Mediterranean navigation, and that Rome, Queen of the World, attracted the best of the earth's products. She arrogated to herself the financing and direction of the world's activities and claimed the right to consume the world's riches. It is obvious that she had to toil unceasingly after her fashion to maintain this dominion."   -- p. 174

What's old is new again...

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:16 | 3706244 scrappy
scrappy's picture

So true.






Healthcare, ag, and the worst MIC boondoggles to start our restructuring.


Of course that takes responsible adults, not what we have now.


Then there's that pesky TBTF and crap monetary system, corporate "personhood" only when it suites them, money as "speech", and No Rule of Law.



Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:28 | 3706049 meghaljani
meghaljani's picture

All these nations ended up with zero growth after they accepted income redistribution as their way to go ahead. All of them grew as long as they had capitalistic model. Their growth stopped after they engaged in inflationary credit expansion. There is no mystery here. Big government kills growth. 

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:28 | 3706128 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Can't call something an Empire until it has an Empire sized government after all.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:38 | 3706773 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Government destroys everything it touches because amplifies the worst elements in those things.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:28 | 3706050 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

There is a more complex perspective, arguing that the US essentially did go broke circa 1971, but was able to use  several artificial tricks to keep the game going a few more decades

And also that it was the US which destroyed Japan's power in the 1980s, via a criminal scheme targeting Japan's economic strength

Since the 1970s, the USA has used several devious but major tricks to keep an increasingly sclerotic and zombified US economy alive and with the temporary appearance of 'booming' -



Reserve Currency Privilege

Global Debt Ponzi centred in Wall Street

And in 1985, the US via its miliary diktat, forced Japan against its will to agree to the Plaza Accord, re-valuing Japan's currency against Japanese wishes ... causing the subsequent few years of bubble and trade imbalances,  and then the Japanese 1990 mega-crash from which it is still recovering ... Japan's hurt was another prop for the US 'least dirty shirt' plan

The same Plaza Accord greatly harmed Germany as well, which was hurting thru the 90s but then was able to get rich via its own devious scheme with the fixing of European currencies and then the euro, leeching off of other European countries

All these schemes of America, and the German-euro scheme as well, are coming to an end, not too long from now I think

Dr Jim Willie is likely correct ... the grand American mother of all Ponzis is nearing the final act

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:26 | 3706126 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

Yeah, but just about everyone in the world is broke. That isn't our problem.  Our problem is the high cost of doing business in the USA which drives manufacturing to places like China and Pakistan - and these high costs are driven by regulatory burdens and the enormous constituency of no-growthers (mostly Democrats) who are killing growth politically every way they can. 

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:37 | 3706214 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

You are addressing one of the symptoms, not the basic disease.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 15:23 | 3706265 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

The fundamental fallacy of western medicine, to make all them nasty symptoms go away temporarily, never bothering to address or treat the root cause. That's the 21st century way of life.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:06 | 3706717 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

... overpopulation? 

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 17:36 | 3706442 Kiwi Pete
Kiwi Pete's picture

I will stick my neck out here and make a prediction. Never write off America. If flexibility is the hallmark of a succesful empire then they will stay top dog. No other major power will out inovate them, despite their flaws.

Japan will continue it's slide into irrelevence. China will go the same way as Japan. Europe has hobbled itself with the Euro straightjacket. Germany has the Euro millstone around its neck.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 19:03 | 3706598 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

We don't need any innovation. We need rational thinking and analysis; adherence to reality; and very large changes in virtually every assumption and government activity that exists today. The government; bought and paid for by the Corporate Overlords, is the problem. Functional Bankruptcy and devaluation of the currency makes you top rat on a garbage heap. It won't do you any good.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:50 | 3706794 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

What's needed is voluntary interaction not coercion.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 18:57 | 3706585 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

Agreed. A series of acts of desperation since about 1974; that can be traced by research. And the entry into "Bubbleomics" in 1998 or so; is the real beginning of the end; or the declaration that there is no sustainable future for the system.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:15 | 3706733 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

Just coincidentally, I'm sure, right around 1971 the US went from being a net exporter of crude oil and petrochemicals, to a net importer. 

Now the global production rate is entering decline. Highlighted by the desperation of the industry to extract increasingly marginal sources. 

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:30 | 3706051 hivekiller
hivekiller's picture

I think various writers and pundits have noted that the big reason Rome fell was because its govt. acted like Medieval doctors. They bled the population of taxes to the point where people gave up and stopped producing. Same with the USSR. The communist leadership bled the society of its will to produce and killed off those who actually created or made something of value. Remember the 20 to 60 million Russians the Jews murdered? Even parasites die without a host. By the way, Stalin was a Rothchild employee.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:42 | 3706075 mofreedom
mofreedom's picture

i think he just cleaned the johns at one of his oil refineries...then blew it up.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:15 | 3706114 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

The USSR's primary problem was their inability to feed themselves. This caused a balance of payments problem and a massive vulnerability. But instead of reforming Agriculture, Gorbachev "reformed" the political structure.  The medicine was not directed at the real ailment, but instead was a stealth way of undermining the Communist Party's levers of power, and leaving an empty shell that had to collapse. It seems to me that Gorby deliberately ended the USSR in the most expeditious and non-violent way he could. He had to know what he was doing. There is no way he didn't know. He drove a stake right into the heart of the beast.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:15 | 3706191 hivekiller
hivekiller's picture

They couldn't feed themselves after they murdered all those Ukranians and tried to collectivize (i.e. Kibbutz) all the farmland. They confiscated all their food and shot all the local animals to starve people to death. Read the Black Book of Communism. Communism was never anything other than genocide with wrap around dogma. If you want to mind fuck people at the same time you kill them, call in the jews.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:41 | 3706217 Village-idiot
Village-idiot's picture

I agreed with all you said until you brought in the Jews.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:00 | 3706706 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

And the collectivized farms got worse and worse as time went on. By the 1970s, they were in very deep doo doo. The USSR could have emulated China and reformed agriculture. But they did not. The Chinese ditched the Stalin model of collectivized farms after only a few decades of bad performance. But the Soviets held on to their failed model for their entire 7 decades.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:33 | 3706135 smartstrike
smartstrike's picture

And you learned your history in the Hitler bunker?

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:47 | 3706149 hivekiller
hivekiller's picture

No I read. Where do you get your information, from the knee of your local rabbi in between giving him blow jobs?


In his book Young Stalin, Sebag-Monterfiore gives numerous details of how in 1901 the Rothschilds employed Stalin in their oil refinery in Batumi, how there is evidence he "was henceforth in secret contact with the Rothschilds mangagement - the start of his murky but lucrative relationship with the oil barons", and how the Rothschilds financed the Bolsheviks.

 Sebag-Monterfiore is himself related, although fairly distantly, to the Rothschild family. He and Nathaniel Philip Rothschild are both great-great-great-great-great grandsons of Levi Barent-Cohen, the great-great uncle of Karl Marx.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:16 | 3706307 smartstrike
smartstrike's picture

Yes you read what, Mein Kampf and the fabricated history of the Soviet Union? My father comes from the Ukraine so I don't need your nazi propaganda to tell me the real history! He actually joined the partisans and later the Soviet Army to fright the inhuman animals.

I get sick of the moronic Ukrainian and Russian youth glorifying the German Hitlerrites with their genocidal polices and sub-human indoctrination of all Eastern Europeans. You are the animal, the whole world looks at you: devil.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 19:34 | 3706650 hivekiller
hivekiller's picture

Did I touch a nerve Jewboy? Or are you just another NSA/Mossad/take your pick troll? Who cares what you think asshole. Go back to your porn and wacking off.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 23:03 | 3707038 smartstrike
smartstrike's picture

Watch your language monkey.

Sun, 06/30/2013 - 08:36 | 3707426 hivekiller
hivekiller's picture

Kiss my ass.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:10 | 3706727 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Did you see his nametag?

Redshield Employee of the Month?


Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:30 | 3706052 Rustysilver
Rustysilver's picture

Gorbachev thought that if he did some minor changes the system would survive. He knew that the system would implode if he did not do anything.

Gorbachev and others in the Soviet Union attribute the quick collapse to Chernobyl disaster.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:43 | 3706106 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

Bullshit. Gorbachev talked a good game, but he knew what he was doing. He "reformed" the key levers of power that held the empire together.  He deliberately destroyed the USSR, just as Obama is deliberately destroying the USA with ObamaCare and his "global warming" crusade.

The USSR could have survived if Gorbachev had reformed the right things - primarily Agriculture. Instead, he undermined the foundations of the system. The USA is built upon the foundations of Capitalism, Christianity, and Manifest Destiny. Obama (and his party) are deliberately undermining the foundations of the USA.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 22:49 | 3707015 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

Nether Gorbachev destroyed USSR nor Obama is destroying USA. both fell and are falling of of their miltery spending. And so did all the previous super powers.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:35 | 3706060 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture



Awesome reference to the Darwin Finches – did you guys / gals catch that.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:41 | 3706072 Xibalba
Xibalba's picture

There's a solution...a Jewish all of this ya know

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:46 | 3706082 Inthemix96
Inthemix96's picture

I'm going to interject here a touch,

The fall of the House Of Windsor will do me just fine, and wake up a damn sight more folk over here than I could ever imagine.

Just believe this in these times of austere austerity, this one house hold of dole wallers will recieve an inflation busting £5 million quid pay rise this year, while the average 'Subject', will be further hit by not just inflation costs, but a drop in real time buying power through no wage increase.

Taking 'Her' pay rise on its own to £38 million a year, despite having some (according to reports £3.5 Billion in savings), and then some.  Take her big eared prick of a son, and his two sons ehm, you know what I mean, the married one, the one moving in with his pregnant wife into an 'Apartment', you know an appartment you or I would live in may have one or two bedrooms, and minimal living space, not the ones these two free loading cunts are moving into though, nowt as dawdry for them.

A whopping 57 fucking bedroom appartment is what these two cunts will call home, all on my and others expense.  You see where I'm coming from here?  Its beyond absurd.  The average bloke right now who may lose his job through no fault of his own will be able to recieve £53 per week.  No matter what he paid into the system, for no matter how long.  You see now where I'm coming from?

And this other family of fucking inbred, parasitical cockroaches can claim as much as they like from the public purse, while the 'Subjects' make do and mend on a fucking pittance.  You see the dillema facing us today?

Is one family better than another?  Certainly not this bunch of fucking, nazi cunts (look it up).

In my book we are all equal, all of us, but not this lot, I live to see the day when this fucking shit house of a bunch of bastards is eradicated.

You see what a few hundred years of bullshit can create?  A living myth, a dream or belief that one man, just through birth can be greater or better than the next.  Its not just a lie and untrue, it gives them that least deserve it a foothold on the ladder of supremacy, the handle of untold power.

Well it did.  The interwebs as we know it is unraveling this untruth as quick as these fuckers can pull out the propaganda.

The House Of Winsor will fall.  It will fall in my lifetime, same as the rest of this bullshit, including the western economies.  Its all coming down.  I give it 18 months tops. 2 years at a push.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:07 | 3706105 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Sounds like Moochelle Obama would fit right in.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:36 | 3706213 Village-idiot
Village-idiot's picture

If she can get rear-end through the door.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:28 | 3706131 reload
reload's picture

Well reasoned and correct, I share your disbelief at the inequality, and the arrogance of the Royals believing the country owes them a pay rise while most of the population are genuinely hurting. They are spending £1M on a refurbish of the apartment you mentioned, or 20k odd per room!

But despite this the British public adore the Royals. Remember last summer...the jubilee. It was amazing, London was packed with genuine well wishers. It was no rent a crowd. Either they are sentimental and brainwashed or they recognize that the alternative would be worse. Imagine if we had President Blair instead, or President Mandelson? That really would be fucking intolerable.

The queen costs each Brit 53p per year, I can not be bothered to get angry about it. Far worse are the corporate overlords who are paid thousands of times more than their workforces. Who are not even on the same team as their workforces in that they are rewarded for off shoring jobs, holding down wages and avoiding corporate taxes. The very taxes upon which the workforce depend upon for eduction and health etc.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:37 | 3706139 smartstrike
smartstrike's picture

Once in a while one comes across an 'awesome' post on zH, this is one.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:41 | 3706142 Inthemix96
Inthemix96's picture

I'm not angry reload.

I'm never angry.  These parasites will go the same way as all parasites do, but they will go a little quicker thanks to the interwebs.

This whole game is coming to an end, the lot of it.  The western world as we know it.

Lets see who the police decide to side with should it get real bad.

And I'm no sage on these things, but it will come down to self preservation mate.

The Saxe Coburns are a done deal, history says so.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:34 | 3706205 Village-idiot
Village-idiot's picture

When TSHTF the police, military and any other violent offshoot of government, at first, will side with whoever is paying them. They'll be thinking about their paychecks and pension plans, benefits (such as food) etc. Of course, this is ridiculous thinking as the whole system, when it finally collapses, will not be paying anyone anything. Then the police and military will finally see what's really important; their own families and friends.

If an open war is declared on the populace then all kith and kin of the police and military will become "fair game". "If you can kill my wife and children; then I can kill yours." Then we'll see how the elite handle a protracted war of attrition. There are simply too many of us and too few of them despite all of their machinations to reduce the population of trouble-makers.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 17:38 | 3706446 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Go long autogyros and leather chaps.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 17:54 | 3706476 knukles
knukles's picture

You from SanFran?

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 15:56 | 3706285 BurningFuld
BurningFuld's picture

You are underestimating your Royalty. What they are is a hugh tourist attraction, nothing more, nothing less. You got to run them like the zoo attraction they are dude. Don't screw that up.

Trying to make you feel better.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:52 | 3706157 PiratePawpaw
PiratePawpaw's picture

Only now do you see why we revolted 200yrs ago.

If only you would do the same and institute some form of royalty elected by the masses, it would be more better....betterer?......betterest.

/s for the s-impaired

Sun, 06/30/2013 - 08:46 | 3707425 HardAssets
HardAssets's picture

Perhaps, one day, humanity will outgrow their need for kings, queens, presidents, and holy gurus. Perhaps people will have the same kind of attitude that was seen at the time of the American founders in the 1770s. They saw themselves as coming together at times for a  common purpose . . . but remaining independent, and free men & women.

People haven't learned how to think, much less think independently - - for a very long time. Parroting the propaganda they hear on television or in the public 'schools', is not thinking.

Why would a people pay mlliions of pounds of their hard earned money to support a group of so called 'monarchs' ?   Why would a people allow some lawyer from Chicago to dictate how they and their families live their lives ?

When people decide to stop remaining childish forever . . . then the world will change for the better. When people choose to stop waiting to get permission/protection/approval  from "Mommy" and "Daddy" (in whatever form) - - - humanity will have grown up and be ready to take Freedom into their own hands.

What the banksters and politician/con men can't stand - is being ridiculed and being ignored. That signals that people are beginning to wake up and see through the magicians tricks. Very young children think its really 'magic'.  Adults see that its an illusion and only works if they go along with it.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:16 | 3706308 hivekiller
hivekiller's picture

Yeah I loved it when Kate and Will visited the US. No doubt Will whispered in her ear, "another part of our holdings, dear. Wave to the commoners."

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 19:09 | 3706610 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

You think that's something you ought to try a corporate oligarchy like we have with a retarded shoe shine boy for a mouthpiece.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:18 | 3706744 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Well, Ollie straightened that shit out for ya, but you went right back to the Monarchy, so what are we to think?

Maybe if you switch em out with someone else they could add a little class to the joint.

Got any Germans stashed away over there that aren't mental defectives?

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:53 | 3706087 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Mark Antony:  "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him."

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3 Scene 2.

So many "honorable" people in Washington D.C. and on Wall Street; it explains the decline of the U.S.

We still have a lot of resources and truly good people, but are being parasitized from within by greedy mammon-lusters and opportunists.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:05 | 3706100 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Caesar, crossing the Rubicon: "alea iacta est"

What he meant: "I come not praise Rome, but to bury her"

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:59 | 3706162 PiratePawpaw
PiratePawpaw's picture

"Si vis pacem para bellum"

edit: and yes, the die has already been cast. We are just waiting as the game plays out.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 12:57 | 3706091 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

"(especially on the Left, where suspicion of military spending is never far below the surface)"

Charles still showing his Blue Team bias. It's called 'kinetic humanitarian action' now, Charles, and the hyopcritic Left (redundant) is absolutely in love with it. Haven't you heard about Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and soon enough, Iran?

The Left is every bit as nauseatingly pro-Zion, pro-war, and pro-petrodollar as the Right.


The rest of the post was not bad, nothing that should come as news to most of us, but not bad.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:51 | 3706153 smartstrike
smartstrike's picture

This is simply nonsense. The reason why so many left leaning Jews became neo-cons is because the LEFT has became enamored with the Palestinians and Arab Islamic New religion which is an anathema to any true LIBERAL and humanist.



Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:16 | 3706194 Village-idiot
Village-idiot's picture

Stats show that the majority of Jews in N.Y.C. are Democrats. God knows why, but they are.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:18 | 3706312 hivekiller
hivekiller's picture

Jews fund the democratic party. They also founded the communist party. Take it from there.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:00 | 3706092 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

Military spending isn't crushing the USA - it is actually declining as a % of GDP. No, it is health care that is crushing the USA, and Obamacare will accelerate the decline. That is after all, the intent of Obamacare. Obama is our Gorbachev, and his mission is to destroy the USA just as Gorby destroyed the USSR by "reforming" that which cannot be reformed. I said this back in 2009, and I am now more convinced that I am right than ever.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:11 | 3706186 Village-idiot
Village-idiot's picture

It's caused by anyone who produces nothing (do not work) taking that which was produced by someone who does produce (they do work). Government confiscation (theft) by inflation, inheritance taxes, etc. In other words, too many people taking out of the pot and too few putting into the pot.

All of these things, and more, are destroying the economy.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 19:53 | 3706688 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

Nothing produces an excess of people taking from the pot faster than guaranteed healthcare. The demand for care is effectively unlimited and the supply is finite.  Eventually, healthcare/sickcare consumes everything.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:09 | 3706095 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

After reading that muck twice through the only conclusion I can draw is that reform is bad and leads to untimely collapse. Oh, and that the author, an adherent of relative growth theorem, loves repeatedly using the phrase "low hanging fruit" out of context. I refuse to read any more of his blather, it is wholly unedifying and worthless.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:13 | 3706110 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

How can reform be bad when it doesn't even exist?

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:23 | 3706324 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

oh yeah, and something or other about birds too.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 17:46 | 3706457 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

I don't think that's his point.  His point seems to be that we've woven such a tangled web that trying to solve the problems that have led us toward catastrophe will only make the catastrophe happen sooner.  Call it the baby boomer's booby trap.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 19:23 | 3706632 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

It has and had, nothing to do with baby boomers; you don't know what you're talking about. Nixon responded to a shortage in buying power to finance the lovely little military adventure in Vietnam and pay the bills for the Johnson Welfare scams at the same time, by devlauing the currency. Ever since then we've been in a semi-permanent state of financial crisis; we entered into full time bubbleomics in around 1998. All this draining of wealth was greatly expanded by the granting of most favored nation status to China; so that the Corporate chieftains who had paid off both Nixon and Clinton could manufacture with slave labour and sell in dollars; their life long wet dream come true. Clinton signed the congressional act granting the most favored nation status. Without cutting off China; we cannot survive. That means; no more ships. arrive, nothing; nada. The reason Obamma is working on forgiveness for the 13 million illegal immigrants is, on orders from his masters, so that you will never have any chance of a wage raise. It's all very simple. There's nothing tangled about it. I could fix this country in 90 days; but I'd have to be Dictator to do it. the actual repair process would take a couple of years; but all the necessary changes could be made very quickly.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:06 | 3706104 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

To all the fucknuts monitoring everything to retain your control of power. Did you forget about this?

transcript of tapes I-III



Let’s review current affairs:


 And the first consideration then here was contraception. Contraception would be very strongly encouraged, and it would be connected so closely in people's minds with sex, that they would automatically think contraception when they were thinking or preparing for sex. And contraception would be made universally available. Nobody wanting contraception would be .. find that they were unavailable. Contraceptives would be displayed much more prominently in drug stores, right up with the cigarettes and chewing gum. Out in the open rather than hidden under the counter where people would have to ask for them and maybe be embarrassed. This kind of openness was a way of suggesting that contraception’s .. that contraceptives are just as much a part of life as any other items sold in the store. And, contraceptives would be advertised. And contraceptives would be dispensed in the schools in association with sex education!



"People will be given permission to be homosexual," that's the way it was stated. They won't have to hide it. And elderly people will be encouraged to continue to have active sex lives into the very old ages, just as long as they can. Everyone will be given permission to have sex, to enjoy however they want. Anything goes. This is the way it was put. And, I remember thinking, "how arrogant for this individual, or whoever he represents, to feel that they can give or withhold permission for people to do things!" But that was the terminology that was used. In this regard, clothing was mentioned. Clothing styles would be made more stimulating and provocative. Recall back in 1969 was the time of the mini skirt, when those mini-skirts were very, very high and very revealing. He said, "It is not just the amount of skin that is expressed ... exposed that makes clothing sexually seductive, but other, more subtle things are often suggestive.".. things like movement, and the cut of clothing, and the kind of fabric, the positioning of accessories on the clothing. "If a woman has an attractive body, why should she not show it?" was one of the statements. There was not detail on what was meant by "provocative clothing," but since that time if you watched the change in clothing styles, blue jeans are cut in a way that they're more tight-fitting in the crotch. They form wrinkles. Wrinkles are essentially arrows. Lines which direct one's vision to certain anatomic areas. And, this was around the time of the "burn your bra" activity. He indicated that a lot of women should not go without a bra. They need a bra to be attractive, so instead of banning bras and burning them, bras would come back. But they would be thinner and softer allowing more natural movement. It was not specifically stated, but certainly a very thin bra is much more revealing of the nipple and what else is underneath, than the heavier bras that were in style up to that time.



 Another angle was that the schools would become more important in people's overall life. Kids in addition to their academics would have to get into school activities unless they wanted to feel completely out of it. But spontaneous activities among kids.. the thing that came to my mind when I heard this was - sand lot football and sand lot baseball teams that we worked up as kids growing up. I said the kids wanting any activities outside of school would be almost forced to get them through the school. There would be few opportunities outside. Now the pressures of the accelerated academic program, the accelerated demands. where kids would feel they had to be part of something - one or another athletic club or some school activity - these pressures he recognized would cause some students to burn out. He said. "the smartest ones will learn how to cope with pressures and to survive. There will be some help available to students in handling stress, but the unfit won't be able to make it. They will then move on to other things." In this connection and later on in the connection with drug abuse and alcohol abuse he indicated that psychiatric services to help would be increased dramatically. In all the pushing for achievement, it was recognized that many people would need help, and the people worth keeping around would be able to accept and benefit from that help, and still be super achievers. Those who could not would fall by the wayside and therefore were sort of dispensable - "expendable" I guess is the word I want. Education would be lifelong. Adults would be going to school. There'll always be new information that adults must have to keep up. When you can't keep up anymore, you're too old. This was another way of letting older people know that the time had come for them to move on and take the demise pill. If you got too tired to keep up with your education, or you got too old to learn new information, then this was a signal - you begin to prepare to get ready to step aside.


Do you see the MSM pattern?

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:08 | 3706297 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

The goal has always been to erode the soul of all intrinsic dignity and individuality. Pussification of an entire line of generations to the point of pipelined work as the only work they know, no connection or oneness with flora and fauna, an acceptance of 'higher/highest education' as a prerequisite to open your mouth and be 'taken seriously.' Commoditization of everything. Do you know how many people I've come across who have never even been car camping.

Fuck school, er... I mean, the factory.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 17:47 | 3706451 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Wow. The play book straight from 1956 via the Salem Witch Hunts.

If I'm a clown, you're a psychotic control freak with a Puritan streak a mile wide. Contraception, Sexuality as a free choice and Education are fairly basic tenets for a modern society. You can argue about their implementation (there's a massive difference between various Nation's schooling, for sure, and the USA is fairly broken in many ways in which the "Left" deals with these, but to repudiate them entirely?), but arguing against their very nature paints you firmly into the Authoritarian Fascist part of the spectrum.

Contraception: Freedom of Choice to plan families. Allows women to control their destiny and get beyond the old shackles of 10+ children families.

Sexuality: Freedom to Express one's desires without fear of violence. Fairly basic one that.

Education: Freedom to Possess knowledge. All knowledge is good, and the greater the access to it, the larger chance of more accurate / useful decisions being made.


Again: you can argue about their implementation (there's plenty of scope for critique there), but to denounce the concepts themselves as some kind of "globalist NWO plan" is pure Alex Jones bullshit. Grow up.


Oh, and we can all see why you like cream in your tea dear; too much time spent with the Mullahs in Af/Pak have rubbed off on you something chronic. Syria: Orthodox Bishop & aide beheaded in front of crowd [NSFW / NSFL - yes, it contains what it says on the tin] - you're batting for the same side with this little diatribe, Mr. Man.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:18 | 3706118 Rimon
Rimon's picture

One common theme between Japan, China and USSR is horrible demographics.. US has the healthiest demographics in the developed world

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:28 | 3706129 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

The cleanest dirty shirt is still pretty dirty.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:34 | 3706133 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

"US has the healthiest demographics in the developed world"


Cheesepopes occupying the top spots in [the POWER NODES of]:

- banking


- political activism

- jurisprudence a nation full of 'breeding' 'disenfranchised' immigrants working paycheck to paycheck [& hopefully getting into debt along the way]... As well as pussified middle class sychophant water carriers...

Now THAT'S what I call 'demographics'!...

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 19:30 | 3706642 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

Exactly. And the huge group who score at 90 on the standardized IQ tests; year after year after year, aren't going to suddenly start contributing to competitiveness in the 21st. Century. I think it;'s probably the most fucked country in the world; on a basic level.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 21:30 | 3706858 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Giving the vote to 11+ million socialist illegal aliens amounts to healthier demographics?  


Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:32 | 3706127 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

Interesting article. There is a case to be made in the case of Britain in the 1700's to early 1800's, about a century in fact, that military spending did prompt a great rise in the base economy and trade of Britain. This was the time of the wars against France and it's allies for control of Europe and all the seas of the world except the Pacific.

The vast spending on the Royal Navy gave Britain the ability to control world trade, shutting out France and it's allies. Britain took value creating colonies from others and added that wealth and trade to their overall economy. By shutting down the ports of Europe via a vast naval blockade, the industrail revolution in Europe was shut down and even declined as Britain raced ahead with it's industrial revolution based on the capture of world trade. The British merchant class exploded and merchant shipping captured most world trade and centered it in British ports. Smuggling became a growth industry and Britain broke it's own blockade to gouge Europe on prices for smuggled items in high demand.

This is a special case, since this was a World War and Britian was fully engaged in it. But the money spent on the Royal Navy was returned many times over in tarde profits and the lone postion as the heart of the industrial revolution. British wealth exploded.

You can almost compare this to America during and after World War two. Again an nation engaged in a World War spent heavily on Naval Power and defeated it's enemies and captured much of the world trade and took colonies indirectly. US Naval Power left America as the center of world trade, and the destruction of other nations left the USA with a fully developed Industrial revolution turning out goods for the world. It took half a century for this to be overturned by growth abroad.

It seems in special cases that money spent on the military, Naval power in particular, can in war and after war return vast amounts on capital invested.

This type of system doesn't seem possible again in our lifetimes. The USA reminds one of the slow collapse of Spain's empire as France took continental power and Britain took the seas in the 1600-1700's.

When the base economy, as in the USA and Britain begins to lose steam and production to other growing nations i.e. China, then the ability to fund the vast military shrinks. Look to the history of nations with weak economies who try for military might. Borrowing money is always the case when the base economy is weak. This is the USA today! No empire can stand on the military alone, as long as we have this sick economy that produces little value added, but instead relies on borrowed money, financial bubbles, government spending and health care, we are going to collapse. Look at Britian today June 2013, the economy of that nation is 43% government, the rest is private sector. Think about it! 43 pence of every pound of economic activity is direct government spending. Much of it borrowed or taxed from the few productive citizens and businesses left in the UK. WHY does business run to China and other labor markets? Look at out of control government spending and borrowing!

The USA and it's number one ally, Britain, are both, according to history, headed for the crapper! Unless we have overturned the laws that govern history. When America claimed sending the jobs overseas would benefit Americans, it was a giant lie!

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:11 | 3706188 PiratePawpaw
PiratePawpaw's picture

That worked in the colonial period, but we have gotten a bit low on ignorant savages to assimilate and exploit. I think that was the low hanging fruit of which he spoke. It gets harder from here.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:41 | 3706352 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

Indeed! Taking the vast nation from Indians was the ultimate low hanging fruit. The USA also found cheap oil and that drove our wealth creation for many years until the 70's ended easy cheap American oil.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:47 | 3706224 caustixoid
caustixoid's picture

Amen JB.  Great analysis.  However watching PNAC take effect, with NATO expansion and geopolitical wars all over MENA, you have to think the PTB still think they can leverage current military strength for future riches.  It's not insane or moronic (although it IS evil).  Not sure if they can pull it off, or if there are riches left that will pay it back 'many times over', but the list of wins for the Empire is pretty impressive over the last decade.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 13:52 | 3706159 involuntarilybirthed
involuntarilybirthed's picture

Military spending for the sake of survival and protecting the interest of the regime is different than military spending for growth/hegemony.


Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:01 | 3706168 Village-idiot
Village-idiot's picture

There is a phenomenon in all this that was noted years ago but is rarely mentioned now.

The influence of the Christian religion. Christian dominated countries tend to do very well socially, scientifically and economically. It seems it's politically incorrect to discuss this proven fact; but it exists nevertheless. China has asked about this and have not received an answer as to why this is so.

90% of all scientific and social advances in the last 1,000 years have been in Christian dominated counties.

Now, with the active destruction of the influence of Christianity in the western world, we see our society deteriorating. Economically, morally, socially, with society becoming more violent and dangerous. Some would interpret this as merely coincidence. I tend to believe that God is removing His blessings from an unappreciative and Godless society.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:44 | 3706221 Jugdish
Jugdish's picture

Well there is one huge problem with your point and it's called the "dark ages" when the Papal Catholic boy ass pounders dominated Europe. Whenever you have a group of pedophiles like the group that runs things today and as it was then, power is too concentrated in the hands of homosexual pedophiles and they have a fear of man becoming aware of his lot so the repression i.e. economically, scientifically, technologically, spiritually etc etc, is very extreme. Religon is just business.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 15:09 | 3706251 Village-idiot
Village-idiot's picture

Please do not equate Roman Catholics with all Christians. What you're referring to was Catholic corruption; not Christian corruption.

In any case the Dark Ages is generally considered to have ended in the 10th century leading to the Renaissance, and eventually, the Reformation. So I still maintain my "1,000 year" statement.

As far as religion simply being "just business" I agree with you that many religious leaders are running businesses and their job is to fleece the sheep. These people will be judged when the time comes.

But whether you know it or not there is presently a huge wave of change going through the Christian world. Seldom mentioned in the news media, it is throwing off the yoke of all this corruption and is getting back to basics. There is no real organization and no leaders. It just started and is spreading spontaneously.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 19:49 | 3706681 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

The Dark Ages were when the Church actually ruled. Theocracy is bad for economics. But once the transition was made from Church rule to Christian influenced kingdoms and democracies, development was able to take off. Christianity works best when it controls the culture, but having a Church actually rule is a very bad thing.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 14:00 | 3706169 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

What a pity, I would have thought that such an article might have prompted a deeper discussion....

And yes it is about growth, real growth, not the debt fueled demand pulled forward type. The American nation peaked in 1970, it is no accident that peaking domestic oil production in the light of rocketing domestic demand guarenteed defaulting on one leg of the gold-dollar-oil connection.

Japan imploding was in part from them discounting the FV to such a riduculous level with out being able to maintain that organic growth. China is in the process of being smacked by hitting their heads on the ceiling imposed by the carrying capacity of the planet, most notably oil production.

It should be evident that it is now impossible to add enough value through the use of oil to support the higher prices required for  supply growth. Quite simply, free dollars can no longer be turned into significant new supply in excess of decline rates of existing supplies. Another way of looking at it is to realize the geology would decide the level of the plateau and then economic activity would determine its shape going forward, with the provision that geology will again take charge and irreversible decline will set in at some point. 

It cannot be over stressed that in the broadest menasure, the growth paradigm requires growth in the rates of extracted resources; the rate of growth of a resource base is only of minor importance. This lesson was realized over 40 years ago, it is also remarkable and no accident that their estimation of when the system would start to crumble would would be currently... 

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 15:35 | 3706271 DaveA
DaveA's picture

Governments that rely on the military to keep them in power (e.g. Ancient Rome) find it very hard to control military spending.  As Septimius Severus said, pay the legions well or they'll assassinate you and elect a new emperor.

In democratic countries, it's relatively easy to cut military spending, and many democracies have only token armed forces.  Their big budget-killer is social-welfare spending, which millions of voters have come to depend on for their very existence.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:20 | 3706317 Mad Cow
Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:29 | 3706326 thurstjo63
thurstjo63's picture

All one needs to do is look at the most sclerotic parts of the economy to recognise key reasons why the economy in the US is in decline. As always it involves a situation where government and the corporations are working for their own mutual self benefit;

Health Industry - There is virtually no real competition between various forms of medicine (i.e. allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic, bioelectric, etc). Going back almost 90 years, there have been breakthroughs that would have significantly reduced the cost of medicine while at the same time providing individuals with the knowledge that they need in order to maintain themselves in very good health. Instead what exists in the US, is almost beyond belief. The USDA and the FDA who provide basically no benefit for the public from a regulatory standpoint. Between the suppression of alternative solutions to the pushing of GMOs these two agencies have been an absolute disaster. Without this medicine would be orders of magnitued cheaper than it is now. Similar to what has happened in the two areas where there is still some competition (i.e. telecommunications and IT).

Energy Industry - Consider that we are still using a form of energy that dates back more than 120 years. Have people's brain cells attrofied so much that they are incapable of realising that there are other saner, safer, inexhaustable sources of energy most of which have been known for more than 100 years. Radiant energy, Zero point energy, water based energy systems, even self-charging batteries that have been suppressed by a combination of government and industry during this time. People believe in myths like the 2nd law of the conservation of energy. Although it is applicable for thermodynamics it doesn't mean that the law is generally applicable. There has been hundreds if not thousands of independently verified machines built that have been suppressed, bought out by corporations or seized by governments under the guise of national security interest. Imagine where we would be if people had energy at a cost similar to that of say oxygen (almost neglible). How far better would society be!

Agriculture - Is there anything more astonishing that a corporation who pushes "foods' filled with know toxins dosed with a known toxin to the body, with an overwhelming majority of the population against it, that provides no benefit in terms of cost for the seeds, increase in yield or in its sustainability for the land used for farming!?! But yet the government pushes this upon us as if its for our benefit!!! Without the subsidies to these corporations and with the present knowledge on how to increase yields in an entirely sustainable and organic manner, as well as the knowledge related to permaculture that enables us to reclaim dried up lands, deserts as well as transforming sea water into drinkable water, imagine how cheap and available all different sorts of food could be made available to everyone.

I've only highlighted 3 industries, but there are many more including on the other side, monopolies provide by cities to unions in a particular domain (like education). When there is government and corporations working for their mutual self-benefit you have fascism. That is why the US is in decline. The sad thing is that most people don't recognise it.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 16:46 | 3706330 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

Excellent read! CHS :-))

I would like to add my 'Three Sense'?

1st) The USSR was dying a slow death because of outdated ideas and century's old ideologies!  Nikita Khrushchev [Apr/1894-Sept/1971]__ Leonid Brezhnev*[died in office 11/10/82]__ Yuri Andropov**[died in office 2/9/84]__ Konstantin Chernenko***[died in office 3/10/85] and Mikhail Gorbachev****[ survived tenure in office 1985-1991] :  Three Soviet leaders died while Reagan tried to settle differences with the Great Empire! Why am I making this statement... because they refused to adapt and change their ways. It was only when the youthful Gorbachev came into power that Russia realized the world is a dynamic playground and i[f] you don't adapt away from 'Group-Think' your just a footnote in the history of a Darwinianism World .

2nd)   The Japanese never had a chance other than their past being squandered on an island with the same-ole group-think semi-opaque quasi politburo as the USSR... refusing to approach the 21st century in realistic and pragmatic fashion-- that being consiliatory through detente and reason?

3rd) Now comes the great USSA? We are in deep, deep shit because of our 'Group-Think' manifesto that's never really changed [proliferated exponentially] since the 'McNamara' days,... but has only matastisized into a malignant cancer throughout our political system! Polarizing an already morass'd binary government by truncating a status quo marriage-of-convenience into a linear  lassiez`fairee non-functioning hybrid singular-duopoly?! Box'd-in by a top-down incestuous Romanesque dust-bin of impotent cross-bred imbreeds visably wearing their inaptitude and mental entrophy with[in] an amulet lodestone around the leaderships neck that's long lost it's bearing!?  

,... and so, I view all of the above as a history of knowing how to use ones unknown's to navigate the times through said past... for the sake of using history as a 'dousing rod' of dicovery???

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 18:23 | 3706516 razorthin
razorthin's picture

Evolutionary bird miniaturization.  Nice touch.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 18:39 | 3706552 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

Quoting Charles Darwin tells it all.  One failure quotes another.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 18:50 | 3706571 jonjon831983
jonjon831983's picture

Basically, the problem is a failure to change... linear thought that things that were must always be.  Which is a problem for many, because when starting off you are not restricted rules... but as exceptions pop up and we keep making little amendments and exceptions the rules and regulations become restrictive and self-reinforcing of the previous regime and even generations.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 20:41 | 3706778 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

I'll make a prediction about future trends...

One of them is that we'll run out of butter long before they run out of bullets.

The others don't matter much after that one.

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 22:43 | 3707000 starman
starman's picture

I would issue master cards with a introductory rate of 3% for 6 months to 1.3 billion Chinese then raise it to 23.03%! great idea!

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 22:58 | 3707029 smartstrike
smartstrike's picture


Sun, 06/30/2013 - 03:31 | 3707246 kurt
kurt's picture

"...the ones most adaptable to change..." most certainly will not be a citizenry who have been propogandized and psychologically controlled, and spyed on, dumbed down, dis-informed. The very control freaks who are trying to maintain the status quo are doing the most damage to their citizenry. Elitism is the CORE problem. Tell the people the truth. Stop wasting resources in non-productive enterprises. The people ARE the strength of a nation. 

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