The stages of U.S. decline

Men of the West apply Sir John Glubb’s stages of the life cycle of empires with the rise and ongoing fall of the USA:

Let’s look at the Glubb’s stages of the life cycle and see how they match up with the life cycle of the United States.

Stage I: Outburst.   This stage is the pioneer stage.  As Glubb states, over and over again in history, we see a small native people exploding and conquering large land masses.  To many, this will make them think of Manifest Destiny and the western expansion, but to my own eye, the outburst was the Revolutionary War.  Before the war, the colonies were insignificant on the world stage.  Then came the defeat of the English.  It is after all called the Shot Heard Round the World for a reason.

Stage II: Age of Conquest:  In this stage we see the great expansion.  This is where manifest destiny comes in.  Old weapons are mastered and improved, new weapons are invented, and massive lands are conquered.   While conquering and settling these new lands, massive amounts of wealth are generated.  Again, this should all be sounding familiar.

Stage III:  Age of Commerce:  Industrial Revolution, anyone?  All of that wealth ends up being put to use, as infrastructure in this stage explodes.  In this stage, we see art and luxury.  You see grand state buildings.  The rich build themselves palaces.  Now think of Mr. Vanderbilt’s Biltmore.  Is it not a palace? It should be noted in this stage the schooling of boys is still intentionally rough.  Fortitude and courage and honesty are all priorities.  I would note that American Football was developed during this period to drive those qualities home.

High Noon:   This is the peak of the Nation. It’s the point where the nation goes from growing to dying.   For the US, this was the 1940s.  WWII was won. Evil was defeated, and everyone relaxed.  Money was everywhere. The US was the most powerful nation in the world.  And now, for the first time, we had something to lose, and we noticed we may want to protect it.

The USA is not unique. No nation or empire are, their inevitable protestations notwithstanding. The historical trends are clear, and it is only a matter of time before China replaces the USA as the leading global power. The intriguing question that remains to be settled is whether China will resist the call of empire or not, although history strongly suggests that it will eventually succumb to the temptation to rule over others as most other powerful nations before it have.