The United States is in the Last Stage of Empire

The Seven Stages of Empire theory, also known as the Life Cycle of Empires is attributed to Sir John Glubb, a British soldier, scholar, and author. In his 1976 book The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival, Glubb analyzed the life cycle of empires and proposed that they tend to go through seven distinct stages:

  • The Age of Pioneers
  • The Age of Conquests
  • The Age of Commerce
  • The Age of Affluence
  • The Age of Intellect
  • The Age of Decadence
  • The Age of Decline and Collapse

According to Glubb, empires typically last hundreds of years. He based his theory on his study of various empires throughout history, including the Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Arab, Mameluke, Ottoman, Spanish, and British empires.

Mike Maloney adapted Sir John Glubb’s Seven Stages of Empire theory 10 years ago

Mike Maloney, a precious metals investor and financial educator, has adapted Sir John Glubb’s Seven Stages of Empire theory to create his own version. Maloney’s Seven Stages of Empire focuses more on the economic and monetary aspects of the rise and fall of empires. The stages are:

  • Sound Money: The Empire starts with a sound monetary system, often based on gold or silver.
  • Age of Conquest: The Empire expands through conquest and accumulates wealth through plunder and tribute.
  • Age of Commerce: The Empire experiences a period of economic growth and prosperity, with increasing trade and wealth creation.
  • Age of Affluence: The wealth and prosperity of the empire reach their peak, with a high standard of living and abundant luxury.
  • Age of Debt: The Empire begins to accumulate significant debts, both public and private, to maintain its affluence and finance further expansion.
  • Age of Decline: The Empire’s debts become unsustainable, leading to currency debasement, inflation, and a decline in economic and military power.
  • Age of Collapse: The Empire’s economy and political structure collapse under the weight of its debts, often accompanied by social unrest, war, or invasion by other powers.

Maloney argues that the United States, as well as other modern nations, is currently in the later stages of this cycle, particularly the Age of Debt and the Age of Decline. He advocates for a return to sound money, such as a gold standard, to prevent or mitigate the potential collapse of the current monetary system. Here is a brief interpretation of how we see the Seven Stages of Empire.

Sound Money is the first stage of empire in the US

The United States developed a sound money system based on gold and silver shortly after gaining independence from Great Britain. The key events in the establishment of the US monetary system include The Coinage Act of 1792, the Coinage Act of 1834, the Fourth Coinage Act of 1873, and the Gold Standard Act of 1900.

The US remained on the gold standard until 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102, prohibiting the private ownership of gold coins, gold bullion, and gold certificates. This Act carried out by FDR in 1933 was the first big devaluation of our currency and a major development in how our currency functions today. The Federal Reserve Bank would also be in charge of the US central banking system.

The US expanded through conquest, purchase, and annexation

The United States expanded its territory and influence through various means, including conquest, purchase, and annexation. The US did acquire wealth and resources through territorial acquisitions. Some key examples include Native American Displacement, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, the Hawaiian Annexation, the Panama Canal Zone, and the Guano Islands Act. While the US did not typically demand tribute from conquered territories, it did benefit from the resources, land, and strategic advantages gained through these acquisitions. The country’s economic growth and industrialization were fueled, in part, by the raw materials and markets provided by these new territories.

The United States experienced significant periods of economic growth and prosperity

The United States experienced significant periods of economic growth and prosperity, particularly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and then again following World War II. This growth was driven by the Industrial Revolution, the Westward Expansion, immigration, and technological advancements such as the assembly line, electrification, and the internal combustion engine. Following the end of World War II, the US experienced a period of rapid economic expansion, driven by factors such as pent-up consumer demand, the GI Bill, suburbanization, and the rise of the middle class.

In the latter half of the 20th century, the US benefited from increased international trade and investment, as well as its role as a global financial center. The rise of the service sector, including industries such as healthcare, education, and technology, has contributed to economic growth and job creation in recent decades. These periods of economic growth and prosperity contributed to the rise of the United States as a global economic power, with a high standard of living and significant wealth creation.

Wealth and prosperity in the US could have peaked in the 1950s and 1960s

The exact timing of the peak of US wealth and prosperity is a matter of debate and depends on the specific metrics and historical interpretations used. However, many economists and historians point to the post-World War II period, particularly the 1950s and 1960s, as a time of unprecedented economic growth, high living standards, and widespread prosperity in the United States.

Several factors contributed to this period of affluence in the US as the economy experienced rapid growth during this time, with low unemployment, high productivity, and rising wages. The post-war period saw the rise of a large, prosperous middle class, fueled by factors such as the GI Bill, suburbanization, and increased access to education and home-ownership. The 1950s and 1960s witnessed a boom in consumer spending, with the widespread availability of new products and technologies, such as televisions, automobiles, and household appliances. In the aftermath of World War II, the US emerged as the world’s preeminent economic power, with a strong manufacturing base and a thriving export market. With the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944, the US currency was also pegged as the world reserve currency. Huge military-industrial complex spending would be needed to guard and protect this world reserve currency status.

Since the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, the United States has been involved in several major military conflicts. Some of the most significant ones include the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the Gulf War, the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, the NATO Intervention in Libya, Operation Odyssey Dawn, and the US-led coalition of countries in a military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.

The Age of Debt accelerated in the late 20th century here in the United States

In 1971, President Richard Nixon ended the convertibility of the US dollar to gold, effectively terminating the gold standard and ushering in the current era of fiat currency. Our “gold dollar” completely became a “credit dollar”. During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the US experienced significant tax cuts and increased military spending, which led to large budget deficits and a growing national debt. The late 20th century saw a rapid expansion of consumer credit, including credit card debt, auto loans, and student loans. This was fueled in part by financial deregulation and the growth of the financial services industry.

The early 2000s witnessed a boom in housing prices and a corresponding increase in mortgage debt. The War on Terror started in 2003 and accelerated debt even more. The subsequent collapse of the housing market in 2007–2008 led to the Great Recession. The birth of Quantitative Easing then took effect. In response to the Great Recession, the US Government implemented a series of stimulus measures, including increased government spending and low interest rates, which further increased the national debt. Today the national debt, corporate debt, and consumer debt are all at record highs.

It can be argued that the US Empire is in the age of decline

Several arguments suggest the United States may be experiencing a decline in its economic, military, and geopolitical dominance, which could be interpreted as signs of imperial decline. The US faces increasing economic competition from rising powers such as China, as well as mounting public and private debt, income inequality, and the potential for long-term fiscal strain due to factors such as an aging population and rising healthcare costs. Some economists argue that the US dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency may be under threat, particularly given the rise of alternative currencies and the potential for global economic shifts.

The US military is involved in numerous global commitments, which some argue have led to over-extension and strain on resources. The rise of asymmetric warfare and the increasing cost of modern military technology have also raised questions about the sustainability of US military dominance. The global balance of power is shifting, with the rise of new powers such as China and India, as well as the resurgence of Russia. This has led to increased competition and challenges to US influence in various regions.

Is the US entering or experiencing the last stage of empire?

Some scholars, political commentators, and economists have argued that the United States is entering or may soon enter a period of imperial collapse. They point to several factors that they believe indicate a significant decline in US power, stability, and global influence. Growing income inequality, de-industrialization, a shrinking middle class, and the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of small elites are seen by some as indicators of economic decline and potential instability. Increasing political polarization, gridlock, and a perceived erosion of democratic norms and institutions are seen as signs of political dysfunction and decline. Racial tensions, social division, and a sense of cultural fragmentation have led some to argue that the US is experiencing a period of social upheaval and instability.

The costs of maintaining a global military presence, engaging in protracted conflicts, and shouldering the burdens of international leadership are seen by some as unsustainable and contributing to imperial over-extension. Climate change, resource depletion, and an aging population are viewed as long-term challenges that could undermine US stability and prosperity. Our great country is more divided than ever. Realistically we might want to call this the Age of Preparation. As individuals, we need to prepare mentally, socially, politically, and financially. This has never been more important. Is the US going to return to be a great republic of the people or is more government overreach and instability inevitable? Is the US closer to collapse or rebirth? Place your bets and let your voice be heard.

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