In response to:

Why Do Societies Give Up?

Kenneth L. Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 8:34 PM
Come on, Jack. I'm not picking on your kids. And I haven't made any blanket assertion: things don't work that way. The fact is that increasing numbers of young people are poorly educated and feel entitled. That doesn't even mean your kids are in the minority, but if you know people under 30 you know I'm right.

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...