leadership after the fall

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Closed

athena

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
5,032
Eugene, Oregon
Some believe the US will never fall as Rome did but what if did? If we there were no establishment above us controlling us with laws and policies we would need leaders to organize us for our survival. What qualities of leadership do we want?
 

Jake10

Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
11,960
Canada
Every empire falls in time. But, that's not to say that society completely falls apart; it's just that the nation does not have as much influence over other nations any more. There will always be some form of leadership. Be it by elections or takeovers. There are no crystal balls that we can use to foresee that, but I think it'll probably be through elections, even if some people end up unhappy with the results.
 

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,412
Albuquerque, NM
The OP's primary topic, it seems to me, is what sort of leadership would be optimal when central organization disintegrates and disappears. For example, after the 5th century in Europe a vacuum was created with the fall of Rome. In that instance, once Rome no longer had the ability to lead European development the focus became localized strong men (War Lords), but a centralized authority did remain, and that was Western Christianity. What ensued was what we now call the Medieval Period that lasted about 1000 years (5th to late 14th centuries). Feudalism proved to be a rather stable system with everyone occupying the position in life that God intended ... or so most Europeans believed. This is a very interesting period, and we can learn much from it.

From that history, we might infer that if the emerging global culture/market were to fail, and disappear within a relatively short time humanity would shatter back into smaller more insular groups, most likely led by the modern versions of the 5th century War Lords. That isn't an unreasonable expectation, but I believe it is far too simplistic and unlikely given the changes in human values, expectations, literacy, science, technology and engineering that has been accelerating since the mid-16th century.

People, even in the worst catastrophe will, if they survive at all, still be aware of fundamentals and will use the surviving infrastructure to recover the lost within a relatively short time. Some libraries would continue to exist, and people will not go from literate to illiterate in a generation, or less. Once one has learned the Scientific Method, it isn't easy to un-learn. And, so on.

Certainly in some parts of the world, War Lords who exist today might tighten their control over populations made weaker after disaster. On the other hand, small isolated communities in the United States, might find a strong resurgence of Public Service and dedication to democracy if the Federal Government no longer existed. States might still exist built on the foundations of communities brought together to survive and recover what was lost. Politicians would have to once again go out on the husking with toothy smiles and baby kisses to gather a base of support and votes.

Without knowing the circumstances of a world without satellite communications or high speed international travel we can only speculate. The sea lanes are unlikely to change, and surviving merchant vessels will still carry valuable cargoes to distant shores. In North America the Age of Rail might return, with passengers crowding depots like they did back in the mid-20th century. Our world is highly dependent on electricity, and any disruption of that would have serious consequences for every living human, but Mother Nature might nod her approval. No petro-fuels to run generators, would merely increase the necessity of generating electricity by other means. Survivors of the cataclysm would be able to bring limited electrical power back to some local communities within weeks or months of grid failure. This would require a change in how we look at things; instead of larger complex systems, the new beginning might instead focus on the small and sustainable for at least the time it would take to restore the larger infrastructure.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,996
Australia
Secession from the Union is the most likely outcome. The US will revert back to a pre-federated model. California and Texas will likely lead this movement. Society is unlikely to completely break down but there will be severe economic turmoil for a while. It depends on how the various social programs are handled and how the federal and states debts are resolved.
 
Last edited:
Jul 2010
1,374
N/A
The question belies a type of reader that thinks America is too important to fall :lol: Nothing would happen if it did and the sun would still come up tomorrow. Did the world fall over when the UK fell over in the 1940s? No it did not. America is a country not an ideology. Americans tend to place too much significance on their place in the world. The rest of the world doesn't owe America a packet of skittles, cheerios and a can of Dr. Pepper.

Its the insularity of self-begotten importance that makes America think the world owes them something. The rest of the world would change its currency to some other standard such as the pound/yen/euro/whatever and we would all go about (after some financial turmoil as we have seen with the GFC) with our normal daily lives.

American Exceptionalism is a myth.
 
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Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,770
Australia
The question belies a type of reader that thinks America is too important to fall :lol: Nothing would happen if it did and the sun would still come up tomorrow. Did the world fall over when the UK fell over in the 1940s? No it did not. America is a country not an ideology. Americans tend to place too much significance on their place in the world. The rest of the world doesn't owe America a packet of skittles, cheerios and a can of Dr. Pepper.

Its the insularity of self-begotten importance that makes America think the world owes them something. The rest of the world would change its currency to some other standard such as the pound/yen/euro/whatever and we would all go about (after some financial turmoil as we have seen with the GFC) with our normal daily lives.

American Exceptionalism is a myth.
I don't think the OP was claiming any sort of US exceptionalism, but asking what sort of society would emerge if the US gradually lost its cohesion and its government was no longer able to function.
 
Jul 2010
1,374
N/A
I don't think (given the current global financial crisis) that anything much would happen at all. A few people lost their houses, a few companies went out of business. The world will go on regardless of America as it has done for the last 200 thousand years since the first anatomically modern human beings walked this earth.
 

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,412
Albuquerque, NM
It is highly unlikely that the U.S. would suddenly find itself returned to the late 19th century metaphorically speaking, without the same series of events affecting every other modern State. Modern technology based on petrochemicals and electricity has led to centralization and demographic shifts away from primary agriculture, that we all become vulnerable. If any of the industrialized nations utterly fails, the effects would be global affecting every State. Globalization was born with the Age of Discovery, and has grown at faster than linear rates.

The conflicts between ideologies with real capacity to completely dominate the world typified the 20th century, and since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and evolution of Chinese "Communism", competition has shifted from Battle Fields to Board Rooms. True Believers in old Ideologies remain, but increasingly competition is economic. "Wars are bad for business" may not be exactly true, but has become the Global Slogan. All of humanity is more connected than at any time since we left Africa in search of a better, more secure life for our family and tribe. Conflicts remain that reach back for thousands of years, but in the Global World those conflicts are increasingly irrelevant.

Whether it the trend could be reversed or not is unknown, but this is a trend that is very powerful. Economic failure among the most advanced States is certainly possible as National Debt problems across Europe and Eurasia have demonstrated already. Could the U.S. or P.R.C. suffer economic failure? Yes indeed. Comparatively there will be disagreement, but I would put my bets on the strengths of the US over the PRC.

The principle threats to our world are: a new Pandemic that decimates humanity, Global Environmental Change, or the Wild Card ... something major occurring from outside our planetary orbit. Disease knows no boundaries, especially in the 21st century. Being struck by a "planet busting" asteroid , or a visit from little green men needing a new home could do it. Both those alternatives would affect our entire species, but in the long term either might turn out to have some positive outcomes.

The Climate is changing as it always has been, but the rate of change seems linked to the rise of Industrialized society beginning around the mid-17th century. Rates of change have steadily increased, but only became alarming after the mid-20th century. There some hopeful signs that environmental degradation can be reverse, i.e. reversal of the hole in the Ozone. Whatever the cause of Climate Change, it must be dealt with. Mother Nature can be diddled with, but at risk of her retribution. Climate Change is, like disease and arrival of something from off-earth, something that affects the whole species, not one segment alone.

The sudden eruption of a super-volcano might hasten Climate Change enough to threaten us all. Earthquakes can shake a society to pieces, but not continental sized nation states.

Bottom line: We are all in this together now. What happens to one, happens to all.
 

unclefred

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
6,731
Oregon coastal mountains
The rapid change in technology is shrinking the world, our perception of it, and this is driving rapid change in civilization and culture. As it has throughout history. The anxiety generated by these changes seems to reveal itself, for many people, in fears of destruction and what may be lost rather than looking forward and in what will be gained.
 
Jul 2010
1,374
N/A
It is highly unlikely that the U.S. would suddenly find itself returned to the late 19th century metaphorically speaking, without the same series of events affecting every other modern State. Modern technology based on petrochemicals and electricity has led to centralization and demographic shifts away from primary agriculture, that we all become vulnerable. If any of the industrialized nations utterly fails, the effects would be global affecting every State. Globalization was born with the Age of Discovery, and has grown at faster than linear rates.

The conflicts between ideologies with real capacity to completely dominate the world typified the 20th century, and since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and evolution of Chinese "Communism", competition has shifted from Battle Fields to Board Rooms. True Believers in old Ideologies remain, but increasingly competition is economic. "Wars are bad for business" may not be exactly true, but has become the Global Slogan. All of humanity is more connected than at any time since we left Africa in search of a better, more secure life for our family and tribe. Conflicts remain that reach back for thousands of years, but in the Global World those conflicts are increasingly irrelevant.

Whether it the trend could be reversed or not is unknown, but this is a trend that is very powerful. Economic failure among the most advanced States is certainly possible as National Debt problems across Europe and Eurasia have demonstrated already. Could the U.S. or P.R.C. suffer economic failure? Yes indeed. Comparatively there will be disagreement, but I would put my bets on the strengths of the US over the PRC.

The principle threats to our world are: a new Pandemic that decimates humanity, Global Environmental Change, or the Wild Card ... something major occurring from outside our planetary orbit. Disease knows no boundaries, especially in the 21st century. Being struck by a "planet busting" asteroid , or a visit from little green men needing a new home could do it. Both those alternatives would affect our entire species, but in the long term either might turn out to have some positive outcomes.

The Climate is changing as it always has been, but the rate of change seems linked to the rise of Industrialized society beginning around the mid-17th century. Rates of change have steadily increased, but only became alarming after the mid-20th century. There some hopeful signs that environmental degradation can be reverse, i.e. reversal of the hole in the Ozone. Whatever the cause of Climate Change, it must be dealt with. Mother Nature can be diddled with, but at risk of her retribution. Climate Change is, like disease and arrival of something from off-earth, something that affects the whole species, not one segment alone.

The sudden eruption of a super-volcano might hasten Climate Change enough to threaten us all. Earthquakes can shake a society to pieces, but not continental sized nation states.

Bottom line: We are all in this together now. What happens to one, happens to all.
Your argument puts too much faith in America, and in globalisation. It also is quite repetitive which is indicative of poor academic style. I hold no faith that we are either dependent upon America or globalisation for that matter.

I have no qualms in believing that America is just another state. During the 19th and 20th century we saw the change between the British empire and the United States. Just as we did before we will eventually see the rise of another empire.

Your argument also falls on the lines of traditional bigotry. If it is the PRC that takes the lead as the next candidate then so as it will be. China is not a communist nation in its traditional sense anyhow. Your argument in that sense continues to fall into the department of "well if it wasn't for us in America you'd all be speaking Chinese..."

Maybe, but so what? Even with a significant Spanish minority, even with large migrant populations in most of the developed Western nations most people still fail to learn a second language. Maybe now would be as good a time as any to learn a second language whether it be Spanish or Chinese.
 
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