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Long-term cycles escape our notice because they play out over many years or even decades; few noticed the decreasing rainfall in the Mediterranean region in 150 A.D.
But, this gradual decline in rainfall slowly but surely reduced the grain harvests of the Roman Empire, which, coupled with rising populations, resulted in reduced caloric intake for many people.
This weakened their immune systems in subtle ways, leaving them more vulnerable to the great Antonine Plague of 165 AD.
The decline of temperatures in Northern Europe in the early 1300s led to “years without summer” and failed grain harvests, which reduced the caloric intake of most people and left them weakened and more vulnerable to the Black Plague, which swept Europe in 1347.
I’ve mentioned the book The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire a number of times as a source for understanding the impact of natural cycles on human civilization.
It’s important to note that the natural cycles and pandemics of 200 AD didn’t just cripple the Roman Empire; this same era saw the collapse of the mighty Parthian Empire of Persia, the kingdoms of India and the Han Dynasty in China.
In addition to natural cycles, there are human socio-economic cycles of the debt and decay of civic values and the social contract: a proliferation of parasitic elites, a weakening of state finances and a decline in the purchasing power of wages/labor.
Debt and Its Eventual Collapse
The rising dependence on debt and its eventual collapse is a cycle noted by Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratieff and others. In fact, Peter Turchin listed these three dynamics as the key drivers of decisive discord of the kind that brings down empires and nations.
All three are playing out globally in the present.
In this context, the election of Donald Trump in 2016 was a political expression of long-brewing discontent with precisely these issues:
The rise of self-serving parasitic elites, the decay/corruption of the social contract and state finances, and the decades-long decline in the purchasing power of wages/labor.
Which brings us to karma, a topic of some confusion in Western cultures more familiar with Divine Retribution than with actions having consequences even without Divine Intervention, which is the essence of karma.
Broadly speaking, the U.S. squandered the opportunities presented by the end of the Cold War 30 years ago on hubristic Exceptionalism, wars of choice, parasitic elites and an unprecedented waste of resources on unproductive consumption.
Now the plan — for lack of any real plan — is to borrow trillions of dollars to fund an even more spectacular orgy of unproductive consumption, on the bizarre belief that “money” can be conjured out of thin air in essentially infinite quantities and squandered, and there will magically be no consequences of this trickery in the real world.
Actions have consequences, and after 30 years of waste, fraud and corruption being normalized by the parasitic elites while the purchasing power of labor decayed, the karmic consequences can …read more
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