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An essay on the fate of empires

(32 Posts)
thatbags Tue 05-Jul-16 09:27:52

The essay is historical but also political (in a non-emotional way) in outlook.

I have been reading the twenty-six page essay, The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival by Sir John Glubb. I found it very interesting. Summary below to whet your interest. If anyone would like to read it, I believe I can email you a pdf copy (you'd have to PM me an emal addy; I don't think I can post a pdf link on GN). If my memory serves, the essay was written in the 1970s.

As numerous points of interest have arisen
in the course of this essay, I close with a brief summary, to refresh the reader’s mind.
(a) We do not learn from history because our studies are brief and prejudiced.
(b) In a surprising manner, 250 years emerges as the average length of national greatness.
(c) This average has not varied for 3,000 years. Does it represent ten generations?
(d) The stages of the rise and fall of great nations seem to be:
The Age of Pioneers (outburst) The Age of Conquests
The Age of Commerce
The Age of Affluence
The Age of Intellect
The Age of Decadence.
(e) Decadence is marked by:
An influx of foreigners
The Welfare State
A weakening of religion.
(f) Decadence is due to:
Too long a period of wealth and power Selfishness
Love of money
The loss of a sense of duty.
(g) The life histories of great states are
amazingly similar, and are due to internal factors.
(h) Their falls are diverse, because they are largely the result of external causes.
(i) History should be taught as the history of the human race, though of course with emphasis on the history of the student’s own country.

daphnedill Tue 05-Jul-16 11:33:06

If national greatness inevitably lasts 250 years (and I question that), the UK is in its death throes (it possibly is), which is why it's so important that it is part of a bigger group.

You might find this essay about the death of empires interesting:

Grannyknot Tue 05-Jul-16 11:35:18

Hi bags I'm interested in reading the essay. AFAIK, a link to a PDF is the same as any other link, so give it a try. If that doesn't work I'll send my email address.

Grannyknot Tue 05-Jul-16 11:53:28

Google found it for me ... smile

thatbags Wed 06-Jul-16 05:55:20

gknot, goodo smile

ffinnochio Wed 06-Jul-16 06:00:19

Yes, Google found it for me, too.

absent Wed 06-Jul-16 06:39:11

I am somewhat uncertain about what constituted a welfare state in the Roman and Persian empires, for example, but am prepared to be told.

whitewave Wed 06-Jul-16 07:19:24

From some perspective the so called collapse might be seen as progress

HelenManchester Wed 12-Jun-19 12:31:25

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CyclingKnitter Fri 21-Jun-19 23:33:52

You could write about the shift from power to enthusiasm to farce and ridicule and self-immolation and use the decline of the British Empire to Great Britain to Britain to Brexit to laughing stock as an example: why use Rome when we have something so close at home?

Cindersdad Sat 22-Jun-19 08:59:07

The British Empire imposed Georgian and Victorian values on other countries. Britain did start the industrial revolutions and needed the Empire to sell its wares, get raw materials and cheap labour. However at home most people lived poverty and a few did very well. As a nation we became complacent and sat by while the rest of the world progressed.

Britain is still one of the most inventive nations on the planet we just lack effective leadership. Learn from the rest of the world and follow the oriental ethos "Imitate, adapt and improve". Britain is certainly floundering, has not yet reached rock bottom but is capable of becoming better though never again "Top Nation".

Brexit just drags us more into the swamp of decline. Don't let the appeasers win!

History has shown that Empires never last. Modern Empires are built on trade but being too successful eventually leads to a leveling.

Renado Wed 07-Aug-19 13:57:15

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varian Sun 25-Aug-19 08:03:28

Leaving the European Union without a deal would vastly shrink the UK’s international influence and would represent “the biggest unilateral abandonment” of long-term British interests in modern history, a group of former ambassadors have claimed.

In a letter, signed by 25 former senior diplomats and published in the Times, they urged Boris Johnson to “signal a different approach” at this weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France, and retain “close relationships with our European neighbours”.

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wildswan16 Sun 03-Nov-19 15:47:59


M0nica Sun 03-Nov-19 16:15:15

Another more recent book on this subject is The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500-2000 by Paul Kennedy and published in 1987.

I currently have it on order, but have yet to read it.

He argues that the strength of a Great Power can be properly measured only relative to other powers, and he provides a straightforward and persuasively argued thesis: Great Power ascendancy (over the long term or in specific conflicts) correlates strongly to available resources and economic durability; military overstretch and a concomitant relative decline are the consistent threats facing powers whose ambitions and security requirements are greater than their resource base can provide for.y was their most expensive and pressing activity", and it remains such until the power's decline. Declining countries can experience greater difficulties in balancing their preferences for guns, butter and investments.

The Wikipedia page on this book(quoted above) and his arguments make a very cogent contribution to this debate

M0nica Sun 03-Nov-19 16:18:06

DD and I usually wait until the lavender has flowered, the blossoms died and the seeds formed and then we cut the stalks off and shake them over a sheet to release the seeds and then put them straight in lavender bags. No drying needed because they are already dry.

M0nica Sun 03-Nov-19 16:18:29

Sorry, Mispost. Not sure what happened