As I’m listening to the first few lectures, it seems that most empires developed through their military dominance over other nations. It seems they fell as a result of internal rebellion and ultimately being conquered by the next world power. Is my understanding accurate? If so, how would you answer those who are calling for a world wide US military presence and dominance? It seems this history would support their position. Your thoughts?
CSA, that’s the pattern in the Ancient Near East, at least, with the exception of Egypt, which managed to maintain a continuous existence longer than anyone else despite occasional periods of internal instability and one or two invasions.
I don’t know to what extent we can draw analogies with the 21st-century U.S. The ideologies of democracy and self-determination are present today to a far greater extent than in the ancient world, and that makes it extremely difficult for a would-be imperial power to maintain sway, particularly when that power is reluctant to use violence in as naked a fashion as some group like the Assyrians.
A military takeover of the US by someone else seems impossible for the foreseeable future, barring an extraterrestrial invasion. The big threat to the US empire is economic. We’re dependent today on highly developed capital structures unknown in the ancient world, and we seem to be de-capitalizing right now with all the borrowing and spending on social programs.
I hope these off-the-cuff thoughts help you think through this question. It’s certainly worth pondering.
I have a degree in classical archaeology and the history I studied was obsessed with invasions and politics. But as is the case with many tales of history, monetary policy is sidelined. I guess pondering the long term affects of lead poisoning from aqueducts is more stimulating.
After college I am now able to dictate my own education and I enjoy learning about the role of currency manipulation and inflation in the Roman Empire and considering parallels to the United States.
The Mises Institute provides Joseph Peden’s lecture on “Inflation and the Fall of the Roman Empire” for free. http://mises.org/daily/3663