In response to:

Why Do Societies Give Up?

Jack2894 Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 3:57 PM
Given that all 4 of my kids are under 30 and all are hard working folks with no expectations such as you describe, I feel pretty comfortable rejecting your blanket assertion. I do not think I misread Hansen at all; I suggest he is trying very hard to make history tell the story he wants it to tell, when it really doesn't do that.

Why do once-successful societies ossify and decline?

Hundreds of reasons have been adduced for the fall of Rome and the end of the Old Regime in 18th-century France. Reasons run from inflation and excessive spending to resource depletion and enemy invasion, as historians attempt to understand the sudden collapse of the Mycenaeans, the Aztecs and, apparently, the modern Greeks. In literature from Catullus to Edward Gibbon, wealth and leisure -- and who gets the most of both -- more often than poverty and exhaustion implode civilization.

One recurring theme seems consistent in Athenian literature on the eve of the city's takeover...