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Why Do Societies Give Up?

None1257 Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 8:17 AM
In the end, the "people" decide what kind of government we want and what kind of life we want to live. And "if the people" make the wrong decision, then it is ultimately the "people" themselves who will pay the price.

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...