Signs of Decline
Historians sometimes propose theories about the rise and fall of civilizations. Edward Gibbon famously wrote The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published in six volumes from 1776-1789.
Today, scientists offer "scientific" explanations for the rise and fall of empires. Jared Diamond won a Pulitzer Prize for Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (1997). In 2005 he followed with Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. He downplays cultural factors and elevates natural resources, with ecological and geographic contexts, to explain why societies succeed or fail.
Not all scientists, however, find...
is the executive editor of Salvo and Touchstone magazines.Get Salvo in your inbox! This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #33, Summer 2015 Copyright © 2023 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/article/salvo33/license-amp-renewal