It’s not just debt burdens that are problematic. ‘Rich’ countries in the West are also rapidly debasing their currencies, spawning tomes of regulatory impediments, restricting the freedoms of their citizens, aggressively expanding the powers of the state, and engaging in absurd military folly from Libya to the South China Sea. Once again, this is not the first time history has seen such conditions. In our own lifetimes, we’ve seen the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the tragi-comical hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, and the unraveling of Argentina’s millennial crisis. Plus we can study what happened when empires from the past collapsed. The conditions are nearly identical. Is our civilization so different that we are immune to the consequences?