Simon Black over at SOVrEIGN MAN looks at the lessons of civilization's histories and finds the cyclical pattern of "civilized" human experience.
Throughout the 18th century, for example, France was the greatest superpower in Europe, if not the world.
But they became complacent, believing that they had some sort of ‘divine right’ to reign supreme, and that they could be as fiscally irresponsible as they liked.
The French government spent money like drunken sailors; they had substantial welfare programs, free hospitals, and grand monuments.
They held vast territories overseas, engaged in constant warfare, and even had their own intrusive intelligence service that spied on King and subject alike.
Of course, they couldn’t pay for any of this.
French budget deficits were out of control, and they resorted to going heavily into debt and rapidly debasing their currency.
Stop me when this sounds familiar.
The more things change, the more they stay the shame...which is the same thing as defining insane, no?
The French economy ultimately failed, bringing with it a 26-year period of hyperinflation, civil war, military conquest, and genocide.
Looks like we are approaching another critical juncture in the cycle of human civilization's decline. Debt and debasing of the currency is the hallmark of all civilizations in decline...but Simon points out a common feature in the history of collapsing civilizations and empires - when the rulers in debt are borrowing money to simply pay the interest of the debt, the end of the world as one knows it is nigh.
In 1868, the Ottoman government spent 17% of its entire tax revenue just to pay interest on the debt.
And they were well past the point of no return where they had to borrow money just to pay interest on the money they had already borrowed.
The increased debt meant the interest payments also increased. And three years later in 1871, the government was spending 32% of its tax revenue just to pay interest.
By 1877, the Ottoman government was spending 52% of its tax revenue just to pay interest. And at that point they were finished. They defaulted that year.
This is a common story throughout history.
And we all know what happens when a Government defaults. We have some very recent instances of this very phenomenon occurred 13 years ago in Argentina.
Which brings us to the present day.
USA Inc. is currently in the phase of borrowing money to "service the debt." SOVrEIGN MAN illuminates the situation:
Taking this into account, total US interest payments in Fiscal Year 2013 were a whopping $415 billion, roughly 17% of total tax revenue. Just like the Ottoman Empire was at in 1868.
Here’s the thing, though– it’s inappropriate to look at total tax revenue when we’re talking about making interest payments.
The IRS collected $2.49 trillion in taxes last year (net of refunds). But of this amount, $891 billion was from payroll tax.
According to FICA and the Social Security Act of 1935, however, this amount is tied directly to funding Social Security and Medicare. It is not to be used for interest payments.
Based on this data, the amount of tax revenue that the US government had available to pay for its operations was $1.599 trillion in FY2013.
This means they actually spent approximately 26% of their available tax revenue just to pay interest last year… a much higher number than 17%.
So apparently, while it looks like we are at the point the Ottoman Empire was at in 1868 -- 9 years away from default in 1877 -- we are actually closer to the Ottoman Empire in 1871's 32% of tax revenue to service the debt.
But the pattern is unmistakable.
Bankster usury to fund indebted Government operations appears to be the primary means for bringing empires to ruin.
Considering the global nature of the economy, the ability to manipulate the masses with mass media propaganda and hide the extent of the problem until it is too late, we probably don't have 6 years until our own inevitable default.
In any case, if one doesn't consider the financial situation of the world's centrally planned economy and the usurious debt nearly all nations are in to the global banking cartel as a sign of impending collapse, you can always look at the arc of the cultural zeitgeist instead, to see we haven't much time left as a "civilized society" -