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drbubb

Lessons from the Fall of Rome

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I do see change occurring, not in a grandiose way though supra-national organisations, but rather at a local level. A depressionary scenario implies a contraction of the power and influence of western states due to a much reduced income resulting from reduced tax revenues. This will reduce the ability of the state to provide for its citizens. Where the state fails individuals and communities must pick up the slack or suffer. Communities with strong shared values and local institutions will be able to be successful, those without will fail.

 

On an international scale I don't see anything like 'Pax Humanitas'. The shared values and world view is just not there.

I do think the state will go on taxing, to feed the powerful politicians, the army, and some residual police forces,

to "retain order" in a time when there will be many angry people with guns. Also, they will try to keep enough

food going to those without jobs, so there will not be too many riots, but we may see that sort of activity breakdown too.

 

Jim Kunstler seems to think that religious groups will spring up as sources of power. They may be the ones who have

the ability to maintain some order in a world that may soon morph into something unrecognisable.

 

If this is a (smaller) fractal of the last 2,000 years, then after the troubles of the dark ages, a sort of new order

will be restored around religious groups. In medieval times, they saved books in monasteries I believe, and monks

were engaged in hand-copying religious texts, until Gutenberg invented the printing press, and the monopoly of

the church over knowledge was broken.

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This thread is one of the most depressing things I have ever read.

It's Lovecraftian it portrays a humanity destined to constantly devour itself.

Maybe you should focus on the "survival strategies", as Acton Boy aludes to.

And I don't mean just the guns and vegetable gardens ideas.

 

The Mayans thrived, and the Eastern branch of the Roman Empire went on for another 1,000 years, and by then the Renaissance had started in parts of Europe.

 

zzzzo.gif

 

The "long sleep" of Europe in the Dark Ages, and the Middle Ages, was a sort of long and needed "correction", like a stock index 4th wave, that was needed to wash away the frantic excesses of Roman times. We have our own frantic excesses today, and the rapid depletion of our resources, and the polluting of the environment are amongst the most important of those.

 

Here are some things we need to recreate and hold onto:

 

+ A sense of community, so people want to look after each other, and parasitic dependency is frowned upon

+ A core of shared values, which helps to sustain the community

+ A ongoing thirst for knowledge, not to pile up riches, but to advance human enlightenment

+ Enough agricultural surplus for the community to feed itself

+ An economic target of pursuing sustained wellbeing, rather than voracious growth

+ Security, so the wealth that exists within the community, cannot be stolen by invaders

 

Anything missing on this list?

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Here are some things we need to recreate and hold onto:

+ A sense of community, so people want to look after each other, and parasitic dependency is frowned upon

+ An economic target of pursuing sustained wellbeing, rather than voracious growth

Incredibly, in the UK, they reward stupid young girls for having babies outside marriage.

They give them access to public housing, and hand then money. Misguided people think it is "humane" to allow the mother to raise her children, but this ignores how the practice creates unintended consequences, and rewards behaviour that should be actively discouraged. In a larger context, this practice pure madness. (One of many examples of the dangers our 20th century socialist thinking.)

== ==

 

janegoodallx-wide-community.jpg

Humans should have fewer babies to help mitigate climate change, argue scientists including well-known conservationist Jane Goodall.

 

"It's our population growth that underlies just about every single one of the problems that we've inflicted on the planet. If there were just a few of us, then the nasty things we do wouldn't really matter and Mother Nature would take care of it -- but there are so many of us," the 75-year-old English scientist told Agence France-Press in an interview.

 

"We should be talking about somehow curtailing human population growth," said Goodall, a United Nations Messenger of Peace, whose 1960s research on chimpanzees altered views on the relationships between humans and animals. "It's very frustrating as people don't want to address this topic."

 

The controversial topic was not addressed at the United Nations' climate summit in Copenhagen in December. Powerful groups such as the Catholic Church oppose contraception, and others see population control efforts such as China's one-child policy as totalitarian. Even some climate scientists see limited value in it, because most greenhouse gas emissions come from developed countries with small growth rates.

 

Still, like Goodall, other scientists, advocacy groups and lawmakers argue that slowing population growth could be key to fighting climate change.

 

The United Nations Population Fund's 2009 annual report links slower population growth to reduced greenhouse-gas emissions.

 

"The whole world has been talking about carbon credits, carbon trading and emissions targets. But not enough has been said about the people whose activities contribute to those emissions," the report says. "Unless climate policies take people into account, they will fail to mitigate climate change or to shield vulnerable populations from the potentially disastrous impacts."

 

In December, more than 60 members of Congress, citing in part the need to address climate concerns, urged the Obama administration to improve financing for family planning efforts in a letter to Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

 

A report in September from the London School of Economics found that contraception is almost five times cheaper than conventional green technologies such as windmills or solar panels at combating climate change. It cites U.N. estimates that 40% of pregnancies worldwide are unintended.

 

"Stabilizing population levels has always been essential ecologically, and this study shows it's economically sensible, too," said Roger Martin, chair of the Optimum Population Trust, which commissioned the report.

 

/see: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gr...dall-says-yes/1

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This thread is one of the most depressing things I have ever read.

 

It's Lovecraftian it portrays a humanity destined to constantly devour itself.

 

The thread highlights parallels with Rome it is not surprising really that there are similarities as it too was a great civilization like ours.

 

I think the rise and fall of civilizations is cyclical with a timescale so long we as individuals probably have no need to fear, but perhaps some of us should rid themselves of the novel notion that ours is the first permanent civilization.

 

Peak oil may end our civilization, if not rot from within will eventually as happened with Rome.

 

Andrew Jackson spoke of it in the US in his farewell address; by the time of his death the US was pretty much free of the risk of invasion but it is interesting that he feared the consequences of debased money more than anything else, our money is now totally debased it's fiat, has been since the 70's and nothing seems to have happened. The message I think is the process of collapse has a timescale measured in centuries as was the case with Rome.

 

 

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Incredibly, in the UK, they reward stupid young girls for having babies outside marriage.

They give them access to public housing, and hand then money. Misguided people think it is "humane" to allow the mother to raise her children, but this ignores how the practice creates unintended consequences, and rewards behaviour that should be actively discouraged. In a larger context, this practice pure madness. (One of many examples of the dangers our 20th century socialist thinking.)

== ==

 

Also they have created a welfare system where may women are financially better off as single parents than living with a low earning but working father.

 

I think the socialists actively seek to create a dependent underclass as it creates work for their class.

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Also they have created a welfare system where may women are financially better off as single parents than living with a low earning but working father. I think the socialists actively seek to create a dependent underclass as it creates work for their class.

Problem is... they do not think clearly about the incentives they are creating,

and the logical "unintended" consequences. Or maybe you are right - they know and intend them.

In which case, they are intending slow destruction of the society they live in. Sad, either way

 

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I think the fall of Rome was largely due to the lack of care given to the use of giant lighters, as shown in your piccie Dr B.

xxxab.jpg

Another theory was: Romans used lead pipes, and after several decades (or centuries) of consuming too much lead,

Romans became stupid. I don't buy it. I find it easier to observe our society, and see how power concentrations (in areas

like finance & government) have driven people in those areas to seek power, and impose their will, so that they can make

money in parasitic ways - that are easier than working hard, and competing fair-and-square - and then the society collapses

because there are more parasites than producers, and the producers cannot carry so many parasites any longer.

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Another theory was: Romans used lead pipes, and after several decades (or centuries) of consuming too much lead,

Romans became stupid. I don't buy it. I find it easier to observe our society, and see how power concentrations (in areas

like finance & government) have driven people in those areas to seek power, and impose their will, so that they can make

money in parasitic ways - that are easier than working hard, and competing fair-and-square - and then the society collapses

because there are more parasites than producers, and the producers cannot carry so many parasites any longer.

 

I have to correct you on this one Bubb. The lead poisoning theory was used to justify the replacement of the lead pipes laid by the Victiorians in order to bring clean water to expanding cities with copper pipes decades later. The theory of the roman aristocracy suffering from lead poisoning is detailed here:

 

 

The ancient Romans, who had few sweeteners besides honey, would boil must in lead pots to produce a reduced sugar syrup called defrutum, concentrated again into sapa. This syrup was used to sweeten wine and food.[16] This boiling of acidic must within lead vessels yields a sweet syrup containing Pb(C2H3O2)2 or lead(II) acetate.[16] Lead was also leached from the glazes on amphora and from pewter drinking vessels.[17]

 

The main culinary use of defrutum was to sweeten wine, but it was also added to fruit and meat dishes as a sweetening and souring agent and even given to food animals such as suckling pig and duck to improve the taste of their flesh. Defrutum was mixed with garum to make the popular condiment oenogarum and as such was one of Rome's most popular condiments. Quince and melon were preserved in defrutum and honey through the winter, and some Roman women used defrutum or sapa as a cosmetic. Defrutum was often used as a food preservative in provisions for Roman troops.[18]

 

The following table shows estimated consumption of lead by various classes within the Roman Empire:[17][19]

Population Source Lead level in source Daily intake Absorption factor Lead absorbed

Aristocrats

Air 0.05 µg/m3 20 m3 0.4 0.4 µg/day

Water 50 (50-200) µg/l 1.0 liter 0.1 5 (5-20) µg/day

Wines 300 (200-1500) 2.0 liters 0.3 180 (120-900) µg/day

Foods 0.2 (0.1-2.0) µg/g 3 kg 0.1 60 (30-600) µg/day

Other/Misc. 5.0 µg/day

Total 250 (160-1250) µg/day

Plebians

Less food, same wine consumption. 35 (35-320) µg/day

Slaves

Still less food, more water, 0.75 liters wine 15 (15-77) µg/day

 

Lead is not removed quickly from the body. It tends to form lead phosphate complexes within bone.[20] This is detectable in preserved bone.[21] Chemical analysis of preserved skeletons found in Herculaneum by Dr. Sara C. Bisel from the University of Minnesota indicated they contained lead in concentrations of 84 parts per million (ppm).[21] Compared to skeletons found in a Greek cave, which had lead concentrations of 3ppm and compared to modern Americans and Britons, which have concentrations between 20-50ppm, this is considered high.[21]

 

There is still great controversy regarding the role and importance of lead poisoning in contributing to the fall of the Roman Empire. Some historians still cite other factors as being more significant than lead poisoning.[16]

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Problem is... they do not think clearly about the incentives they are creating,

and the logical "unintended" consequences. Or maybe you are right - they know and intend them.

In which case, they are intending slow destruction of the society they live in. Sad, either way

 

One of the unintended consequences seems to be that for some women children mainly serve the purpose of a means to state support, with devastating consequences for the welfare, upbringing and personalities of the children!

 

 

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Problem is... they do not think clearly about the incentives they are creating,

and the logical "unintended" consequences. Or maybe you are right - they know and intend them.

In which case, they are intending slow destruction of the society they live in. Sad, either way

 

 

I disagree, I think people are aware of the consequences they just don't admit them to themselves or others.

 

People pretend to themselves that their motivations are altruistic when in fact they are acting in the narrow interests of their class.

 

 

As in ancient Rome many manage to live in fine style off the state, normally liberal or labor voters often found buying food in Waitrose or Marks and Spencer.

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I do think the state will go on taxing, to feed the powerful politicians, the army, and some residual police forces,

to "retain order" in a time when there will be many angry people with guns. Also, they will try to keep enough

food going to those without jobs, so there will not be too many riots, but we may see that sort of activity breakdown too.

 

Agreed, Tax revenues will properly fall however. Many activities and services performed and provided by the state will disappear.

There are targets for increasing tax take, specifically property.

 

Jim Kunstler seems to think that religious groups will spring up as sources of power. They may be the ones who have

the ability to maintain some order in a world that may soon morph into something unrecognisable.

 

If this is a (smaller) fractal of the last 2,000 years, then after the troubles of the dark ages, a sort of new order

will be restored around religious groups. In medieval times, they saved books in monasteries I believe, and monks

were engaged in hand-copying religious texts, until Gutenberg invented the printing press, and the monopoly of

the church over knowledge was broken.

 

This, or something broadly similar, sounds like one plausible, if fairly extreme, scenario. This is a fragmentary tendency where people organise themselves around smaller competing social structures, very possibly in conflict with each other. To my eyes this is the opposite of the internationalist 'Pax Humanitas' mentioned above.

 

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One of the unintended consequences seems to be that for some women children mainly serve the purpose of a means to state support, with devastating consequences for the welfare, upbringing and personalities of the children!

 

virgin_mary2.jpg : How sacred are these cows ?

 

Does the government rely on the dependency culture to stay in power?

by Tony Byrne on 18-Mar-07

 

It appears to me that the current government has created a Nanny State like no other in living history. Virtually everyone, it seems, is reliant on the government for some, if not all, of their income. I estimate that at least 90% of the population receives some form of benefit or income from the government. Let me give you a list of some of the ways people in the UK benefit;

 

+ State pensions (11 million people above state retirement age)

+ Public sector pensions (11 million people above state retirement age)

+ Public sector employment (25% of the workforce)

+ Tax credits (90% of parents entitled to claim)

+ Child benefit (15 million children aged under 20)

+ Other Social security benefits (countless)

 

It seems to me that much social security expenditure is poorly targeted and wasted. Just take child benefit for example. According to The Office For National Statistics the number of children aged 20 and under in 2001 was 14.8 million. Just how many parents really need child benefit?

. . .

It is my firm belief that the government wants a dependency culture because it is the best way it can keep getting itself re-elected for the moment. However, in the longer term I think it will be a disaster for the UK unless something very radical is done to prevent it. That time has come.

/more: http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=81714

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virgin_mary2.jpg : How sacred are these cows ?

 

Does the government rely on the dependency culture to stay in power?

by Tony Byrne on 18-Mar-07

 

It appears to me that the current government has created a Nanny State like no other in living history. Virtually everyone, it seems, is reliant on the government for some, if not all, of their income. I estimate that at least 90% of the population receives some form of benefit or income from the government. Let me give you a list of some of the ways people in the UK benefit;

 

+ State pensions (11 million people above state retirement age)

+ Public sector pensions (11 million people above state retirement age)

+ Public sector employment (25% of the workforce)

+ Tax credits (90% of parents entitled to claim)

+ Child benefit (15 million children aged under 20)

+ Other Social security benefits (countless)

 

It seems to me that much social security expenditure is poorly targeted and wasted. Just take child benefit for example. According to The Office For National Statistics the number of children aged 20 and under in 2001 was 14.8 million. Just how many parents really need child benefit?

. . .

It is my firm belief that the government wants a dependency culture because it is the best way it can keep getting itself re-elected for the moment. However, in the longer term I think it will be a disaster for the UK unless something very radical is done to prevent it. That time has come.

/more: http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=81714

 

Agree completely.

 

My wife and I both work for IBs with salaries way way above the national average. Yet we still get Child Benefit, "Health in Pregnancy Grant", Child Trust Fund Payments, tax breaks on child-care. Something like £5,000 worth of benefits (rough calc). Personally I think it's scandalous but what should we do - turn the money down?

 

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http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-...0728-10w1x.html

 

 

Key quotes:

 

In the history of empires the end is abrupt, and those that rely on them need to be ready.

 

All empires, no matter how magnificent, are condemned to decline and fall. We tend to assume that in our own time, too, history will move cyclically - and slowly.

 

Yet it is possible that this whole cyclical framework is, in fact, flawed. What if history is arrhythmic - at times almost stationary, but also capable of accelerating suddenly, like a sports car? What if collapse comes suddenly, like a thief in the night?

 

Great powers and empires operate somewhere between order and disorder. They can appear to operate quite stably for some time; they seem to be in equilibrium but are, in fact, constantly adapting. But a small trigger can set off a ''phase transition'' from a benign equilibrium to a crisis - a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and brings about a hurricane in south-eastern England.

 

Regardless of whether it is a dictatorship or a democracy, any large-scale political unit is a complex system. Most great empires have a nominal central authority - either a hereditary emperor or an elected president - but in practice the power of any individual ruler is a function of the network of economic, social and political relations over which he or she presides.

 

As such, empires exhibit many of the characteristics of other complex adaptive systems - including the tendency to move from stability to instability quite suddenly. But this fact is rarely recognised because of our addiction to cyclical theories of history.

 

The Bourbon monarchy in France passed from triumph to terror with astonishing rapidity. French intervention on the side of the colonial rebels against British rule in North America in the 1770s seemed like a chance for revenge after Great Britain's victory in the Seven Years War a decade earlier, but it served to tip France into a critical state.

 

In May 1789, the summoning of the Estates-General, France's long-dormant representative assembly, unleashed a political chain reaction that led to a swift collapse of royal legitimacy in France. Only four years later, in January 1793, Louis XVI was decapitated by guillotine.

 

The most obvious point is that imperial falls are associated with fiscal crises - sharp imbalances between revenues and expenditures, and the mounting cost of servicing a mountain of public debt.

 

Think of Ottoman Turkey in the 19th century: debt service rose from 17 per cent of revenue in 1868 to 32 per cent in 1871 to 50 per cent in 1877, two years after the great default that ushered in the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Consider Britain in the 20th century. By the mid 1920s, debt charges were absorbing 44.5 per cent of total government expenditure, exceeding defence expenditure every year until 1937, when rearmament finally got under way in earnest.

 

But Britain's real problems came after 1945, when a substantial proportion of its immense debt burden - equivalent to about a third of gross domestic product - was in foreign hands

.

 

 

 

 

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virgin_mary2.jpg : How sacred are these cows ?

 

Does the government rely on the dependency culture to stay in power?

by Tony Byrne on 18-Mar-07

 

SUCH an insightful headline....pity it wasn't debated more back in 2007, maybe some of the strife could have been avoided.

 

 

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SUCH an insightful headline....pity it wasn't debated more back in 2007, maybe some of the strife could have been avoided.

The Problems have been here for a long time.

It is like tooth decay, the rot sets in over such a long time, that you can forget what the cause was

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