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Why Do Societies Give Up?

OBAMA-DRAMA Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 11:17 AM
.. such for many years while unable to find jobs elsewhere requiring their unique skills. They will also be in competition with recent college graduates seeking employment. This alone will cause hostility among the rank and file experiencing the ill effect month after month after month going on for years.

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...