–excerpted from LeaderShift
The Five Laws of Decline
(and how they apply to the fall of Rome)
- Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of Anything is Crud
90% of the Roman politicians & senators were crud. Most weren’t leaders and looked only for ease and comfort. Others looked for illicit gains made possible by the powerful Roman army.
- Bastiat’s Law: Humanity’s desire to satisfy their wants by doing the least amount of work possible (property vs. plunder)
When Rome defeated Carthage, Rome’s first satellite territory produced grain & income for the Romans. For the 1st time Bastiat’s Law clouded the minds of the hardworking Romans, who began to enjoy money & food without effort. The Romans, as all people, liked the idea, and thy initiated wider wars to bring more cities & kingdoms into the Roman fold.
- Gresham’s Law: When bad behavior is rewarded, more of the bad behavior will be done & will in turn drive out the good behaviors.
This drove out the nobler characters in politics, because they would not play the power games needed to thrive in the newly corrupt Rome. Leadership of Rome was no longer based on duty & honor, but instead upon desire to control the means of force to plunder outlying possessions. This brought more Machiavellian characters into Rome, and with the death of both Cato the Younger and Cicero, Gresham’s law was fully realized.
- The Law of Diminishing Returns: The point @ which increased quantity produces lessoned quality.
This law kicked in when, through continuous expansion, Rome grew from a city to an empire extending across much of Eurasia & Northern Africa. Neither the Senate, nor later, the Caesars were capable of leading such a vast area of varying cultures or nations. With the plunder from numerous lands entering Rome, the local citizens were bought off with bread & circuses, bringing the decline of the Roman citizens as well as their government.
- The Law of Inertia: An object @ rest tends to stay @ rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
Conditions were so bad at the end of the empire that the people hardly resisted as the barbarian hordes overran their city. Rome was exhausted under its own weight of decline at work. In truth, many of the citizens no longer felt the Roman way was worth saving, with taxes, regulations and plunder at unsustainable heights.
Rome fell, in other words, because it first opened the door to the Five Laws of Decline by governing territories. Furthermore, instead of closing the door, it swung the door wide open until it drove out the older Roman virtues and replaced them with greed for money & power.