“A mature civilization is caught in an entropy trap from which escape is well nigh impossible. Because the available energy and resources can no longer maintain the existing level of complexity, the civilization begins to consume itself by borrowing from the future and feeding off the past, thereby preparing the way for an eventual implosion. As Homer-Dixon puts it, Rome ‘literally burn[ed] through its capital’ in increasingly desperate efforts to stave off collapse.” William Ophuls, Immoderate Greatness
Das ist freilich kein selbstfahrendes Schicksal und konnte in früheren Fällen zumindest verzögert werden – hundert oder zweihundert Jahre.
Reform and revival are not inconceivable, only extraordinarily difficult and costly. Ataturk’s foundation of modern Turkey on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire and the success of the Meiji Reformation in Japan show what can be done with vision and leadership. But fundamental reform always involves ‘creative destruction’, as both the Turkish and Japanese cases illustrate.”