According to some politicians we as a country are broken and headed for the abyss unless we vote for them.
Another view comes from Todd G. Buchholz in his new bestselling book The Price of Prosperity: Why do Wealthy Nations Unravel.
According to Todd, we are going the same way of the Ottoman Empire and the Ancient Romans.
We do not have enough children, we are lazy and don’t want to do the grunt jobs, and wealth makes us complacent. These two viewpoints are diametrically opposite- the politicians blame immigrants for taking jobs, and Todd says that we don’t want to do those jobs anyway.
Well, let us look at the failures like the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire.
The Ottomans’ philosophy was to rule by force, and get rid of any competitors by the sword. In the case of wives and concubines of the failed competitor, they were gently strangled with silken cords and put into the Bosporus.
Sometimes I think that American electoral processes are not too far away from this philosophy, but that’s my opinion.
The Ottomans Empire was built on slavery, and the subjugation of females. Since it could only be wealthy by conquering neighbors and keeping wealth in the hands of the few at the top, there was very little support when another stronger state came along to topple the governing classes.
When I look at a road and how it is engineered, I know I can trace that back to the Roman road builders.
Many things in our culture were due to the progress in engineering and science of the Ancient Romans.
Still, they had a society built on conquest, and slavery. The women also had no voice and it was not a democracy. It is no wonder that they finally could not keep it together and fell to more vigorous tribal invasions.
I think that it is not a proper comparison to state that we are in a decline for similar reasons that the Romans and Ottomans were failed states.
Let us look at my primary reasons which are not prosperity or low child birth numbers. I think that any state founded on slavery will not endure. Even North Korea will collapse someday.
We had a narrow escape here, but fought it out and reconciled the matter.
Now we can say that we have come full circle in electing a person of color whose children can play on the White House lawn that was built by slaves.
Slavery was the sticking point in the formation of our country, but once the Civil War was fought, and the Civil Rights Act was made law, the basic principal of democracy was laid. Even if we have so called furious uprisings in the form of demonstrations against purported discrimination, we are not a country depending on enslaving any other class of people.
Now we come to the matter of the women.
Women have always had a sort of power in government in the role of behind the scenes power. They did not have a voice in democratic choice until quite recently and despite our having various women leading countries such as England, Sweden, Germany, and Russia, the old monarchies were mostly backward with male leaders who loved their wars of conquest.
I think that when we have more women in government, and can ratchet down the testosterone, we have fewer failures.
Todd would have some answers to the supposed failure of wealthy nations, but as I have not read the book yet, only heard the television talking points or sound bites, my idea for the remedy of too few workers to support the elderly retirees would be to promote the use of robotics like the Japanese are now doing. Healthy senior citizens should be given the chance to keep working if they choose.
The social media could be incorporated to inspire the youngsters who “have it made” to take up a challenge to better the country something like the Peace Corps.
It is not automatic that we should fail as a country because we are rich. We do not exist in a vacuum, and since immigrants are key to expanding the work force, let’s perhaps take a look at what we could do to get talented people to come and live and work here rather than send money out to families back in poorer countries.
When we talk of failed societies we should include Canada and Mexico. We are so interwoven with treaties, trade and tourist movement that it would be difficult for one to fail and not all.
What if we fail with our pacts with the EU and China? Are we so special that we would destroy the whole world order if we do not change our selfish ways?
The next two weeks will give us the answer, and I suspect that we will be all right with our first woman president.