Author: vertical and horizontal source: Zhonghua city (id:hqsycn)
Nowadays, the United States and even the whole west have many similarities with the ancient Roman Empire. One of the typical manifestations is to show the hegemonic dividend through the predatory economy, and then unite the whole country and nation.
However, the Roman Empire has perished, the United States?
The reasons for the demise of the Roman Empire are the focus of many historians in the world. Among them, the reasons include excessive expansion, financial crisis (such as excessive currency issuance, currency depreciation, inflation, heavy debt), economic crisis, slavery economy, land annexation, foreign invasion, etc. some historians have written millions of words, but they still can not exhaust the reasons one by one.
This article can not say all of them, but only one point, that is, when the predatory economy of the Roman Empire could not maintain the hegemonic dividend, the Empire was destroyed.
1? Rise and fall of Empire
In 510 BC, the Romans expelled the former king’s tyrant Lucius tacovinsupeb, ending the Roman monarchy era and establishing the Roman Republic. The state was divided into the Senate, the consul and the comitia Tributa and was elected. (it was the period of the Roman Republic at this time, and it was not until 27 BC that the period of the Roman Empire in the strict sense began.).
At its peak, the Roman army was invincible, and a large number of expeditions brought huge wealth and taxes to Rome. When a large amount of wealth was brought into the Roman capital, it not only brought luxury to the Roman nobles, but also brought high benefits to the Roman citizens.
At that time, as long as they became Roman citizens, even ordinary citizens, they could live in low rent houses provided by the government, get free bread in the square, and watch free performances in the theater every holiday.
In today’s society, only countries like Dubai in the Middle East can do this.
However, the streets of Rome are also covered with swimming pools, gyms and other public facilities. Due to government subsidies, people can enjoy these “luxury facilities” at a very low price.
The government would give subsidies regularly, and the victorious Roman army would also distribute part of the looted wealth to the people.
The high welfare brought by war plunder and foreign exploitation made Roman citizens highly identify with and loyal to the country. This kind of public identity and loyalty also brought high-quality soldiers to the Roman army and enhanced its combat power.
In 147 BC, the famous Roman general sippia bloodwashed Carthage and wiped out the last enemy. From then on, no one along the Mediterranean dared to compete with the Roman Empire, and the Roman Empire also reached its peak.
However, it was from this moment that the decline began. The hegemonic dividend was intercepted by the Roman nobles, and the people began to move towards extreme poverty.
When the Roman soldiers who had been fighting for years returned to their hometown, they found that the land they had owned had already been sold to the nobility by their hungry families. As a result of land annexation, Roman citizens could only enter the city to seek a living. However, the perennial war brought a large number of free slaves to the nobles. There were not many jobs left for Roman citizens, and they began to go to extreme poverty.
When people’s welfare declines, or even goes to poverty, it is inevitable that their sense of identity with the country will decline and their loyalty will decrease, because their earlier identity and loyalty were built on high welfare.
Then came a series of reversals. The Roman army could not get a high-quality source of soldiers. The Roman army, which originally only recruited Roman citizens, began to recruit foreigners, and also began to use mercenaries. These armies had no sense of identity with the Roman state, and they were only loyal to their employers, so another new problem emerged: the chaos of warlords and the decline of state authority (similar to the Emperor Zhou and the spring and Autumn Warring States period).
Since then, the Roman Empire fell into continuous turmoil and recession, internal warlord scuffles, continuous uprisings, and external barbarian invasions, facing domestic and foreign troubles.
In 180 ad, mark Aurelius’ death officially ended the golden age of the Empire.
In 375 ad, the Xiongnu who could not defeat China was invincible on the European plains, which led to a large number of Germanic people pouring into Rome and accelerated the collapse of the Roman Empire.
In 395 ad, Rome was divided into East and West. Rome was the capital of Western Rome and Byzantium was the capital of Eastern Rome.
In 476 ad, the warlord odoyak deposed the emperor Romulus Augustus, the official demise of Western Rome.
Looking back, from the early Republic of Rome to the later imperial period, it prospered because of the hegemonic dividend brought by the predatory economy, but also died because of the gradual disappearance of the hegemonic dividend.
During this period, it was not that reform had not been attempted, but all the vested interests put them out one by one. For example, from 134 B.C. to 121 B.C., the glagu brothers tried to reform one after another, trying to distribute the land occupied by the nobility to the people, but without exception, the brothers and their followers were either murdered or massacred by the Senate.
2? United States
History is gone, and there is no turning back. But looking at the United States and even the whole west today, there are many similarities with Rome in the past.
Far from it, only from the era of great sailing.
In the age of great navigation, the West plundered a large number of treasures from all over the world, and ships of gold, silver and jewelry were transported back to Europe, establishing a high welfare society for Western Europeans.
During the period of industrial colonization, they obtained enormous wealth by occupying a large number of colonies, dumping industrial products and levying taxes on the colonies, and continued to maintain the hegemonic dividend.
Time has come. Now, the West plunders the world by promoting globalization, controlling high technology and occupying the top of the global industrial chain, so as to maintain its own hegemonic dividends and the high welfare of the people.
The typical representative is the United States.
It has the most powerful military in the world. It protects American hegemony by plundering the world directly (such as fighting Iraq and Libya) or indirectly (such as protecting the dollar hegemony); The hegemonic United States reaps the world by means of technology tax, Seigniorage tax and dollar hegemony, bringing high welfare to the people. How high are the benefits in the United States? The United States, which accounts for 6% of the world’s population, consumes 35% of the world’s resources, 35 times that of India and 13 times that of China per capita; People who receive high welfare, maintain a high degree of recognition and loyalty to the United States, and then provide a continuous stream of high-quality troops for the U.S. military… Is this cycle the same as in ancient Rome?
? US aircraft carrier fleet video screenshot
But just as the Roman Empire declined and eventually collapsed, the United States could not continue this model forever. As long as one of the links went wrong, it would decline.
Today, the U.S. military is still strong, but like the excessive expansion of the Roman Empire in the past, the U.S. pursuing global expansion has gradually exhausted;
The new revolutionary technology has not yet appeared, the original technology has gradually been caught up by the backward countries, and the scientific and technological plunder of the United States (the West) has become increasingly difficult.
The hegemony of the US dollar still exists, but more and more countries are beginning to realize that it is not a way to be plundered by the United States. More and more countries are beginning to “de dollarize” and even openly confront the US dollar. The most typical countries are Russia, Iran and other countries.
When plundering becomes more and more difficult, the hegemonic dividend maintained by a predatory economy will inevitably lead to the gradual disappearance of the hegemonic dividend, the decline of public welfare, and then a series of problems. As you can see, the extreme right wing in western countries has begun to rise. The people are becoming more and more dissatisfied, the people are becoming more and more torn, class and ethnic antagonisms are becoming more and more serious, zero dollar purchases are being staged from time to time, and populist leaders such as trump and Le Pen are beginning to step onto the western political stage.
From a certain point of view, Trump’s coming to power is the product of the decline of the US hegemonic dividend and an attempt by the us to repair the hegemonic dividend, just like the reform of the gragu brothers in the Roman period. However, as a powerful class, trump did not dare and would not attack domestic dignitaries, so he had to “ask for help” from abroad. Many of his means were to try to plunder more from abroad (such as trade war and science and technology war). Faced with acts that could increase their own welfare, the American people naturally shouted long live and rallied for support.
However, just as the Roman Empire could not sustain its hegemonic dividends by means of predatory economy, neither could the United States.
Like the Roman Empire, the decline of the hegemonic dividend was accompanied by the interception of the hegemonic dividend by the American elite.
Since the beginning of the last century, the United States has begun to transfer industries outward, which has led to the growing wealth of the rich in the United States, while the income of ordinary Americans has not increased and their living standards have been stagnant.
In 2019, the richest 10% of the population in the United States accounted for 70.7% of the wealth of American society, and the bottom 50% of the population accounted for only 1.5% of the wealth of the United States. From March to December 2020, the wealth of American billionaires increased by $1.1 trillion; Among the top 10 richest people in the world, their wealth increased by $540billion, Tesla CEO musk alone increased by $155billion, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg increased by $37billion, and Amazon CEO Bezos increased by $68billion. At the same time, 8million people in the United States have returned to poverty, 20million people have lost their jobs and 10million people have fallen into hunger.
The past does not forget the lessons of the future. When the predatory economy of the United States (the West) can not maintain the American hegemonic dividend for a long time, when the decline of welfare leads to the decline of people’s sense of identity and loyalty, and the powerful class begins to intercept the hegemonic dividend… Perhaps the United States just repeats the story of the Roman Empire in the past.
American States and immigrants of all colors (including white people from Europe) depend on the dollar and the hegemonic dividend as the glue to unite them. Once the dollar fails and all the dividends are lost, what else can glue them?
In the end, only the three British Islands remained in the British Empire. Even though Ireland has split away from this last territory, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are also fighting for independence. It has not been achieved that only the current centripetal force of Britain can restrain them.
The reason why the Soviet Union disintegrated was largely the same – it was only for profit. However, when the Soviet Union disintegrates, there will still be one Russia left. I wonder what will remain when the United States disintegrates?