chelsea mapp

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Will America fall like Rome?

As we all are aware of Rome was the global trade network of the world thousands of years ago. It can also be debated that America is a prominent trade network ,today in comparison to other countries. Is it a matter of time before America falls as Rome did?

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    Gail .

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    Nov 21 2012: Cities and countries throughout the ages have always followed the 2nd law of thermodynamics. They rise, they fall. They may keep the same name, but they change so fundamentally that they are not the same country.

    Here is an interesting talk about the decline.

    But times, they are a-changin'. Never before in recorded history have humans known so much about how life works as we now know. I am convinced that we are on the brink of making nationalism (oppressive governments - either on a national or global scale) obsolete. I see this as a GOOD thing, not a bad thing.

    It probably won't occur until the economy fails, as it is almost certain to do in the near future. It is unsustainable in its present mode. Then religions will fail alongside it and we can start again with a more sustainable way of life.
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      Nov 21 2012: My advise would be to ignore this bizarre talk by Jared Diamond

      His data is cherry picked and does not mention any major societies. He does not show any data just conjecture based on the cherry picked data. This is junk science with an agenda.

      He says there is none of the factors are more important than the others. This is by definition unscientific.

      No mention of the importance of the rule of law, private property, debt, the importance of the scientific method, trade and exchange, etc etc

      Like I said bizarre
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        Nov 22 2012: It may seem bizarre to your agenda, Pat, but your comment gives an involuntary but good example of how lobbyism works beyond the point of the 'ignoring phase'. It launches the 'insulting phase' ... :o)

        Jared Diamond's talk is only bizarre to those who refuse to see the 'bigger picture'. To those who deny the finiteness of resources on which our 'system' crucially and exclusively depends on. And to those who choose to remain ignorant against common sense.

        To ask scientific data for the obvious is not only useless it is a dangerous delaying tactic in this context!
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          Nov 22 2012: What are we on the verge of running out of?

          How is asking for scientific data useless? At the very least what is most important about what needs to change?
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        Lejan .

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        Nov 22 2012: 'What are we on the verge of running out of?'

        Thank you Pat for another good example, as this sort of question is exactly the 'dangerour' of the delaying tactic I was talking about.
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        Nov 22 2012: Thanks, I have one ... :o)
  • Nov 29 2012: The game has changed since Rome. It used to be all about military, economic, and technological might.
    Now it is more about individual and "collective" brainpower, creativity, and initiative .
    With globalization and the internet these qualities are beginning to span national boundaries as people
    connect and collaborate irrespective of national boundaries - so it is not so much a case of America falling as
    it is the rest of the world rising, particularly China.
    In terms of individual brainpower, perhaps measured by graduate science/technology degrees, the US is behind China and makes up for it to some extent with immigration.
    In terms of "collective" brainpower, creativity, and initiative the US is ahead of China which censors the internet.
    As a test of this premise I would like to hear your TED story about
    how you somehow connected with someone from mainland China?.
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    Nov 21 2012: It will fall, the image is that Rome fell slowly but this is a metaphor. I would look at how the USSR broke up or Argentina. It will probably happen quickly the reason for all is economic. The USSR who's source of income was imperialism, the U.S. and Argentina and the UK because of debt caused by socialism.

    Everything has a cycle a beginning, growth and an end including countries I would look at this video to understand the economics of this process.
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      Nov 21 2012: Yes, I totally agree.

      The strength of the USA is the S part.

      I believe that if the states are granted the opportunity to determine the field of competition - this is the only way for them to realise their full capacity.

      Look at the states now?

      At one time, I was in awe of the states - i promoted the idea of Australia petitioning to join the union.

      But lately, I'm glad we didn't .. the personality media based federalism in the USA seems to have wrecked the dream.

      So I fully support the secessionist movement that kicked off after the US election. But the petitionists will have to be aware that to get true independence, and a chance to compete freely - not only must they Secede from the union - they will also need to secede from th Corporation of the USA.

      Only then will the states be clear to max-out.

      GO Yanks!

      (edit: P.S. - did you get the email from Obama? I did, and I haven't read such a vacuous meaningles document in all my days. His assertions ar hollow - he talks about energy independence, but hidden in there is his lack of will to allow the American people get on with it - he wants to get the applause for it all!)
      • Nov 21 2012: Actually Mitch,
        I think the real strength of the U.S. is the us part.
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          Nov 21 2012: hmmm .. "us" can mean a lot of things.If you mean "harmony" then I think you are right. But at the state level the original spirit of close aliegence is being hijacked to assume a harmony without consent.
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        Nov 21 2012: Mitch

        Federalism mean a division of power between the states and the Fed. What we have now is all of the power going to a central government which is unconstitutional through agencies and czars under the Executive branch. Federalism is a good thing in this instance. Other wise yes secession is a constitutional right of the states. Except Lincoln violated the Constitution and began the decent into a central power that we have today. The only problem with corporation is when they are subsidized by government.


        The us is not what it used to be and is easily manipulated. Imo this is due to a culture of entitlement instead of freedom. Anyway the way to get this back is though decentralization which mean shrink government and government spending.
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          Nov 21 2012: Hi Pat,
          "culture of entitlement instead of freedom" - spot-on!

          I often bang-on about perception and agency and all that guff - but the whole thing revolves around "advantage". If anything living - from bacteria to humans does not obtain advantage, it is toast.
          Our whole organism-base operates to get a thing we call "freedom" .. you could say "options" .. this is not so much teh variety of things in a shop, but the options one has open to get on with being alive. this freedom includes a range of advantage and disadvantage. Any sane person will normally choose the advantage, and only choose a small disadvantage in order to gain future advantage - and that includes getting along with other people. No one will choose a disadvantage that leads to no freedom at all.
          But there are our "governments" trying to force all these choices on us - removing our freedom.

          Yes, I am not in favour of blank welfare to individuals or companies. If there is a need for spreading risk, then it would work better as a development grant. But there had better be a strong case for returns.
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      Nov 21 2012: You are being overly pessimistic Pat. I have a feeling that life will go on like it used to. Do not give in to the pessimism and keep in mind that somebody wants you to feel like that, and has a reason in it.
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        Nov 21 2012: Keep in mind that emotion has nothing to do with what I'm saying. Your profile says you are an investor, how much conjecture is there in economics?
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          Nov 21 2012: Markets are strange beasts. You know what to do when everybody starts talking about the end of the world, don't you?
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        Nov 21 2012: Yea but would you invest in a start up in Greece right now? One in the U.S. where healthcare was an impending issue because the business is a service that is heavily dependent on labor?
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    Nov 21 2012: Here is a review of a book by a historian who argues that, while this comparison has become something of a fad, there is no good basis for such a comparison:

    He makes no specific predictions of America's changing role in the world but argues that comparisons with Rome are not very instructive on the matter.
    Here is another very short article, the second half of which summarizes why this comparison is far more popular in the work of journalists than of scholars. You can zip past the opening stuff about Jared Diamond's book and go to where the author addresses the subject at hand.
    I hope these help you think about your question.
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    Nov 23 2012: Empires grow until the size of the empire makes it impossible for those in control of the empire to control it. The US economy has grown to the point where it can no longer sustain itself so it relies on others for sustanence. As this reliance grows it gives power to the source of sustanence. Just as Europe became reliant on the new world and lost its dominance to the new world the US becomes reliant on Asia and will lose its dominance to Asia. Then Asia will becaome reliant on Africa etc etc
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    Nov 21 2012: If Americans realize their money is worthless, yes.
    There is no age after the golden, in history. Our major export revolves around entertainment, as well as slave wages... If will not fall, we should.
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    Gail .

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    Nov 21 2012: I have a book called "Sex In History". It details the fall of Rome from that aspect.

    It says that hot baths and lead water pipes caused sterility or low sperm count, which combined with culturally accepted homosexuality accounted for an insufficient number of births. They legislated mandatory sex between husbands and wives, but that didn't fix the problem. When there were not enough educated (elite) Romans to run the country, they looked for leaders in Greece and other places throughout the empire. These new leaders maintained allegiances to their native lands, and unfair trade practices favoring their native lands began to destroy the Roman economy. We do have the unfair trade practices in common.
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    Nov 21 2012: Like Argentina. In 1916 Irigoyen was elected and promised fundemental change, mandatory insurance, mandatory health programs, low income housing, and taxes to support the changes. More was going out than coming in. Then Peron was elected and attacked the rich with taxes to compensate. When that failed the middle class was targeted. The government begin to grow and farms closed to work for the government. No crops and no meat. Hyperinflation hit in 1989 due to the states intervention in the economy. The government printed more money and inflation hit 3000%. By 2002 all was lost. In 100 years Argentina went from the third wealthest country in the world to poverty stricken.

    Yuri Bezmenov laid out the plan that the USSR had set for the demise of the United States and step by step[ we have followed the plan to the letter. This can be seen on you tube.

    In my opinion ... who ever won this election was in trouble, but there was still a chance of stopping the blood flow and revive the economy. By the end of the next four years the economy will be like that of Argentina and the fate the same. The lack of understanding of what was occuring to the US and our economy by the citizens has doomed us. To educate and involve the people is no longer a option. The class warfare we have entered was one of the final stages. The discrediting of religion was another. Check and check.

    The movie Eva and the song by Madonna .. Don't Cry For Me Argentina ... were a warning that went unheeded.

    The history of Argentina is available for you to validate my statements ... you make the compairson ... the rest is my opinion.

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      Gail .

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      Nov 21 2012: As you know, I am a proponent of a moneyless society, but I will set that aside for the moment.

      You neglect to mention Germany, that went from the poorest nation with uncheckable inflation - major starvation - to the most economically stable and prosperous in only 2.5 years. How? It printed its own money rather than borrowed it into existence. After WWII, the banks came back into the picture, and now all are endangered.

      As to religion being discredited, I'm glad you see that and surprised to see you admit to it.
      • Nov 21 2012: "It printed its own money rather than borrowed it into existence." Is not an explanation. That is what got them into trouble, in the first place. gives some hints as to how they got out of it: currency backed by commodities. What amazes me is that countries have learnt these lessons several times, and yet, people and politicians of a newer generation forget it all and go back on that path.
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          Nov 21 2012: And there in lies the problem. It is amazingly difficult to get people to look. I think Yuri mentioned that once people have been indoctrinated it is impossible to change their thinking.

          I will say though that it has been done at least once that I know of in Canada.
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          Gail .

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          Nov 22 2012: My reading of your suggested web page (that deals with the hyperinflation of the post WWI Versailles Treaty in the 1920s) supports what I hoped I said as it pertains to national banks. My mention of Hitler's fiscal system (1930s) with no national banks (the equivalent of tossing the FED that was regulating money) wasn't mentioned in the wikipedia link.

          America has been prosperous every time it issued fiat money, and has gone into decline every time it teemed up with the banks who issue debt as money.

          I should have made the time frame clear. Sorry about that. :-)
      • Nov 22 2012: @TL: National banks are irrelevant. The issue is about the basis for a currency. The link I posted shows an example of the danger of fiat money, which was eventually corrected by a commodity-based currency. I will not speak about debt-based currencies because the concept is too far from first-principles, and therefore, understood to mean different things by different people.

        "America has been prosperous every time it issued fiat money, and has gone into decline every time it teemed up with the banks who issue debt as money."
        How do you define "prosperous"? If you were to look at the amount of disposable income, measured against a commodity ( you'll see that Americans now are less propserous than they were at the end of WW2! And things are only getting worse. If you were to measure "prosperous" in terms of USD, you'll get an entirely different impression.
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          Nov 22 2012: You're not making a lot of sense here. You can't disregard the fed and national banks in a discussion of current fiscal models. Our currency IS debt. Those dollars in your wallet are only promissory notes.

          Of course America is far less prosperous than it was in the 50s. Do you think that most people aren't well aware of that?
      • Nov 22 2012: @Grace Greene: What do you mean "current fiscal models"? "Current" in academics or "current" policies in use?

        "Those dollars in your wallet are only promissory notes."
        Sorry, that only works on the gullible. What is it that these dollar notes promise? If I were to give you 10 Frum Dollars that promise to pay the bearer 10 Frum Dollars, how impressed would you be?

        "Our currency IS debt."
        Try this:
        Many people would say we have fiat currency, not debt currency. Now, do you understand why I do not discuss the term "debt based currency"? Use a more concrete term, and I'll happily discuss it.
        "Since silver coins are significantly heavier than gold ones, the Treasury printed out promissory notes on paper that were legal tender redeemable in silver dollars. These were silver certificates."

        "Of course America is far less prosperous than it was in the 50s. Do you think that most people aren't well aware of that?"
        Pay attention to the comment I'm replying to. What awareness do you infer from TED Lover's comment?
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          Nov 22 2012: Most Americans who closely follow economics understand that all money in the United States comes into existence as debt. Either the Federal Reserve authorizes its creation when the U.S. government BORROWS money from one of its banks, or banks create it (invent it into existence) when they use fractional reserve banking to make loans to customers.

          When Hitler stopped borrowing money into existence, he created money without incurring interest on debt. That new currency became the currency of the realm because the currency before that had utterly and completely collapsed. In only 2.5 years, Germany went from destitute to thriving. After the war, the bankers re-instituted borrowing money into existence, and we have what we have today - an unstable and unsustainable economy that will never be able to pay off all the loans plus the interest that is never printed into existence.

          Yes, our currency is backed by "faith", but it is borrowed into existence by private bankers. Hitler based the value of his mark on labor and production of the German people. We used to have a metal-backed currency. That is no longer true. Gold certificates and silver certificates are no longer exchangeable for gold or silver, which was their original purpose.
      • Nov 22 2012: @Grace Greene:
        "Hitler based the value of his mark on labor and production of the German people."
        This is untrue. The Wikipedia article I mentioned earlier indicates that the mark was first linked to the quantities of rye grain, and then to quantities of gold.

        "...Germany went from destitute to thriving..."
        Only because goods and services could then be honestly valued against each other in a stable manner. If I work today for 10$, and I spend the money today, I can buy 10kg of potatoes. If I choose not to spend this money today, but spend it next year, I'd probably be able to buy only 9kg of potatoes with it. 1. This means that the currency is unstable. 2. It encourages me to find work closer to the place where it is produced, so that I can reap its benefits before it trickles down to the others. This work, because it is decided by government policies and not inspired by market demands, will be, by definition, rather useless, but well-paying.

        So, coming back to your original statements to me,
        "You're not making a lot of sense here. You can't disregard the fed and national banks in a discussion of current fiscal models."
        Whether you agree with my explanation or not, do you agree that I am trying to make a case that debt is of secondary importance to the problem? Do you agree that I am trying to make a case that a commodities-based currency is a step in the right direction?
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          Nov 22 2012: TL & I refer to Hitler's time but you keep going back a decade. Very different times and very different economic models.

          "We were not foolish enough to try to make a currency backed by gold of which we had none, but for every mark that was issued we required the equivalent of a mark's worth of work done or goods produced. . . .We laugh at the time our national financiers held the view that the value of a currency is regulated by the gold and securities lying in the vaults of a state bank."

          - Adolf Hitler, quoted in "Hitler's Monetary System,"

          The Wikipedia mention of rye wheat-backed currency is the only reference of such that I have been able to find. If you follow this history of the mark, you will see that for most of the time you mention, Germany was on the gold standard. Before that, it was the papermark for a time. It was America that forced Germany into that horrible depression. And the Great Depression was caused by the federal reserve.

          Just because you read it on the Internet does not mean it's true. Anyone can write an article and post it on Wikipedia.
      • Nov 22 2012: @Grace Greene:
        "The Wikipedia mention of rye wheat-backed currency is the only reference of such that I have been able to find.... Just because you read it on the Internet does not mean it's true. Anyone can write an article and post it on Wikipedia."

        Are your search skills are supposed to be a reflection on me? Hint: German documents are not in English. Try

        Gold or rye, my point about commodities remains the same. Though I consider gold a superior backing for currency, that is beside the point here.

        But I confess, the initial omission of time period kept me thinking of a different time-frame from that point on. Coming to Hitler, his price-control policies worked only for a short period of time. Is it really worth studying as an example of successful monetary policy? Inflation soon caught up to him.
        • Nov 22 2012: I am not sure if you speak german, but if you do, you could easily discover that here has never been a "wheat-backed" currency, as this was only one of several theories, but never made it into reality. This so called "Roggenmark" (Ryemark) never existed.

          In that time period you talk about we had two currencies besides each other, the so called "Rentenmark" (more or less official, but highly accepted and trusted by the population) and the official "Reichsmark".

          The Roggenmark was only an idea how to stabilize the currency, but this was solved sucessfully by the Rentenmark. She was quickly followed by the Reichsmark, but the Reichsmark was not trusted that much by the people, to avoid "new old problems" they simply let the Rentenmark survive as a second currency inside germany, not really official, but also not illegal.

          The Rentenmark was not touched by the inflation (because the ammount was fixed, they never printed new money of that currency), that is why it survived so long even it was already "unofficial".

          By the way, what pat gilbert mentions below is true, "we" germans hate inflation, but love the idea of deflation. Its of course only a feeling, as both have negative effects on economy, but germans are scared only by inflation, even today. If you tell us a coming deflation, we appear pretty relaxed, and most of us secretly dream of a coming deflation, as this reminds us of better times (this "trauma" is emminent, even my generation cries about the loss of the D-Mark, as the "felt inflation" was non-existent in our view, because we connect freedom and increasing wealth with the D-Mark, whilst we connect raising poverty and EU-dictatorship with the new Euro currency).

          Its a diffrent understanding, but very simmiliar on the other hand.
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          Nov 22 2012: Something to note in a more general sense is that inflation was extremely traumatic to the German people just as deflation was extremely traumatic to the American people.

          Since in essence a culture is an agreement the Germans will never have inflation because this is the agreement in Germany just as America will never have deflation because this is the agreement in America.
      • Nov 22 2012: @Lars Mews: Thank you for the clarification. My German is quite basic, and not good enough to read long documents.
        • Nov 22 2012: Your welcome,
          but anyhow, even the english wikipedia could have told you this.

          "In August 1923, Karl Helfferich proposed a plan to issue a new currency (Roggenmark) backed by mortgage bonds indexed to market prices (in paper Marks) of rye grain. His plan was rejected because of the greatly fluctuating price of rye in paper Marks. The Agriculture Minister Hans Luther proposed a different plan which substituted gold for rye and a new currency, the Rentenmark, backed by bonds indexed to market prices (in paper Marks) of gold.[25]"

          The currency of a state is a historical fact, and you can trust wikipedia pretty much about historical facts that have such a big importance like currencies do have. If your english wikipedia does not mention a currency for germany, than it is pretty obvious we did not have or had it in use.
    • Nov 21 2012: I had not heard of Yuri Bezmenov before. His videos on youtube are shockingly informative! Thanks for the recommendation.
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      Nov 21 2012: Bob

      How much credit would you give to Yuri and how much would you give to this is the natural order of things?
      • Nov 21 2012: While I did not see any evidence of the USSR in the formation of the current US, Yuri's interviews were still very informative about how these affairs were conducted by the USSR.
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        Nov 22 2012: Pat, I never gave that a lot of thought ... However, reading about what the Greeks said about democracy I would thing that the Russian played their cards well and that the Greeks were right. I think that the Russians were great students of natural order, history, and they did a lot of idea planting. They understood the value of religion and the need to subvert it, they hated same sex encounters and jailed their countrymen for this act but encouraged it here, they loved unions as an ally in the effort to dismantel the US, they had operatives that sewed seeds in our country for years. They have always said that they will convert the United States to Socalism and never fire a shot. They have.

        I think that the answer is probally natural order but the Russians sped it along and understood it better than us. Heck the Greeks understood it 2000 years ago better that our current leaders. That is a sad thing to have to say.

        Was the answer : Argentina correct and was that accurate?
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          Nov 22 2012: Argentina is a perfect example of where we are headed and how.

          I heard the other day that the current leader lowered the voting age to 16, ostensibly to garner more votes.

          The thing about Argentina that I find interesting is that it has been going on for so long similar to the U.K. I realize the debt is hard to deal with but the part that blows me away is that the people have not changed. Which makes your point about Yuri even more relevant.
          Funny probably 80% or better of just the TED people think we are whack jobs or just poor ignorant victims of Fox news...

          Matt Ridley talks about how the evolution of Neanderthal man's physical make up occurred faster than the evolution of the tools he used. He stated that the main difference between Neanderthal and modern man was the ability to exchange ideas. I ran a survey on why people who voted for Obama voted for him and the answers were less than profound. I guess that to really get this stuff you have to look at the devil in the details and the majority doesn't want to be bothered... The products of the free market have evolved a thousand times faster than man's thinking and that truly bums me out.
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          Nov 22 2012: Pat,
          YOu say that there was nothing profound learned through your question of why people voted for Obama. But in your own thread within that question, you said, "What stuns me is that the voters put social issues above financial issues" Sounds like you learned something profound after all.
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          Nov 22 2012: I was stunned by the ignorance of the voters about economics.

          Is that profound or deep?
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          Nov 23 2012: " Argentina is a perfect example of where we are headed and how."You're going to be a military dictatorship for 20 years? And enter into a pointless war with a much larger economy? The US only enters into pointless wars with smaller economies.I have friends who left Argentina in the early 80s because they all knew the writing was on the wall before Alfonsín showed up although he didn't help. It was the perfect storm of facism followed by socialism.
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    Nov 21 2012: I believe instead it will fall like England, which is still a world power, but hardly the global empire it was 150 years ago.
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      Nov 21 2012: I think England is an anomaly.