‘Wealth, Energy, and Human Values: The Dynamics of Decaying Civilizations from Ancient Greece to America’
Accordingly, the foundation for societal advancement is placed on restrictive scientific definitions, principles and concepts of energy and wealth consumption, rather than solely on behavioral perspectives derived from empirical data and historical events. This perspective of dynamic cultural forces is systematically and extensively developed and applied to the cultural deterioration and collapse of ancient
Wallace notes that no civilization has been able to avoid ultimate deterioration and collapse as a result of excessive materialism, greed, financial insolvency and militarism. As Toynbee points out, “A society does not ever die ‘from natural causes,’ but always does from suicide or murder — and nearly always from the former.” History demonstrates that during cultural maturation, social, economic and political processes inherently and continuously produce an accumulation of self-imposed societal complexity, disorder, bureaucratic stasis and materialistic values and behavior. Ultimately, civilizations become exhausted as they abuse wealth and energy resources and become dominated by a lack of ethics, integrity and cultural altruism.
Classic characteristics of cultural self destruction, or “suicide,” are manifest in the American culture and include: the massive invasion of illegal immigrants; inept management of Gulf Coast hurricanes; massive corporate and governmental complexity; corruption, inefficiency and financial insolvency; inequitable wealth distribution; an inadequate health care system; inferior public education; escalating incivility, crime and poverty; and the debilitating socioeconomic costs of continuous wars. The histories of General Motors, Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, illegal immigration and the environmental degradation of the Chesapeake Bay provide case studies of the nation’s cultural deterioration.
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