BRT has talked often about collapse with four factors being the prime driver of same.
- Corruption of the state, dictated and run by the upper 1/10 of 1% and the banks and corporations that represent, as George Carlin said, The Real Owners of the Country.
- Inept leadership. Congress & the Presidency, bought and paid for by the elites.
- Environmental degradation whereby resources are plundered non-stop as seen by the depletion of food stocks in the oceans and continued pollution of the land/sea and food as seen by fracking and the introduction of GMOs into the food supply.
- Destruction of infrastructure, driven by the moving of monies to the parasitic military/industrial/congressional complex dictated by the same elites who run the country.
Sound familiar? America has witnessed a similar cycle of oligarchic corruption starting in the 1760s, 1850s, 1920s, and 2000s:
Economic Royalists infiltrate critical institutions and rig political and economic systems to favor elites. 1760s: Royal governors run roughshod over colonial farmers; The East India Company, whose investors were primarily wealthy aristocrats, is given monopoly trading rights in the colonies. (The Tea Act was basically a corporate tax break for it.) 2000s: Vice President Dick Cheney’s company Halliburton is given no-bid contracts to handle military services in Iraq; American taxpayers bail out failed banks; Billionaire Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary; America’s medical system is dominated by profit-maximizing, health-minimizing insurance companies.
Rigged systems erode the health of the larger society, and signs of crisis proliferate. Developed by British archaeologist Sir Colin Renfrew in 1979, the following “Signs of Failing Times” have played out across time in 26 distinct societies ranging from the collapse of the Roman Empire to the collapse of the Soviet Union:
- Elite power and well-being increase and is manifested in displays of wealth;
- Elites become heavily focused on maintaining a monopoly on power inside the society; Laws become more advantageous to elites, and penalties for the larger public become more Draconian;
- The middle class evaporates;
- The “misery index” mushrooms, witnessed by increasing rates of homicide, suicide, illness, homelessness, and drug/alcohol abuse;
- Ecological disasters increase as short-term focus pushes ravenous exploitation of resources;
- There’s a resurgence of conservatism and fundamentalist religion as once golden theories are brought back to counter decay, but these are usually in a corrupted form that accelerates decline.
The crisis reaches a breaking point, and seemingly small events trigger popular frustration into a transformative change. If the society enacts effective reforms, it enters a new stage of development. If it fails to enact reforms, crisis leads to regression and possibly collapse.
Remember, phase transitions are never linear. The French revolution started when 7 prisoners were liberated from the Bastille.