Reflection on The Fate of Empires by Sir John Glubb

The Fate of Empires

This is one of those documents that once again motivates me to continue to learn.  The new set of eyes that learning creates brings a sense of peace about the world.  There is less uncertainty which means there is less fear.  Just as there was comfort in knowing that present time is just an instance in the endless cycle of empires, there was extreme anger about the institutions that we entrust to educate ourselves.  I know they are not perfect.  But forcing me to learn and memorize the names and views of senate electoral candidates of Virginia of 1865, does not compare to learning the life cycle of empires.  Honestly there is no contest as to what is more relevant to someone’s life.  This, and other works like Guns, Germs, and Steel, show the importance of knowing history, and also shows the failures of what is being taught.  There is a same phenomena with science classes.  They focus on the concepts and mathematics of it all, but do not discuss how the scientific method is presented in various experiments.  What was the intrinsic error of the experiment?  What questions are answered with this experiment, and what questions remain?  To me, it is more important to learn the why’s and how’s of history rather than the what’s.

The Fate of Empires is a brief essay laying out the life cycle of an empire.  An empire is defined as a super power of their time.  He brings examples ranging from Persia, Ancient China, to the Ottoman Empire.  In fact, all of his evidence is from eras other than our own era, which makes sense when writing something like this.  This read is a basic read, and should be taught to everyone.

The average lifespan of an empire is 250 years.  The life cycle of an empire is broken down into six ages.  They are:

  1. The Age of Pioneers
  2. The Age of Conquest
  3. The Age of Commerce
  4. The Age of Affluence
  5. The Age of Intellectualism
  6. The Age of Decadence

The age of pioneers are the initial surge for a certain country.  In most cases this is done through military means over a bigger civilization.  The main theory as to why this is, is the pioneers envy the life and riches of the great empire that they hope to overthrow.  They are tired of living their lives, which maybe in oppression by the empire.  So, they surge with courage and dedication to change their lives for the better.

Once a nation state is established, the age of conquest takes fruit.  The conquest is to expand their territory to obtain more resources and power.  Once an adequate amount of territories are under control, the age transitions to the age of commerce.  The main purpose of this era is to create more wealth.  The acquisition of wealth usually takes precedence over everything else.  This is the period of time when values start shifting from the self-sacrifice of the initial pioneers to self-interests.  The age of affluence is next.  The rich become more and more separated from the poor, as more wealth is flaunted for people to see.  People enjoy high standards of living, and more and more people are consuming things in excess rather than what they need.  The age of intellectualism is next.  With the necessities of life no worrisome to a good number of people, the next frontier man attempts to explore is that of mother nature.  Civilizations make advancements in science, philosophy, the arts, and literature just to name a few.  The production of universities and schools drastically increase, and the knowledge is more tailored towards specialized knowledge rather than a breadth of knowledge from various subjects.  Finally, where most of the essay is tailored towards, is the age of decadence.

The age of decadence is the decay of the empire.  It is characterized by defensive minded militaries, decaying morals, lost of religion, frivolous consumption of food, entertainment, sex, and the complete focus of individual interests.  When things tend to get rough, it would be thought that the people would work together to fix the problems, but instead there are schisms in the society that make the resolution of dire problems impossible.  With everyone thinking about themselves, they lack the self-sacrifice and courage needed to defend themselves from collapse internally or from the next age of pioneers.

It is pretty obvious that The United States, the world’s super power, is in the last and final stage, the age of decadence.  When just looking at our practices, it becomes clear that our morals have completely collapsed due to actions of various corporations for their increase in profits.  When debating politics, people constantly look at how their interests are affected rather than taking into account the needs of other people.  Sex is the main theme or method of selling products or services, and there are strip clubs and porn sites.  We consume frivolously on drugs, food (obesity), sex, and entertainment.  We worship celebrities rather than a God or religion.  This all points to a society that is on a verge of collapse.  The United States is scheduled to collapse at around 2030.  The 10 generation time scale is an average, so it is not exact.

So why is it, that this cycle exists?  Why is it the same cycle that occurs so frequently in history?  I honestly think it is the corruption and love of money that totally destroys the sustainability of a society.  The acquisition of wealth tailors people to get more, and to only think for themselves.  When individual interests are the priority, nothing gets resolved.  Governments become corrupt, so they accrue more wealth and power.  When the time comes of the new pioneers, they are unable to act.  I also think the self-interests that is created through money distances man from nature.  This separation from nature is literally a contamination that eats away at the required reasoning, morals, and feelings of complete sustainability.  People that are closer to nature are more prone to survival, and are closer to the habitat that we were evolved to be apart of.  Concepts and philosophies of self-sacrifice, and sustainability are needed to survive.  With survival, we are more prone to follow the path at finding who we are, the essence of man, compared to being isolated in cities gorging ourselves with food, drugs, sex, and entertainment.

The flow system of currency is just like any flow system, and a characteristic of a flow system is that it is hierarchical in nature.  That means, whenever there is currency, there are going to be segments that are wide and thick (lots of money), which in turn gets drained by smaller tributaries to facilitate more flow.  This is why there is always a class system with any society.  And that is always going to be there if currency is involved with any economy.  And considering that I think money is the key factor to this cycle of empire life, I think the removal of money should seriously be considered when constructing a new society.

And, as I have stated throughout this blog, I think a good concept that solves this problem is The Resource Based Economy.  Therefore, a Resource Based Economy would create a new cycle or progression of ages throughout its life cycle.

I really hope people start reading on their own, and educate themselves further than the bullshit schools of our day.  Our educational system is a failure.  I’ve read way more relevant and thought provoking works on my own than in any classroom.  I would skip history in high school to read Guns, Germs, and Steel, which should be a central work when evaluating the history of the Earth.  But in the end, I am at ease of all the failures of our society.  It was predetermined when we decided to use a currency with our economy.  And, as usual, a new set of pioneers will take hold and will most likely enact a currency to handle the scarcity of goods and services, which will make the cycle continue.

“The love of money is the root of all evil.” — The Bible

Advertisements

I am a Naturalist

And of course being the hesitant person that I am, I do not feel too inclined to share that with people in my life.  I feel that humanity has detached itself so much from nature, that the majority of the population would consider naturalism heresy against the stance of economic growth.  In my concept of naturalism, I believe reality consists of natural processes that over time can be understood.  I also believe that humans feel more fulfilled when they have a relationship or an appreciation with nature.  I believe in a divine Creator.

The direction that humanity has taken is the direction of material profits at the expense of the exploitation of the planet.  Because I identify with the planet, this sickens me; it pisses me off.  I believe if we use economic resources to take care of mother nature because we are a part of her, not only would we help the longevity of the species but to a better quality of life.  Nature is our home.  The closer we are to it the more we are at peace with the world.  This is because the Earth is our habitat; it is what was meant to be what we called home.  I do not think if we embraced my definition of naturalism, we would revert to the stone ages.  We can use technology to enhance our lives and also minimize interference with the planet’s processes.  People have told me in the past if you want something done, to write to your representatives in the government.  But in my honest opinion, our voices do not matter.  An overwhelmingly majority of citizens wanted gun regulations to be enacted yet their representatives followed the NRA lobby.  Our voices only matter if we bribe politicians.  I do not have faith in the system.

Therefore I have two options.  I could use my resources to enact change myself in radical ways.  Meaning, in protest create instability or at least an inconvenience for the people in power.  Personally, as I have said in this blog, I know of systems that would be better for the people of this world.  I would love the opportunity to forcefully enact a revolution.  But in order to force a revolution to the people, I would have to single highhandedly make the economy collapse.  With people in disarray we could instill another economical system to better manage the planet’s resources.

I have learned about designs of space based solar power as well as improved transportation systems.  These are completely feasible.  Yet we spend half a trillion of dollars on a military that is already 15 years ahead of its time.  We do not value change, because change that benefits the common goal is in conflict with quarterly profits.  This is a detriment to the individualistic culture that we live in.  Not to mention these projects would coincide with my naturalist views.

It would be better though for the majority to feel the same way.  Even though this will be insanely unlikely, it is the more ethical route.

So I am going to try my hardest to use the system to reform it.  I have written letters to my representatives plenty of times and I am going to continue to do it.  I might start writing to different departments specifically to get my views heard.

And I think I am going to strive to live in the wilderness.  Just me and nature, books, and a computer with satellite hookup.  Here I can share my views on the world, in hopes that I may make a difference in this world.  I would be at peace, for I would be with nature, my true home.

Space Based Solar Power is Entirely Feasible

I am going to quote a forum post on this topic.  It does a good job summarizing what I have found out and my thoughts on the issue.  In it I was wondering how the government program of the Space Based Solar Network could be transferred to the private sector.

 

I have been ranting about this engineering idea recently because frankly it is a great idea. During the 70’s I believe engineers first conceptualized the Space Based Solar Network. What is exciting is it is completely feasible, and I just recently read a business plan on a design for such a network. It laid out the finances quite nicely, and with a safety net of double the required budget, the entire project would cost around 200 billion dollars.

First let me say this could solve our energy problem completely. With the expansion of developing countries like India and China, the world is projected to consume about 50TW (terawatts) of power. A Space Based Solar Network (SBSN) could provide up to 155TW of power. It could satisfy an expansion of energy consumption three times over! Plus, it could provide power at half the cost of fossil fuels at about 1-2 cents/kWh. This really is a no brainer economically because we could easily provide power demand across the world at a fraction of the cost.

Now the project wouldn’t have to be paid for all at once. In a span of about 20 years, we would have to front 10 billion dollars. (Consider the current Depart of Defense budget is about 526 billion) If we wanted to put the SBSN in half the time we would have to double the money at 20 billion which is completely possible. Of course, the better option would be the private sector building this project. This is exponentially more difficult but it is still feasible in the future. The cost will continually decrease while economic growth (hopefully) would eventually make this project feasible. However, if the government were to get involved directly this project could be enacted now. What I think would be the best option would to have the government build the SBSN and then transfer the network to private companies. Notice companies, not company. This would promote competition which would in theory increase the efficiency of the network. What is beautiful about the NASA design is that it is completely compartmentalized. Meaning not only is it easy to repair and construct, but you can completely scale the project to add more power if necessary. I am trying to work out a procedure to hand over network to the private sector. This is where I am open to ideas.

My initial idea doesn’t cut the bill, but I haven’t come up with any other way. We could divide the network into X amount of shares. The cost of the shares equal a little more than the total cost of the entire network so the government gets a profit. Multiple organizations in theory would purchase shares. The percentages of the entire share pool will correlate ownership to the network. This is the initial ownership of the network to the private sector.

This is so feasible it isn’t even funny. Keep in mind that the way the money flow works, is as long as banks are issuing out loans The Fed can loan money to the government at an inflationary rate. This is why every single department has a growth of funds per year. There has to be, because the expenditure of money through government programs expands the overall money supply which is absolutely necessary for economic growth. I honestly don’t have the numbers in front of me, but this entire project could be paid for outright by government deficit spending. The overall government debt does not matter, because if there was no debt there would be no money in the economy. If the government were to pay back The Fed, they are essentially destroying that money because it is going back to the banking sector.

Honestly, this is amazing. I can’t believe it. I am ranting about this because I am too excited about the possibilities. Here is the business plan that I read:

Henson, Keith H. “Beamed Energy and the Economics of Space Based Solar Power.” n.pag. Academic OneFile. Database. 4 Sep 2013.

Not to mention this would probably create jobs.

Do you guys have any other ideas on the transition of the network from the government to the private sector? What do you guys think of this idea?

This to me is extremely exciting.  We could solve our energy issues!  But knowing our system the fossil fuel companies and their lobbying interests will halt this program from launching.  This is another prime example of the failure of our system.  But I have hope that if enough people learn of this they will enact change relatively soon.  The world energy problem solved would free humanity to pursue other projects that will increase our quality of life.  I really hope this goes through.  I am definitely writing to my representatives in congress.