The slow passing of a global hegemon, the Empire of all empires, made me ponder how it will pass to the pages of history books. Apparently, its ruling elite has chosen a strategy called spite: knowingly (or unknowingly) hurting their own self interest, hoping that their enemies will be hurt more. Sanctions come to mind here as a prime example, but spending more than half of one’s discretionary budget on militarism could be seen as an even more spectacular way of running down services, infrastructure, security and resilience at home, while overcommitting oneself abroad — all at the same time. One way or the other, absent of a decisive victory rewarded with a renewed flow of cheap resources, both of these strategies will lead to increasing isolation and deprivation in the coming decades, then… well, something comparable to the fall of Rome. But let’s just not get ahead of ourselves yet.
First let’s define what is an empire. According to Britannica, it is “a group of countries or regions that are controlled by one ruler or one government”. Simple as that. In order to control a territory or state however, obviously you would need to apply some sort of force, be it economic, financial or military in nature, to ‘convince’ your ‘allies and partners’ that it is in their best interest to comply with your will. (Why, how else would you ask a sovereign country to commit economic suicide for your sole benefit…?) According to the late Anthony Stafford Beer, a British theorist, consultant and professor at the Manchester Business School:
“The purpose of a system is what it does. There is after all, no point in claiming that the purpose of a system is to do what it constantly fails to do.”
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