What causes the rise and fall of nations?

What causes the rise and fall of nations?
Braden Heron
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Posted Mar 23, 2009 - 10:10 AM:
Subject: What causes the rise and fall of nations?
What makes nations great? What causes them to decline? Is there a pattern? Are we (being the United States of America) folowing this pattern? Can we do anything to break this cycle, or is it better to folow the natural order of things?
ponderingjester16
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Posted Mar 23, 2009 - 10:54 AM:

I beleive the rise and fall of a nation is controled by the knowlege of that nations suroundings and knowing of their own limitations. That is what I beleive the rise of a nation is caused by. The fall however is caused by the missuse of their knowlege. In a way this goes under the concept of perfection. Humans strive to reach the unacheivable perfection. They will creat a nation, improve it, then once that nation has reached it's limitation or maximum proximity to perfection, that nation will fall because the idea of something better exists. I guess then the fall of a nation is based on their abbility to stive and reach for perfection. Once they can no longer stive for a perfection or once they have obtained their maximum proximity to perfection, it will fall, and a new nation will be forged in a way that can go beyond.
Braden Heron
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Posted Mar 23, 2009 - 11:00 AM:

ponderingjester, your theory is good, but look to ancient china, they used a centralistic aproach to economics, simply waiting for other countries to wish to trade with them and staying out of wars. As they made transactions they slowly spread and became a major power of the ancient world. Meanwhile your theory does work for ancient rome, who at the same time was expanding beyond their ability, striving to create the perfect metropolis. Thank you for your input.
wuliheron
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Posted Mar 23, 2009 - 5:23 PM:

An old theory is that geography has the single most significant impact on the rise and fall of nations. Geography determines how vulnerable a country is to attack, its natural resources, etc.

Today there are around 400 imported natural resources that the US considers vital to the national security, and this number continues to grow along with industrial production and globalization. Oil is the most famous example, however it is far from unique. Water is considered by many to be the next resource wars will commonly be fought over in the next century. Those who live downstream from their neighbors will be especially vulnerable.

Another interesting argument is that the more flexible a culture is the longer it survives. However, all such arguments fall into the nefarious catagory of Social Darwinism.
Hussong's Frogs
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Posted Mar 23, 2009 - 6:14 PM:

Great nations conquer other nations in war and exploit their native people, while writing over that in history books. So, I guess are a great nation, but so is every other nation in the world. You can't classify one as great, and the other as not great. Sound like a Hitler mentality to me...
180 Proof
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Posted Mar 23, 2009 - 11:23 PM:

Braden Heron wrote:
What makes nations great?


Strong, vibrant, pluralistic culture.

What causes them to decline?


Unsustainable institutions & practices (e.g. territorial over-reach, underinvestment in the future or hedges against disasters, overpopulation, etc)

Is there a pattern?


Yes. War (which seems a historical analogue for entropy).

Are we (being the United States of America) folowing this pattern?


Yes.

Can we do anything to break this cycle, or is it better to folow the natural order of things?


If we were a strong vibrant culture rather than mass-mediated society, the cycle could be slowed down (though never broken); instead, the USA's cycle seems to be speeding up.
Braden Heron
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Posted Mar 24, 2009 - 6:55 AM:

Sound like a Hitler mentality to me...



I apologize, perhaps "great" was not the preferable choice of words. Maybe temporarily successful would be a better term...

Edited by Paul on Apr 16, 2009 - 1:51 PM. Reason: fixed tag
Absolutely Relative
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Posted Mar 24, 2009 - 7:01 AM:

Braden Heron wrote:
What makes nations great?


That is a subjective question. Perhaps military might, the ability to force the will of your nation on another is what makes a nation great. Alexander the Great seemed to believe so.

Braden Heron wrote:
What causes them to decline?


Loss of their power and or stability.

Braden Heron wrote:
Is there a pattern?


Only in the fact that nations decline, that it is chaotic and the chaos leads to violence. The pattern can only truly be found in the effects, not the causes.

Braden Heron wrote:
Are we (being the United States of America) folowing this pattern?


I see no patterns, only random behavior that we interpret as patterns, to pretend we have control.

Braden Heron wrote:
Can we do anything to break this cycle, or is it better to folow the natural order of things?


Not a thing. The United States of America will someday collapse. You will someday die. The human race will someday go extinct. Take solace in the inevitability of death. Accept your fate and move on, fearlessly, knowing that you only forestall the inevitable.
Gulnara
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Posted Mar 24, 2009 - 4:21 PM:

Great nations grow out of great difficulty and challenge. They grow from the stock of people raised in the difficult environment and managing to survive.
However, when those nations expand and reach better, easier level of life, they stop raising capable, smart young generations and thus, spoiled by the ease of achievements, by comforts of life, those generations deteriorate the nation created by their parents and ancestors. This is when the nation starts to decline.
The pattern is going from great challenge, surviving it, reaching high level of comfort, declining. The United States is a bright example of such pattern.
To brake this pattern, the nation should not adhere to easy life for its citizens ,in spite of achievements, but, as the technologies progress, strive for every citizen to stay highly challenged on a new level, the level of high development. Then the nation will become and stay a super nation.
Braden Heron
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Posted Mar 25, 2009 - 4:29 PM:

Gulanara, I like the point you made about adhering to an easy life. This is present on a physical level (ie, stressing mucles in order to make them grow) and in the animal kingdom (eg animals that have the toughest beginings generaly have the highest adult survival rate) so why could this not be true on a larger level?
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