Is the Federal Government (FedGov) still the preeminent world power? If so, how long will this last? How long before the FedGov, and the former Republic that was the American Union, collapses? If it is collapsing, what are some warning signs that American Collapse – the Final Collapse – is nigh?
Such as the questions being asked by many today.
Let us consider that the spiral of death is already under way, in the eyes of many: both Tranzis and lovers of Liberty, Progressives (Digressivists), Conservatives, and others. Here are some thirteen signs:
- Public debt: All former empires found themselves with massive debt held by the public and large creditors. There was also massive inequality. As this happened in Rome with the patricians, so it is happening here with the government and the elite. Obama’s 2008 choice to bail out Wall Street instead of Main Street will prove to be one of the most important (and worst) choices in American history, for it was the financial change that was supposed to avert the end. Like most government efforts, it failed. That time is past now. America is done as an imperial power and probably as a single nation.
- Private debt: Student loan debt, personal (consumer) debt, medical debt, and business debt all climb higher and higher by the year. Sooner than later, the defaults will begin.
- Distractions and dissipation: The vast majority of the public is more interested in “bread and circuses (games)” than anything else. Call it cheap (relatively so), mindless and superficial entertainment. Not only that, it is often bawdy, base and brutal (violent). Rome had the gladiators and Christians and wild beasts. We have the Kardashians, worship military special ops, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC’s equivalent. And five hundred television and YouTube channels and half-million broadcast stations. And thousands of new food products and fads a year.
- Declining education: We see the dumbing down of K-12 (now PS-12) teaching and the ever declining quality of the products. We also see the same decline, even more rapidly, in higher education, teaching less and less to more and more. And combined with frightful levels of debt (soon to be defaulted as noted above). We shall be seeing the end of small liberal arts colleges and many other universities.
- Loss of freedom of speech and public interaction: Theoretically, Twitter, Facebook and other new media are a public commons and area for free speech. Even as they impose more and more censorship. Main Street and the suburban malls lose ground as public forums and places to mingle and communicate, as Amazon and its sister internet businesses swallow it.
- Failing medical care: Although ever reaching new levels of skills and results at the highest level, the medical system is also approaching collapse. The system has become so inefficient and so expensive and dependent on government financing, that it is unsustainable. It too will be collapsing. We already see many rural and small hospitals closing. Many more will follow.
- Unsustainable housing: The cost of owning a house climbs constantly. It is viewed as a “good” economic sign but in reality is a warning sign. Rent in major cities has become so high that it consumes more and more of the wages of workers. These are driven by more and more government regulations, normalizing of luxuries, and making public the risks and losses of banks and developers, while their profits remain private.
- Monetizing everything: Some call it the financializing of the economy by Wall Street and the coastal elites: valuing short-term profits over long-term investments. This, combined with neoliberalism (“Progressivism”), is destroying the middle class, flushing away the productive capacities of the Fifty States, and worse.
- Economic disparity and perception: This in turn erodes civility and society. Propaganda tries to divide people by economic classes, and the extremes (both of wealth and of poverty) are considered “typical” and proof of lack of economic opportunity. This results in masses of confused and angry people who wrongly condemn free markets and embrace socialism. Often immigrants are blamed for the situation.
- Decaying infrastructure: Civilization’s physical infrastructure decays more and more, as taxes grow but are misspent, regulations drive out economic considerations, and cities fund luxuries instead of necessities. Highways, utilities, and public services fall into disrepair rapidly, even as debt climbs. More and more treasure is spent instead on welfare at home and abroad, and military endeavors.
- Galloping institutionalism: More and more elements of the economy and daily life are institutionalized: taken over by federal, state, and/or local governments (and their symbiotic “non-governmental organizations.” Even while they bemoan “public institutions being privatized.” Attempts to work around these are then attacked as attempts by rich people and corporations to profit more and provide less.
- Worthless “leadership:” The leadership has become more than inept. It is absurd. Rome burned while Nero fiddled. America falls apart as Congress postures and Trump tweets. Worse, he follows Clinton, Bush II, and Obama. Just as Pelosi replaced Ryan (and not Jack Ryan). And the leadership is more and more dedicated to buying off domestic and foreign threats.
- Vicious political conflicts: Political factions de-legitimize each other, while demonizing or deifying both domestic and foreign players. Consider Russiagate and Ukrainegate and the impeachment process, then throw in Iran, Syria, North Korea, and China. And political conflicts – especially external ones – result in greater militarism and warmongering, and military spending.
While there are no doubt many more signs we could nominate, these are a pattern followed by many previous empires. The American empire will of course do its own thing, and be as different as the British Empire, Roman Empire, and Ottoman Empire were from one another.
All of these CAN be overcome – but it doesn’t take all to result in collapse.
But such a collapse CAN be a form of creative destruction. What can rise up out of the collapse can be more wealthy, more free, and offering more opportunity than the current decadent system.