There have been ups and downs in every society since the dawn of human time. Everything that goes up must come down, and this also applies to empires.
One of the most important things you can do as a nation is keep your citizens happy. This seems to become less and less the priority of nations today. All they seem to be worried about is political games, staying in office, pleasing rich friends and partners, and making sure the people believe what they want them to believe.
But we are starting to see a big shift. Mainstream media has been exposed as being propaganda and fear-mongering, so people are starting to ignore it more than ever. People see what is going on around them, there is no way to distract them from the problems anymore. Their first solution was always to give the people bread and games, distract them and they won’t revolt, but the people are waking up from these distractions and are starting to see what is really going on.
But people who are discontent and feel like they are being lied to are not really anything new, this has happened countless times throughout history. From the French to the Russians to the Americans, when people are so discontent with everything that is going on, they’ll revolt. What happens then is a revolution, which can be quite peaceful, but can sometimes be quite violent too.
Revolutions have occurred numerous times in history and they have all followed a similar sequence of events. When we can decipher what this sequence is and what causes it, we can predict possible future revolutions. To do this, let’s first look at what revolutions are, how they happen, and then we're going to put this in the perspective of our times and how close we may be to a revolution.
What is a revolution?
A revolution is a time when people rise up (sometimes peacefully, sometimes violently) and demand a radical change in the power structures that exist. Revolutions have always started because of some discontent amongst people. The people in power are seen or perceived as abusing their powers and not doing enough for the people. When the discomfort civilians experience has reached its threshold, everything erupts into chaos. With revolutions, it's always the final straw that breaks the camel's back, meaning: when the last little thing gets added to the bucket list of problems, complete chaos erupts in an instant, and it’s suddenly 0 to a 100.
When the discontent is so extreme, when the people are really having trouble putting food on the table, or if the contrasts between the classes of rich and poor are too large, people will demand change. It can start when something really small happens that makes the people say: we are done with those in power, or it could be something larger, like a famine that happened before the French Revolution, or Bloody Sunday in the Russian communist revolution.
With a revolution, the existing power structure gets challenged, and most are forced to abdicate or make radical changes to their disadvantage. This is a phenomenon that has played out in numerous massive scenarios of revolutions completely changing an entire nation, here are the three biggest:
- The French Revolution, where people were upset with their monarchs and felt like they were looking only after themselves and not the people. The final straw came when a famine broke out, and from it, total chaos erupted, mainly after the storming of the Bastille. They overthrew the monarchy, put a new government in place, and beheaded the King and Queen. The power vacuum this created gave way to the rise of military general, and later emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte.
- The Russian Revolution, where the people were discontent with the power figure in their country, in their case the Tsar. So they overthrew the government, killed the Tsar, and in his place established a communist government, which would eventually become one of the most barbaric regimes in history.
- The American Revolution, where the American people were done with their colonial oppressors of the British Empire. They were done with being a colony and being controlled by some other power overseas and wanted sovereignty over their own land. So the American people fought the British and won, claiming independence and establishing their own democracy.
"I am the revolution!" ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
The internal cycles of empires
Every empire that has ever existed follows the same internal cycle every single time and the steps within these cycles almost always follow each other up. This in turn makes you able to predict the future by looking at what stage we are at now, and what stage generally follows. This internal cycle happens in every empire for a reason, they are based on human nature, and how humans are going to act based on the circumstances. It's based on the human tendencies for greed, laziness, and power. The steps of the cycle all follow a very logical sequence and always follow each other up.
After we’ve gone through the six cycles, we can speculate about which step we are in now, and what the next step most likely will be. But first, here are the six steps of the internal cycles of empires:
Phase 1- The first phase is the one where power is subjugated. The people who won the war, the election, or the revolution, figure out the power structure and how matters are going to get decided.
What is important to note, and what happens every single time, is that after a revolution there is not going to be a fair and just government, that’s just not human nature. Instead, the winners of the revolution have all the power and they get to decide everything.
But now at least an order is created and with that, the country goes into the next phase which is…
Phase 2- The rebuilding, or simply building phase. After it has been made clear who gets to make the decisions and how there is a phase of building. Building wealth, buildings, resources, power, and relationships with businesses or other countries. After everything has been built up, most of the struggle is over, which means that society gets a lot more comfortable. But now the strong men that built their society are still present, so now they put all of their efforts into the prospering of their society, which leads to the next phase…
Phase 3- The prosperous phase, where the country is at its best. There is peace, there is wealth, there is innovation, everyone is productive, and everything seems to be going extremely well. This was a phase where the West was in from about 1960 to 1990. Everything seems to be going extremely well, but this period is only temporary, because the strong men who have built society eventually die, and in their place comes the next generation who have always lived in comfort, and come to expect and demand it. They are not as strong as their previous generations, so eventually their weakness will be their downfall. in the next phase all of the prosperity that their fathers built is going to collapse…
Phase 4- When a country becomes decadent, its people become weak, distracted, and less productive and innovative. This means that the growth of a country first stagnates, and then significantly decreases. During this period, wealth gaps also widen, as the rich want to become richer, and the government makes more debt, which it tries to repay by loaning money from the central bank. The central bank prints this money, which means there is more money available than before, and through supply and demand, this money becomes worth less and less, resulting in inflation. This makes the poor poorer and the rich richer, which will eventually lead to the next stage, where tensions arise…
Phase 5- Dissatisfaction grows amongst the people. Things get worse, every metric by which you can measure a society declines: education, innovation, productivity, and wealth gaps. The amount of people living in poverty gets larger and larger until they stand up and demand that the rich get less rich. This obviously doesn’t happen, so most of the time this leads to people demanding change. They will first try this peacefully, but when that doesn't work they will go for the violent option, which means: Revolution which is the last stage…
Phase 6- Chaos and/or Revolution: Now that tensions are at their highest, the powerful don’t want to lose any of their power and the poor people are getting wrecked, conflict breaks out, sometimes violent, sometimes not. When they keep it to peaceful measures, methods are tried to change the system from within. The people demand change, mostly in the form of elites giving up their power, or compensating the people. When this doesn’t succeed, which it often doesn't, the situation becomes violent, and forceful attempts are made to overthrow those who are in power. When this attempt succeeds, we start all over again, and a new order of power will be established, making the cycle repeat, again and again…
Which part of the cycle are we in?
If we take a look at the various steps of this internal cycle, we may see things that seem familiar. Let's look at the first stage, where power was subjugated, we can see that this happened just after the Second World War, when power switched from the British Empire to the United States, with the Americans making the rules and deciding how things were done on the world stage. They created the United Nations, which they are essentially in charge of. This too came out of a period of chaos where America got the opportunity to grab power, something that happens in phase six. Although it was not a revolution, the chaos of a large-scale war has a similar effect.
Phase two, the rebuilding phase, also took place after the Second World War, but if we look at revolutions again, it happened also in France after the French Revolution, and a recent example is Dresden, which was built back up after the communists ruined it before the fall of the Soviet Union.
The decadence phase is almost synonymous today with the Roman empire, where their society crumbled from within from increased comfort, eventually leading to their downfall. This also seems to be the phase we are in right now. We have become so comfortable in our society that we’ve come to a point where we constantly have to be cuddled. You can't say possibly offensive things anymore because you could hurt someone's feelings, whereas it used to be that the line was only drawn at physical violence, not words.
You can also see the level of comfort a society operates at by what their problems are. Humans want to solve problems, it’s all we do. We need problems to fix, because if everything was perfect, then the world would simply be too boring. So what happens when there are no real problems is that people create the problems themselves. They start to think of problems to fix, no matter how small, because then they at least have something to do. We can see this with the problems we have created and exaggerated to keep ourselves busy. The issue of the alphabet people, climate change, wanting to be inclusive all the time, etc. These are problems that have never been problems, but now that people have nothing else to worry about, they need something to keep themselves occupied.
What we can also see is how much is going wrong in our society, and we see people demanding change, radical change. Wealth gaps have never been as high as they have been in the last 10 years, and the middle class is getting destroyed. These things are common reasons for revolutions most of the time.
Other metrics by which society is measured are also going down: Education, crime, understanding of roles in society whether gender or quality-based, and many more. But it sometimes almost seems like this is one big plan. All the pieces tend to fall into place for the right people. The only thing they need to do is stop the people from rising up, from causing a revolution. How are they going to do that, you might ask.
Well, I’ve already written a blog talking about their plan and how they're going to implement it. It's the second section of this blog, so read that if you want to know more about revolutions, and how they will try to prevent one.