NASA’s next mission is saving us from declining like Rome or whatever:
If we’re to avoid their fate, we’ll need policies to reduce economic inequality and preserve natural resources, according to a NASA-funded study that looked at the collapses of previous societies.
“Two important features seem to appear across societies that have collapsed,” reads the study. “The stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity and the economic stratification of society into Elites and Masses.”
In unequal societies, researchers said, “collapse is difficult to avoid…. Elites grow and consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society.”
As limited resources plague the working class, the wealthy, insulated from the problem, “continue consuming unequally” and exacerbate the issue, the study said.
So how do we save ourselves? “Collapse can be avoided, and population can reach a steady state at the maximum carrying capacity, if the rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed equitably,” reads the report.
Shorter NASA: Give us the power to determine who gets what and who gets to breed and everything will be just fine. It’s a novel solution, but it just might work!
Slightly more seriously, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know just how many times this has been tried, failed, and led to death and ruin.
UPDATE: I should add that global cooling is believed by many to have played a part in Rome’s fall. Declining crop production hurt some, especially since the twin capitals of Rome and Byzantium had to import huge amounts of grain from Tunis, Sicily, and Egypt. German and Slavic tribes once happy and warm enough north of the Elbe, found themselves heading south for the winter — and the summer, too.
Rome’s “solution” was to give ever-wider powers to the militaristic government.