note: Happy Festivus! And Merry Christmas. Enjoy the family, if they are worthy.
Since the start of the Agriculture Age, imports and exports have been a necessary part of life. Almost no area is self sufficient in everything they need to survive. Even when they are, there is always a surplus of things that are nice to get rid of. Although, mostly, trade is more of a necessity than a luxury. As is population growth. The masses must be expanded to fill the farms and the ranks of soldiers. Everything works out great until one day you have too many people and not enough imported food. Then it is Goodnight Irene.
But that is the waxing and waning of empire. There is no going back, as overpopulation and overexploitation is a ratchet technology. If you don’t engage in that behavior your neighbors who do will handily defeat you. All the bloviating of the tree huggers cannot change the fact that you join the arms race or you die. No, Rodney, you crackhead moronic retard, we can’t all just get along. Have some more stick, bitch! The only time there is peace is when everyone is well armed. The Soviets understood this ( if the flag officers of our military industrial complex did not ), as do the North Koreans ( and presumably the Iranians ).
So, understanding from the start that relying on imports and exports will eventually get you killed, you do it anyway because by doing so you will die tomorrow rather than today ( which was one of those cool Russian sayings, like “hump your mother” ). Although, given the cultural dynamic of empires, by the time the collapse phase comes along everybody is about as stupid as Rodney and genuinely asks similar dumbass questions like “but you know this time is different, right?”, or, “aren’t we better than all the other empires?”. Jesus himself weeps.
The ancient empires were all engaged in trade and they all pretty much failed around the same time as some unknown event interfered with trade. Of course, this was in areas denuded of their resources in a normally desolate area of desert fed with rivers and irrigated, increasing the devastation through growing salt deposits. They were more prone to the negative effects of trade, anyway. I’ll call them collectively the Bronze Age civilization. Once trade collapsed, so did they.
The Greeks denuded their lands ( it wasn’t always mainly olives, which is a bit of a junk tree-able to thrive in poor soil ) and were busy importing grains to feed the bustling populations. When their navy began to fail to protect their shipping lanes, the empire was collapsing. The Romans both had the ships bringing grain fail to arrive, and they were also working at docks and facilities that were not being maintained. Without enough grain being delivered the city itself-you know, the capital of the empire-was collapsing. Was it the barbarians invading that finished Rome, or was it the food not being delivered?
During and at the end of World War One, the British were embargoing Germany. That wonderfully just and heroic empire were killing civilians ( withholding food and fuel ) to win the war ( which was a war of failing empires-more on that in a bit ), killing more civilians to get the armistice that would bail out her bankrupt treasury, and then, AFTER the peace went on killing civilians. One imagines out of spite ( or, Hell, who knows, it could have been under instructions by the US, holder of all her debt, in a profit seeking move ). The embargo had a lot to do with the strategies of Nazi Germany in the next war ( not hard to figure out once you realize Food Is First, Always ).
Do you remember the embargo of Iraq by the US, all through the 90’s? Do you realize the number of civilians killed because of that? In the end, it was all about controlling our oil supply. Which, anyone watching the news fifteen years previously and hearing about the Carter Doctrine ( we regard middle east oil as our own and will go to war over it ), or going back and realizing the history of intervention back even before the Shah Of Iran, should have seen coming. Hell, Iraq should have seen it coming, given there history back nearly three millennium ago.
History is full of imported food and its role in the rise and demise of empires. Greece’s fall should have alerted Rome, whose experience should have warned the Colonial Empires ( 1400’s to 1900, give or take a few years ), which should have been a lesson to the Oil Empire of the US ( hard to point to a solid date there. I’d call it 1890’s to 2011, the year of our last successful PetroDollar Primacy War in Libya ). But lessons cannot be learned, can they? Who learned from the American Civil War or the trench wars on the Japanese and Russian frontiers at the beginning of last century, tactically?
No one learns from civilizations falls because people see history as they do politics, tailored to their beliefs. And everyone fights the last war, because generals don’t have their own sons fighting at the beginning of the next war. This institutional amnesia is also necessary for success. If you know that no matter what you do in the end you lose your empire, you will fight defensively rather than offensively and lose before you begin. It is sort of like falling in love, forgetting that the odds are good you’ll soon be divorced. If we were rational, the human race would have already died off.
By looking at the past, and extrapolating into the future, you can easily see that both the American and the Chinese empire will soon fail along with their food imports. This is really a No Brainer. If you are merely hoping you’ll die before this happens, you’ll realize wishful thinking won’t change this rationale. And if you can’t see it coming, that is because you don’t Know Much ‘Bout Much. Not to impugn your intelligence. You’re just not paying attention. All empires fail from resource contraction. It isn’t necessarily food imports themselves that cause this. It can be war material shortages, weather events, or what not. But most of the time, yes, it is direct food import shortages that finish off a failing empire.
END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2yYIQYU )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
I’ve given a lot of thought to this topic lately. And while I find our intrusive foreign policies to be troubling, I try not to speak out too much about it, since I know that ultimately, we all benefit directly from it. There always has to be a lead dog, and I’d rather be in his pack, than the others. Kind of the difference between being in Lord Humongous’s gang vs the refinery folks gang (The latter growing weaker and weaker, while the former growing stronger and stronger, up of course until the oil was all gone). Post collapse it will likely be much the same, though there might be a few remote fringe groups that escape the rule of the controlling gangs, provided that they can stay out of sight of said gangs.ReplyDelete
We’re in bad need of a population reduction. Perhaps “the terrorists” will be of some assistance in this area (Yes, I know that’s a fucked up thing to say, but it’s going to happen regardless, and better that than a slow death by starvation).
Being in the lead pack WAS a good thing. We are, barely, still enjoying some residuals from that. But it is still all over but the fat lady singing, now. We already passed the point where Britain went bankrupt during the First Colony War ( WWI ) and started losing her colonies such as Ireland. We just won't have the twenty to thirty year lag time they did. When it goes, its a snowball causing the avalanche ( sp? ).Delete
Also, and possibly related to the declining empire. But is it just me, or does it seem as if this “opioid crisis” just came out of the thin blue air all of suddenly? I sense a ramp up of the “war on drugs”. The local governments couldn’t ignore the revenues generated from a “lesser evil” drug like marijuana, but aren’t willing to give up the revenues generated from illegal drugs all the same. So now we’re hearing about how the swine are preparing for the additional DUI’s that will come with the first of the year pot shops opening here in the PRK, so don’t toke and drive kiddies. Of course you shouldn’t toke or drink and drive, but you should especially make it a point to avoid the trap of funding the leos, and starve the beast from within.Delete
Yes, the opiate evilness did spring up too suddenly, like that biting monkey causing AIDS worldwide in just a few months :( I have no idea what it means, because the drugs are legal from Big Pharma. Why would any elite want that profit center jepordized?Delete
"Food Is First, Always"ReplyDelete
This is how you sort out who is serious & who is playing.
Damn, I should have thought of this awhile ago: "food is first, or you'll be eating the barrel of your fancy firearm". Well, something like that. It just popped into my head, no coffee yet.Delete