The Sine Wave of History


by Jeff Thomas, International Man:

Almost daily, someone (often a European or North American) comments to me that the world is falling apart. The government is becoming dictatorial, the people are becoming more socialistic and political correctness is no longer an option, it’s a mandate and you’d better get on board.

This trend is not by any means imagined, but it would be incorrect to say that “the world is falling apart.” If we spend time travelling the world, what we see is that parts of it (primarily the former “free world”) is unquestionably in a state of political, economic, social and moral decline.

The good news is that many other parts of the world are impacted less; others are hardly affected at all and, in still other cases, countries are thriving.

What’s often missed, due to myopia, is that, in any era, there are alwayssome countries that are burning out at the same time as others are on the rise.

Cultures and nations pass through cycles, much like the sine waves above. Any nation that undergoes a social, political and economic collapse ends up hitting the skids and staying there for a while. Often, the spoiled, complacent generation is unable to affect a recovery. However, the next generation learns to recognize that the only way that they can move ahead is to get out and work. Be ambitious, be self-reliant, act responsibly and, eventually, you’ll improve your life.

The next generation has this example to build upon and generally takes it to the next level, operating on the same principles. However, after several (possibly many) generations of this, prosperity is great enough that the next generation doesn’t have to work as hard. Their parents hand them enough that they can largely cruise through life. (This turning point occurred in Europe and North America in the 1960’s.)

At that point, politicians, who tend to be good at reading the mood of the populace, begin promising ever-greater entitlements – thus assuring the complacent generation that, not only do they not have to work hard, the very suggestion of hard work and self-reliance is unfair.

Another generation or two downstream and the decline has morphed into an apathetic, whining generation that wants to be told that it’s possible for everything to be free and that anyone who suggests otherwise needs to be punished for their thoughts. (Sound familiar?)

This overall abandonment of responsibility (egged on by political leaders) invariably results in political, economic, social and moral decline, ending in collapse.

This natural cycle is illustrated in the sine waves above. Most countries are like the blue sine wave. The amplitude is moderate – the country doesn’t rise to a great height in terms of prosperity, but then, it also doesn’t sink to great lows. On the other hand, the most dominant countries (and empires) are more like the red sine wave – they rise to a great height, but when they fall, the amplitude of the fall is equal to that of the rise.

At any time in history, some countries are on the way up; some are on the way down. I personally grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, a time when the “free world” (the UK, US, Canada, Australia, etc.) was riding high. All of these nations are now in decline and, as the reader may have noticed, that decline is becoming increasingly rapid.

Back then, countries like Russia, China and Cuba were heavily in a state of socialistic decline. They’ve since bottomed and are now experiencing their rebirth. Each one is expanding into more of a free-market country. Each is experiencing greater prosperity and the people of those countries understand that the way forward is hard work, tenacity and self-reliance.

Looking back at the image above, an interesting aspect is that, in addition to the amplitudes of the red and blue waves being different, their rise and fall are independent of each other. Each begins its fall at a different time from the other and, consequently, their eventual rise also begins at a different point.

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