Monday, December 20, 2010

The Fall and Rise of Empires

Empires rise and fall. The Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and before The Soviet Union was called the Evil empire, Russia had an empire extending down into what is now Poland.

Correct my history if necessary. Russia was beaten back by the emergence of the Polish empire, which extended toward Western Europe. They were driven back by the rise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed with WW I.

However, in each case, the empire, as it grew to include vast and divergent territories, became not merely too large to manage, but too fractious. What played well in Italy, closest to Rome, did not play well in France. Less so in Egypt and England.

In addition, we all remember, The Sun never set on the British Empire. I always wondered how that Sceptred isle set in a silver sea managed to dominate the world. India, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada...It may well have been the delegation of authority.

The Evil Empire collapsed because Eastern Europeans grew weary of a system that destroyed what they had spent centuries to build. The U.S. however, never really had an empire. Too often, we've been isolationist. We have not been networking.

Wouldn't it be lovely if nations had Linkedin accts and Facebook pages? Germany could ask Portugal to join its network on Linkedin. China could friend Brazil on Facebook. Japan could friend India. Pakistan could friend Canada.

Our problem lies not in the empire we don't have. Our problem is conspicuous: our problem is our lack of allies. Our lack of metaphorical Facebook friends. We still have an isolationist mentality.

The delegation of authority? We can't even accept the concept of the 10th Amendment in The Bill of Rights, the concept of States Rights.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

With apologies to Charles de Gaulle:

It's a good thing we have only three political parties. We have only three kinds of cheese.*



* [American, Cheddar, and Cream]

Coipyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

1 comment:

slimfairview said...


"Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for a private profit; decisions regarding supply, demand, price, distribution, and investments are made by private actors in the free market; profit is distributed to owners who invest in businesses, and wages are paid to workers employed by businesses and companies." From Wikipedia, not Wikileaks.

Ma-- is correct in her comments. And you are correct in saying, "...if we can't even be truthful about who we are how can we decide how we need to change."

Now take a good look at what Me-- said.

"One of the main reasons we are declining is that we are more interested in competing than we are in succeeding."

Compare/contrast that with his concluding remarks.

"If one is truly interested in succeeding in business in the American spirit of our founding fathers then one's best friend is a competitor."

I just posted The Fall and Rise of Empires on my blog. Slightly analogous to what we are discussing.

Then, too, perhaps words are getting in the way. Take out Captialism and put in Free Enterprise.* Intelligence reports from the 70's indicated that 85% of the food grown in the Soviet Union was grown on 15% of the land. This is not a geology lesson. It was the 15% of the land alloted to the families' personal use.

The same lesson was learned by the Pilgrims in Massachusetts. (A lesson long since forgotten.)

Forget calls to implement capitalism. We have capitalism. China is implementing capitalism. Russia is implementing capitalism. Why are socialist states moving toward capitalism and capitalist countries moving toward socialism. Therein lies the conundrum for most people.

Sincerest regards,


*As in "Free enterprise, it works when you do." The quote was from my father's wall. As in office, not Facebook. I couldn't find it on Google, perhaps it was one of his own sayings.