Nero fiddles while Rome burns
It seems that whenever people talk about a fallen empire, they invariably discuss the fall of the Holy Roman empire, but there have been a plethora of fallen empires throughout history and they all share a common thread. It has been said that Pride goeth before a fall, but it is not only pride, or even arrogance that preceded the fall of some of the world’s most powerful empires. The real culprit is a different deadly sin… greed.
A lot has been made of late about income inequality and for good reason. When the haves, who make up less than 1 percent of the population of a country, own more than 90 percent of a country’s wealth and the vast majority are the have-nots, who share the last few percentage points, the fall of that country is not far off. The masses will only put up with so much before there is a revolution, just look at the French Revolution (what happens when you have a pair of entitled 15 year olds ruling a country), or more recently the Arab Spring. Whether it’s a royal aristocracy, a dictatorship or capitalism run amok that keeps the people down, it is only a matter of time until the people will realize that all they need to do is band together and revolt in order to stop the madness.
Sir Edmund Burke once said, “Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.” He was right. It’s easy to look back at the causes of the declines and falls of each and every former empire and make direct comparisons to current world powers. The writing is on the wall. It is not enough to make sure that the have-nots have almost enough to live on and dangle the carrot of a lottery win, a singing career, a reality show or a game show as hope that they too can become rich. There are only so many times that a shiny object (celebrity) can be used to distract the people from the erosion of their rights. A country must provide more than just welfare and food stamps for its poor. It’s not just the impoverished, though. If a country has successfully eroded away its middle class, by union busting and outsourcing jobs to other countries, all in the name of saving a buck, they have then joined the middle class (which should be more populous than the poverty-stricken) with the poor, thereby strengthening their numbers and making themselves that many more new enemies.
China used to be a powerful empire and is the only country that actually has a chance, and a good chance, at that, of becoming a powerful empire for a second time. This time, they are building their economy by educating their children in fields like technology, science and agriculture. They are studying the success and failures of other countries and learning from them. They are buying the debt of countries that have a lot of unpopulated land, as they are quickly running out of land of their own. They are forward thinking, all the while looking to the past.
Thanks to global warming (or climate change) Russia is poised for power as well. It wasn’t that long ago (1917) that the Russian Revolution happened and Putin is ruling like he has never heard of it. The arctic will be a major resource in the coming decades and Russia owns the lion’s share of the region. It is imperative that they have a forward thinking party in power and soon if they want to be a major player in the near future.
Canadians; apologizing our way to the top.
There is a country that is on the threshold of becoming a world power player for the first time for much the same reason. The country that owns the second largest share of the arctic, Canada. Yes, quiet, polite Canada with our wealth of natural resources and our vast amounts of unpopulated land, really could be a super-power in the, not so distant, future, if we play our cards right. When it comes to social issues like healthcare and human rights, Canada is on the forefront. Canada is one of the best countries in which to live if you are a minority or a woman. The quality of our education system is excellent and not so overpriced that only the wealthy can access it. Yes, Canada is indeed a great place to live, which is why as we look forward by protecting our arctic land, we must also look around, like the Chinese are doing, at the successes and failures of others, both past and present and learn from them, so it will continue to be that great place to live. We do not want to see our rights eroded due to complacency on the part of the voting public. It is important that the people of Canada keep a watchful eye on our elected officials, so that they continue to act in our best interests and not succumb to the one thing that will spell our downfall… greed.