Why Empires Fall

Frank Diana
2 min readJan 10, 2024

To better explore the geopolitical portion of the convergence phenomena, I read another book that looked into possible geopolitical futures based on the history of one of the biggest empires — Rome. The authors (Peter Heather, John Rapley) provide a thorough analysis of the factors that drove the fall of the Roman empire. They then apply this analysis to current state of the global west.

As we have consistently seen, history illuminates the possibilities emerging in the future. In this example, the factors that drove the fall of the Roman Empire are all in place as we assess the future of the west. These factors include a superpower rivalry, a substantial flow of migration from the outer periphery, bitter internal political division, self-assertion of a developing inner periphery, and new-found wealth of the inner periphery.

As the rising periphery’s ability to compete with the Empire grew, the Empire had to direct more of its resources both to negating the Persian threat and to preserving its European frontiers. This increased its vulnerability to exogenous shocks from outside the system, which it might easily have withstood at earlier stages of its development.

Peter Heather, John Rapley — Why Empires Fall

As readers of my Blog know, I find this look backward to see forward approach extremely insightful. Understanding points of failure — in this case within imperial systems — afford us the opportunity to avoid the same mistakes. It then becomes incumbent upon us to learn from those lessons. A must read for anyone looking for geopolitical signals — I have added it to my Library.

Originally published at http://frankdiana.net on January 10, 2024.

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Frank Diana

TCS Executive focused on the rapid evolution of society and business. Fascinated by the view of the world in the next decade and beyond https://frankdiana.net/