Tuesday, July 8, 2014

empire on the cheap


A hundred years ago, the British Empire entered its death process and didn’t even know it. For too long, it had benefited by “empire on the cheap”. It kept a strong navy, if not really a strong army outside of India, but the navy was not only obsolete, it couldn’t easily be modernized because the English economy had become a rust belt neglected by bankers focused on profit through financial manipulation of its dominant global currency. In short, exactly where the US is and has been for some time. Central bankers are parasitic and while they are necessary for strong nation states and financing war and war infrastructure, in the end they always bleed a system to death- and then move to the next host. I’m not saying the centralized government isn’t also to blame- it is a symbiotic relationship. Just that the bankers don’t collapse into anarchy or get their heads chopped off ( England used its imperial capital in the form of advantages in Intelligence, oil controls and banking to buy a comfortable de-leveraging with the US, at least for its elite. The rest of the country became a US colony when we could afford to be magnanimous. Usually, however, imperial falls are much messier ).


The US has gone from 600 naval ships to 275 ( with little in the way of merchant shipping ). It forms alliances with Australian and Indian and etcetera ships to continue its sea lane policing- just as Britain did after WWI ( in other words, from dominance to desperate alliance ) . We fight overseas wars with 1% of our population in uniform- as opposed to 10% in WWII. Not to mention the Mark Twain “history rhymes” character with Afghanistan being the graveyard of empires. We have no economic strength to change any of this, our global currency dominance is being challenged on a weekly basis. Our economic rivals graciously loan us money to fight our wars, and we are dependent on overseas food to stay alive ( basic foodstuffs in the case of England 100 years ago, now it’s the oil to grow and transport food that must be imported for the US ). And anyone who studied history and the Roman Empire could have foreseen the English Empire decline. Why do we ignore our own evidence of decline? We are merely repeating, or rhyming anyway, history. Empire on the cheap is not a winning strategy, it is a symptom of decline and death.


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  1. No doubt the US empire is in decline, but is the civilization as a whole in a decline as well? there is the real question. If it is not, which nation shall establish the next empire (Japan is now out of the running, and Chine talks a good game but has some serious flaws at home, Brazil isn't developed enough yet, India is carrying too much weight, and Russia not enough, ISIS (an new Persian / Muslim empire) is just a wet dream of violent nutcases, and Europe or Africa? - Both have far more pressing concerns.
    If our civilization is shot (in for a new dark ages) will it leave enough resources for a future civilization to form? And what form will that civilization take? Look at us, after nearly a 1000 years we built empires modeled in many ways on the roman one- with most of the improvements over roman being mostly a matter of resources for new technologies....

    1. As almost the entire world is urbanized and uses long distance food to survive, I'd say yes-the whole world civilization is in decline. We will fall much faster. I don't see how we can stay above Mad Max level when we can't buy non dollar denominated oil to grow and transport food.

    2. The folks of the future will be mining our dumps for resources. We throw away so much good stuff like metal and glass that could be reused.

      Idaho Homesteader

    3. Yep, and the US will be among the worlds resource richest thanks to our current rich disposable society. Of course that will be like being the richest beggar in the leper colony.