November 19, 2006

I'm baaaaccckkkk....

Figure a lot of you have been to Rome, but for a first-timer, five stars. The food, the music, the people, the shopping and the history. Great city.

I think all Americans should consider Rome when they're watching the now discredited Fox News about how great we are, about how we dominate the world, how deficits don't matter and how our military is not over-extended.

Yup, Rome would have a lesson or three about that....

On this subject, I recommend Diamond's excellent book "Collapse". Like the housing bubble relates to historic financial manias, our hubris of being the dominant world power has a been-there-done-that feel to it, especially after a few days looking at the ruins of another great society that could no way fail.


FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Dear Keith,

I saw Guns, Germs, and Steel on PBS in the three hour made for TV version and it was amazing.
I reckon your recomended book is as good.

Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is the glass-half-empty follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel. While Guns, Germs, and Steel explained the geographic and environmental reasons why some human populations have flourished, Collapse uses the same factors to examine why ancient societies, including the Anasazi of the American Southwest and the Viking colonies of Greenland, as well as modern ones such as Rwanda, have fallen apart. Not every collapse has an environmental origin, but an eco-meltdown is often the main catalyst, he argues, particularly when combined with society's response to (or disregard for) the coming disaster.

Richard said...

Guns, germs, and steel is excellent as well.

Richard said...

The best web site, bar none, for information on the coming collapse of the human population.

keith said...

collapse was just as good as his guns germs and steel. Jared Diamond makes interesting reading out of very academic subject matter. Like Stephen Hawking.

amazing books, both, yet I'd bet 1/10 of 1% of the US population has read either. America's Next Top Model is on, no?

Meanwhile, I'd also bet the "Tomkat" wedding was big news in the US this weekend?

Nice to see a cult member getting some good press.

Richard said...

And the opening act to collapse...

In his address to the General Assembly of the
Jewish Communities of North
America in Los Angeles earlier this week, Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert made it
clear that Israel and Iran were headed down a
road of confrontation. It is
hard to interpret his message any differently:
"We have reached the pivotal
moment of truth regarding Iran... Our integrity
will remain intact only if
we prevent Iran's devious goals, not if we try
our best but fail."

Speaking to reporters on his flight back to
Israel, Olmert tried to soften
his statements, saying that he intended "to rouse
public opinion and
governments around the world," but that the world
was asleep.

LauraVella said...

Stinker for shame!

SidneyPrice said...


Glad you liked Rome, and I agree that the lessons of history are everywhere in the crumbing walls. Its a complicated history, and the Empire lasted a lot longer than half a century. The connection to Jared Diamonds book is relevant to the eventual collapse of the Roman Empire in the West. There are many landscapes in the Italian peninsula where the topsoil was lost through primitive farming methods. Nowadays, Italy is an agricultural wonder, but its agricultural Renaissance (during the Renaissance!) was closely related to the draining of the marshes around the Po River, freeing up a lot of new farmland that would not wash away downhill.

Shakster said...

I'm Rollin thundah,pouren rain
I'm comin on like a hurricane
White lightnen flashes accross the sky,your only young BUTCHYAGUNNA DIE! HeLLS BELLS!! BONNNNNG BONNNNNNNGGG BONNNNNNNNNNNG.

Shakster said...


MadMonkey said...

I think all Americans should consider Rome when they're watching the now discredited Fox News

I'll read the NY Times (Jayson Blair).

or watch CNN (Operation Tailwind)

or 60 Minutes (Memogate).

or maybe your favorite Sportscaster turned pretend Edward R. Murrow - Keith Olbermann Countdown.

MadMonkey said...

"You're gaaaaaaaayyy"

velocitymmc said...

Housing market bottom forecast.

It can not crash forever. This thing will somehow turnaround. According to some, the nationwide bottom has not occurred yet.

The new home over-building problem has been seen. The full extent of the ARM resetting has not been seen. Whether homeowners will be able to make their new higher monthly payments or not is open to speculation.

keith said...

stinker - pick a new one, a puppy dog, a can of spam, ...

keith said...

Oh, another thing about Rome was the awe of being in 2000 year old buildings, 1500 year old churches, etc.

Anyone think those Phoenix wood framed stucco homes will be around in 2000 years? Heck, in 100 years?

Anyone think that new Best Buy or Burger King going in down the street will be there in 100 years?

We live in a disposable society now. And that's a shame.

Opened Eyes said...

I disagree; Jared Diamond's viewpoint is left wing and anti-Western.

keith said...

wow if you get "left wing" out of diamond, you're insane

GT said...

was in italy a month ago. rome was my favorite city..i agree it was powerful being in such an ancient place and it seemed almost surreal. of course a lot of it has been restored and things like the arch of constantine is almost completely fake. but i find it interesting the colloseo is still 3/4 there, while in the US, we knock down a stadium after 25 yrs for really no reason (other than to tax the man some more).

pompeii was also fascinating to see how far we havent come.

my wife and i are on a quest to visit the ancient wonders before their gone, i dont see them lasting much longer due to greed and pollution and terrorism. of course since it's all about the almighty tourist $, they'll just build replicas of everything and rebuild them every 25 yrs

foxwoodlief said...

Rome, a glorified ruin, flats are more expensive than houses in Phoenix, corruption is rampant and even a lot of cabbies don't run the meter. Graffiti everywhere, especially if you leave the inner historic ring. Crime is high outside the historic sites. The Italian government is as corrupt and ineffective as they come.

Italy could even be expeled from the Euro zone because of their deficits and inefficient markets. A lot of resturants discriminate against tourists, serve old food or a lesser quality to non-Italians. The list goes on.

Glorify Italy but remember lots of Italians came to the USA because they were starving in Italy.

Anonymous said...

Jared Diamond panders to the apocalyptics out there. In reading this site, he has a large audience.
Did anyone who commented on how 'excellent' GG&S was have ANY historical perspective? Give me a break!
What is it about the audience here that lusts for some catastrophe? Are all the posters here just born? The dustbin of history is overflowing with this sentiment. It is not a recent phenomenon.
Howard Ruff
The Club of Rome
Al Gore
Chicken Little
PS We're all gonna DIE! Pass it on!

Anonymous said...

Missed ya baby!

Anonymous said...

Rome was built by soldier-businessmen and it was destroyed by corrupt perverts. Some of the former still live in the U.S. but who do you think runs it?
Corruption is the cancer that kills societies of all types, it is what holds asia back now.

Anonymous said...

Corruption is holding back Russia as well.

Big time.

Anonymous said...

What is it about the audience here that lusts for some catastrophe?

No, actually it's normally the evangelical right who lust for catastrophe... with their "raptures".

I would say this crowd is just pointing out the overshoot.

Anonymous said...

I pleasure myself to the collapse of civilization.