Very interesting link by a reader. I was already aware of three fourths of the article but some of it was brand new to me.
Declining civilisations are a lot like a Monty Python skit where people are screaming a bridge is about to collapse and they are inquiring of a crowd if any of them are engineers. Several real engineers hold their hands up but nobody calls on them. Instead, they ask a baker, a hairdresser and a florist what they think should be done about the dangerously unstable bridge. The engineers finally get discouraged and they trudge off downcast. As soon as they are out of frame, the bridge collapses. That's the basic story of the end of the previous 40 or so civilisations we know about.
A friend of mine a couple of years back told me about the Roman Emperor given a tour of the watermills at the edge of the empire where two guys had figured out how to do the work of a thousand slaves grinding bread flour simply by using water power. I went off and read a little bit more of the background on the watermill in the last days of Rome. Sure enough, the late Roman Empire had a half a dozen inventions that could have transformed their lives overnight and reversed their fortunes. Nobody had the brains to try to deploy any of them as solutions. Instead, civil servants were coming up with oxen powered warships (decks covered with manure waist deep in a day) and mice trained to catch grain beetles to control spoilage (Mice poo and fleas as opposed to tighter barrels, which worked in the Byzantine Empire). The exact sort of solutions you would expect to get from a guy with an IQ around average and way too much authority. Stuff that just made things worse.
I continue to be amazed in the present era where you compare the confidence and self-assurance of the self-appointed ruling class on television with the results they are getting. You'd think that with their societies crumbling around them on a daily basis, they might be humbled and start to wonder if the direction they are urging us all in is actually working. It is their special gift to be nearly impervious to feedback. No matter what happens they continue to blame the problem squarely on the existing limitations on government power (which are increasingly non-existent) and believe with religious style zeal that the earthly paradise is always just one more emergency legislation session away. Only a temporary extension of State power, you see … until the "crisis" passes. Except every week there seems to be a new "crisis."