John Adams famous wrote to his wife Abigail in the year 1780: “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. . . in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, and music. . .”
So that their children can major in gender studies and waste their lives on Tik Tok.
OK so I added that last part myself. But I believe the quote most accurately sums up the natural decline of empire.
When enough time passes, a dominant superpower begins to lose the cultural traits that made it great to begin with. Instead of being energetic, ambitious, and hungry, the population becomes complacent.
Meanwhile, hard-working rivals become wealthier by the day… rising, ascending, and eventually eclipsing the declining superpower.
History has been witness to this natural cycle over and over again, from the ancient Greek conflicts between Athens and Sparta, to the decline of France and rise of Great Britain in the 1700s.
The United States is the modern superpower that is now in obvious decline; we write about this all the time at Sovereign Man, so this should hardly be a controversial statement. As former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers once said, “There is surely something odd about the world’s greatest power being the world’s greatest debtor.”
And he’s right. The economic and financial data are clear: the US has enormous debts, huge deficits, awful inflation, and insolvent pension funds (like Social Security). The social divisions are palpable. Trust levels in institutions, government, and corporations are at historic lows.
It’s true that the US has been divided before. And the US has also seen its share of financial crises.
But simply put, America has never been battered simultaneously by so many debilitating trends. This is truly new territory for the world’s dominant power.
Now, it’s important to not get emotional about US decline. We’re talking about facts and doing our best to make a rational analysis.
And one of my conclusions is that we may be experiencing the end of an era.
For the past several decades, the US was the undisputed global superpower. And there was a great deal of peace and prosperity in the world.
After all, so many countries– China, India, Russia, etc. were getting rich selling their products and resources to the United States. Who would possibly want to screw up that balance?
We’ve seen this same cycle over and over again throughout history: peace and prosperity go hand and hand.
But things are different now. Other countries are stronger than they used to be. The US is much weaker. The power dynamics have been disrupted… and the cycle of peace and prosperity is being displaced by chaos and conflict.
This is our topic for today’s podcast.
We start in ancient Rome and discuss how the unparalleled dominance of the Roman Empire in the early 1st Century brought an unprecedented period of stability, peace, and prosperity to the western world.
Frankly it’s quite similar to what we enjoyed for the past 30 years.
But the Pax Romana, as this period is known, did not last. Neither is the Pax Americana.
We see chaos and conflict all over the world now… much of it due to the decline of the US, much of it due to bonehead incompetence from the supposed ‘experts’ who run the show.
And this new era of chaos and conflict has some pretty serious implications.
Don’t worry– it’s not the end of the world. In fact, there are some really interesting opportunities for anyone with the independence of mind to look at these facts and trends rationally.
And we discuss some of these in today’s podcast, including things like real assets, and investing in neutrality.
I explain, for example, what today would be the equivalent of having a Swiss passport in 1935. Or which specific asset classes are extremely relevant in a world where resource nationalism is a real possibility. And how cryptocurrency fits in to a cycle of chaos and conflict.
These big picture trends are all very clear– it’s the obvious trajectory of the world right now. And it makes a lot of sense to align yourself with that trajectory of the world.
You can listen in to the podcast here.
Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur and permanent traveler. His daily letter is both educational and entertaining, and we suggest that those who want unbiased, actionable information about global opportunities sign up for Sovereign Man’s free, actionable newsletter at http://www.SovereignMan.com.
From Simon Black of SovereignMan.com
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