Monday, October 13, 2008

We learn from history that we don’t learn from history - Part 2

I had in my earlier post talked about two trends that history tends to repeat. One was the cyclical nature of markets, the other is the fact that
All Empires Die
Francis Kukuyama wrote a essay in 1989 “ The End of History” presumptuously arguing that the advent of Western liberal democracy reflects the end point of the mankind’s ideological evolution.

Mr Kukuyama seems to have missed out on the rationalising ability of all winners in believing “ Since I won, I was right”. It is this belief that makes all winners propagate their way of life to the rest of the world. Alexander thought of doing it so did the Romans. The Spanish decided that Christianity is the best religion and carried out their inquisitions. The British followed it up with their way of life and the British sense of fairness ( as they plundered the world) was what the world needed.

And of course now the American way of life that pervades every aspect of our lives from Coke to free markets and exotic derivatives.

The denizens of these empire tend to lose touch with reality and believe that the moral high ground arising out of victory translates into a easy life. The greed of a empire works towards propagating itself hoping to make the rest of the world pay for its upkeep. It peaks at the height of the enterprising ability of its citizens and slowly deteriorates as its citizens start enjoying the fruits of the efforts of their forefathers.

From the point that it starts living off its vassal states and their citizens to the point where it gets lazy to be enterprising and slowly giving that advantage off.

America the empire that took over from the British is in a decline and is slowly giving up its right to rule the world. You can’t be a king with tattered clothes and IOU’s to your subjects. It wont happen tomorrow but it is happening as the power shifts and I suspect will shift to the Chinese who will rule the world over the next century. Though this is apparent to an outsider as he sees the Americans sell off their family jewels to feed themselves, for Americans I don’t think the wake up call has happened.

It is the rationalising nature of the human mind which believes that the good old American way of life will continue, failing to read the writing on the wall or the path of history that will lead to the decay of the empire.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin.
And the first one now
Will later be last For the times they are a-changin. - Bob Dylan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You have a nice style of writing and both these pieces provide some good insights. Keep writing.