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Peak Empire

Discussions about the economic and financial ramifications of PEAK OIL

Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Wed 23 Aug 2017, 17:07:56

The US empire is held together by the $, the Navy and TV selling the dream.
China is the obvious replacement
The $ will be challenged more and more but there will need to be a universal acceptance of the Yuan for that to become complete.
The Navy will also be challenged by technology,islands and China's inland silk routes of road and fast rail to maintain trade.
The American dream sold through Hollywood is still a powerful drug China cant compete with yet,at the moment you would say its buying the dream not selling it.
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 23 Aug 2017, 17:35:06

Nice post Tanada, very clear thinking.

I don't want to confuse this concept of EMPIRE with EXTINCTION. I know it's tempting to draw back and look at the big picture, but there is also something to looking at individual components as well.

Shaved, I get that China would seem the natural next empire. And maybe it already is, we just don't recognize it. Debatable.

I'm thinking that either the US empire, already in decline, never fully transfers to China. Or that China never fully realizes empire in the context we understand now.

Thinking as I type here, Dutch to Britan was not hard, both European naval states. Britan to USA was not hard, the same Protestant work ethic in both places, circumstances forced the transfer. Brits had over extended and exhausted itself, America was remorse rich and relatively unscarred by the world wars.

But China? I'm not feeling it. I get that they are the great producers, they have energy. But they also have some BIG problems. They are a mature country, with limited per capita resources of food and water. They can build and sell, but they also need to buy heavily to feed their people. They sell items that are useful (and vast amounts of junk) but they buy calories and water. Their is no vacant undeveloped space (India or interior lands) to develop. They NEED existing healthy trade partners to survive.

Is China important? A giant? Absolutely! A global empire? Not so sure.
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Subjectivist » Wed 23 Aug 2017, 18:57:06

Newfie wrote:Nice post Tanada, very clear thinking.

I don't want to confuse this concept of EMPIRE with EXTINCTION. I know it's tempting to draw back and look at the big picture, but there is also something to looking at individual components as well.

Shaved, I get that China would seem the natural next empire. And maybe it already is, we just don't recognize it. Debatable.

I'm thinking that either the US empire, already in decline, never fully transfers to China. Or that China never fully realizes empire in the context we understand now.

Thinking as I type here, Dutch to Britan was not hard, both European naval states. Britan to USA was not hard, the same Protestant work ethic in both places, circumstances forced the transfer. Brits had over extended and exhausted itself, America was remorse rich and relatively unscarred by the world wars.

But China? I'm not feeling it. I get that they are the great producers, they have energy. But they also have some BIG problems. They are a mature country, with limited per capita resources of food and water. They can build and sell, but they also need to buy heavily to feed their people. They sell items that are useful (and vast amounts of junk) but they buy calories and water. Their is no vacant undeveloped space (India or interior lands) to develop. They NEED existing healthy trade partners to survive.

Is China important? A giant? Absolutely! A global empire? Not so sure.


World wide empires are kind of a new thing, really dating from the 1700's. Sure Spain claimed a world Empire in 1500's but it was very loose, small numbers of missionaries and priests suppressing nassive native populations and frequently using some of them to enslave the rest. In the 1600's the Dutch built a trading system with Indonesia but that was hardly an Empire, they held part of Java and had a few scattered outposts. Finaly in the mid 1700's the British and French had a series of wars with each other and the Dutch and Portugese to settle who had trading rights in each territory. It asn't until the mid 1800's that the British took over the trading rights of the British East India Company, the Hudson's Bay Company and other chartered companies that had controlled India and North America. The 13 colonies were a tiny smudge on the edge of the map whike the Hudson's BayCompany had everything east of the Rocky Mountains north of Lake Superior.

If you talk about ancint empires like Rome or Persia or China they were about the size of modern Mexico or maybe Brazil. Who says if China takes over financially their current size is too small to be the most important country? That is really what "World Empire" used to mean.
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Ibon » Wed 23 Aug 2017, 19:48:19

Didn't the Roman Empire drag on for a couple hundred years before the onset of the dark ages? Maybe our global civilization will drag on for a couple hundred years and the break up will be gradual as well. I kind of agree that there is no emerging empire on the short term horizon that will replace the US.
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Subjectivist » Wed 23 Aug 2017, 20:27:54

Ibon wrote:Didn't the Roman Empire drag on for a couple hundred years before the onset of the dark ages? Maybe our global civilization will drag on for a couple hundred years and the break up will be gradual as well. I kind of agree that there is no emerging empire on the short term horizon that will replace the US.


The Western Roman Empire started falling apart around 410 AD and kept falling for about 250 years but the Eastern Roman Empire changed its name to Byzantine Empire and survived into the 1400's when a combination of western Crusaders and Islamic armies dealt it repeated blows and it was conquered by the combination. After that the Islamist's gradually pushed the crusaders back to western Europe and conquered the Balkan region of the Byzantine Empire, which is why the Muslim population there was the highest in Europe until France invited Algerians to migrate into their country in the post World War II era.
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 24 Aug 2017, 04:44:16

The period of decline is more to the point. If there is no obvious successor then the USA can hang on for a while longer providing some stability.

Maybe, if we don't tear ourselves apart internally.
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Thu 24 Aug 2017, 18:42:38

Stability is subjective
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 24 Aug 2017, 19:18:32

Yeah, and it's all just speculation anyway.

Most likely I'm gonna be surprised at what actually does happen.
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby baha » Fri 25 Aug 2017, 13:05:33

It all comes down to money. As long as the dollar is strong we can continue to rape and pillage :) If the petro-dollar crashes we will be instantly broke.

Can the empire afford another Katrina or SS Sandy? It's going to be interesting how the current administration deals with Harvey. Every president gets criticized after a disaster. It's a good thing Texas can take care of itself...

Ok, now it's a toss up...who will kill us first? Our neighbors, other countries, or Mother Nature. Stay tuned :)

BTW - My son-in-law is in the Coast Guard, stationed in Corpus Christi. He flies on a rescue helicopter. My wife's daughter, him and the kids have all headed inland. I think he's going to be busy when this is all over.
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Sun setting on US empire

Unread postby AdamB » Sun 11 Feb 2018, 20:08:20

Leading US economist Laurence Kotlikoff says he remains optimistic about solving the big structural problems plaguing global finance, but he has a grim prognosis for the US if it doesn't change fiscal and monetary policies. "We're heading the way the British Empire went, its inevitable" he says. "The [US] dollar is going to give way to the Yuan as the global currency at some point, its just a matter of time." Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston University and will be in New Zealand next week as the Sir Douglas Myers Visiting Professor to Auckland University. He was named by The Economist as one of the world's 25 most influential economists and in 2016 and that year he ran for the US Presidency as a write-in candidate. He's also a New York Times best-selling author. While he has a strong reputation his ideas


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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 04:29:54

Back in the 1980's the speculation was that Germany and Japan were the USA's natural successors because unlike most democracies they practiced fiscal discipline and were not rushing down the rabbit hole of deficit spending with the same glee as the USA/UK/France at that moment in time. In the last three decades however with the end of the cold war the social forces have changed to the point that much, though not all, of that fiscal discipline has been put by the wayside in favor of buying votes much in the manner of USA/UK politicians in the post WW II era. Germany still has one of the best saving rates of any democratically elected nation, however they have spent the last decade in a massive malinvestment in diffuse intermittent renewables and closing their nuclear power plants as quickly as manageable. They also tried to look like the world good guys by throwing open the doors to a flood of poorly educated immigrants which has strained their social safety net to the breaking point.

If China can succeed then it appears they will be the clear world leader in the next period, however Russia should not be ignored as a contender. Both nations have morphed from Stalinist Communism into a system more akin to National Socialism where the government supports business with one hand but constrains it for social and national benefit with the other. The USA dances around this idea but on the one hand the things government encourages business to do are not beneficial for the society as a whole and on the other hand the blatant vote buying by government officials is driving us into destruction levels of debt. It is as if the USA took the mirror image of the system now succeeding so well in other countries as our model starting in the 1960's and after 50+ years the consequences are catching up with the extreme spending.
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby diemos » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 18:27:00

Harumph.

China has morphed into a standard crony capitalist oligopoly, communist in name only.

Russia has descended into petro-fueled gangsterism.

I wouldn't put any money on russia to be anything but a nuisance in the future. China on the other hand I expect to start throwing its weight around significantly.
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 18:33:58

Tanada wrote:
If China can succeed then it appears they will be the clear world leader in the next period,


If the country is a row boat there are three paddles, the government, private enterprise and the citizens. In China they have all been paddling in the same direction in quite a coordinated fashion since the little blip in the Tienanmen square.

What about the paddlers of the US rowboat?
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Re: Peak Empire

Unread postby Plantagenet » Mon 12 Feb 2018, 18:44:42

Ibon wrote:
Tanada wrote:
If China can succeed then it appears they will be the clear world leader in the next period,


If the country is a row boat there are three paddles, the government, private enterprise and the citizens. In China they have all been paddling in the same direction in quite a coordinated fashion since the little blip in the Tienanmen square.

What about the paddlers of the US rowboat?


In the US everyone paddles in their own direction. Its maddening sometimes.

But this isn't necessarily worse then the situation in China where everyone follows the Great Leaders orders and goes in the same direction, because the Great Leader is occasionally wrong and runs the whole country up on the rocks (to continue your rowboat analogy).

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