Predictions of a Rome-like fall of the United States are exaggerated. Here’s why:
- The United States may have some political instability, but it is still a republic. The 500-year democratic Roman Republic had some unrest and civil wars, which led to the rise of the empire. Emperors ruled with corruption that led to coups and assassinations. The U.S. is undergoing a period of political upheaval, and the country is often split on major issues. There is animosity between the two sides. Still, the United States is a democracy, with checks and balances.
- The economy could improve, but it is about to collapse. Rome was constantly engaged in wars and overspent to protect the borders of its huge empire. When expansion slowed due to stronger opponents, the supply of cheap slave labor and additional taxes disappeared. Rich Romans paid less tax. There was also a growing trade imbalance between Rome and China and India. The U.S. economy is not dependent on colonies or slave labor. The rising inequality between the rich and the poor has led to political repercussions and unrest. Still, low unemployment and the country’s steady annual GDP growth rate indicate a stable economy.
- The military situation is vastly different. After fighting off all challengers for centuries, Rome’s military power waned. An internal revolt deposed the Emperor Romulus Augustus’s, who was the last Roman emperor to rule Italy from Rome. The Eastern part of the Empire survived until Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. The United States has powerful military opponents like Russia and China, but a major conflict involving a nuclear power seems unlikely due to mutually assured destruction. Asymmetrical warfare like terror attacks or cyberattacks might cause a decline in American power, but they are not likely to result in a serious military loss.
- The United States is not in a cultural and social decline. Some Americans believe that the nation is undergoing a weakening of its values. The country is transforming from a Christian white-majority nation into an ever-more diverse population. Some historians blame the Rome’s decline on overspending and dumbing down of Rome via gladiator games and wild living. Pessimists compare this to America’s preoccupation with sports and reality TV stars.
- One risk in the United States comes from technology—complete automation, major life-extending medical advances, and space exploration. The Romans did advance technology, but their life was not upended because all the jobs were suddenly staffed by robots. This change might occur within the United States during this century.
Source: 5 Reasons Why America Will Not Collapse Like the Roman Empire
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