CHAPTER II PHASES OF 700 YEAR CYCLES
While a 700 or 1400 year pattern of rise and fall of whole civilizations is impressive and grandiose; and is of considerable academic interest; the time span is so long compared to the "three score and ten" years of normal life expectancy today that a shorter "more practical" time scale is desired. Few people can become really excited about such long-range events. Thus the entire 700 year cycle has been subdivided into ten "phases" which follow one another. These on an average, obviously, must be about 70 years each, approximately one lifetime. These phases are such that we would normally expect to experience parts of only one or two such phases. Thus we can define a "social climate" in which we live and perhaps better understand the events of the day
in terms of where our parents were, and where we think our civilization is going. In order to be able to think about these periods of time we give them labels, names, and these names in this case are meant to abstract a great many factors into one word. This indeed may be a bit of an over simplification, but it is done to allow us to think easily about these periods, and to facilitate new thought processes.
1 ANARCHY The starting place of all future empires is a period of anarchy. There usually are many squabbling princes, and petty tyrants, each claiming to be THE ONE TRUE king or major ruler of the empire, but yet none in truth rules but a small territory. This is a time of insecurity and uncertainty, and commerce and trade are restricted. It is a low point in the civilization.
2 APPEARANCE After the insecurity one, and usually several of the princes found dynasties and establish relatively sound relatively just governments. They protect their subjects who in turn prosper and support their just government. Of the several, if there is more than one "Just King" to start a dynasty, only one will form The Empire, and the rest will be annexed or conquered in the next phases.
3 ANNEXATION The one central government which is to become the empire grows by annexation of surrounding territory. Because the conditions within the empire are so much more secure than the overall mass of anarchy surrounding it, those joining welcome the annexation. They want relief from insecurity and actively request or encourage the empire to expand and include them. Some of these “annexations” are "organized" group annexations. The petty tyrants near the zone of prosperity, near the fledgling empire, covet the mild wealth within the empire and organize a raid, as they have been accustomed to doing in the past. They conscript and army to attack and sack the empire. The tyrant and his sub-Lieutenants march the reluctant conscripts to the battle at sword point. Considering the motivation of the soldiers, they know the better conditions within the empire and they all too well know their own wretched conditions, and would far rather be in the empire and under the relatively just government. The "Just King" organizes an army to defend the empire. The motivation of this army is quite different. They are defending hearth and home and the prosperity they enjoy from aggression of a thief. As the two armies march to the battle, and meet; the one conscript army more or less asks "can we surrender?", and throw down their arms willingly given the chance. Or even more interestingly they convert and join the other army in getting rid of the tyrant and his henchmen who have been terrorizing them. If the petty tyrant is smart or lucky he makes it over the hill before the battle is really over. He usually is neither and does not escape and is captured and killed. Typically using one example, two armies of 10,000 each or so march to battle, there are perhaps 100 to 200 killed before the battle is over, (mostly the henchmen and sub lieutenants) and suddenly the "Just King" has an army of 20,000, counting new "reserves" who just joined that day. Thus as previously mentioned the battle really is just a poorly organized mass annexation. Taking a specific example from ca 1500 BC the founder of the New Kingdom in Egypt, King Ahmose, was also having problems with other "Hyksos" and chose that time to move further down the river toward lower Egypt and deal with those other tyrants at the same time. Many of the tyrants facing such conditions choose to capitulate and swear allegiance to the "Just King" knowing that sooner or they would be defeated, and killed if they resisted the tide of growth. By joining the just government or empire more or less voluntarily they could retain some local control and local power.
Thus they also are annexed. Continuing the story of Ahmose he continued to the Mediterranean sea, his army swelling as he marched, until he reunited Egypt under one government, HIS one
government, driving out more than 20 Hyksos or shepherd kings who had infested Egypt and destroyed unity and central government.
4 CONQUEST The central government touches other similar central governments, and a conflict of power occurs. The people under each of the two contestants are about equally happy with them, (or perhaps equally unhappy) - but at least equally motivated, and at this point the battles are real, and the people joining do so quite involuntarily. The Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian "foreign" control over Egypt in ca 800-400 BC is a typical such conquest.
The Egyptians we unwilling subjects, held by force. Battles involve substantial killing, 10% as a minimum, with as much as 30-40% of the total of the two armies in casualties.
5 LUXURY This is the peak of personal freedom, and economic wealth in this century. Trade with other empires increases steadily. Merchants find for the first time that they can move with relative security and freedom. They are free for the first time in centuries from the past major problem of bandits and pirates. They are taxed lightly, but the taxes are far less than the cost of maintaining their own army or navy to provide the same protection. They can earn major profits. "Art flourished" is a key phrase. There is sufficient excess wealth produced that progress can happen. The free time means the sciences and arts now can be practiced by an minority elite, who are supported by the many peasants.
6 STAGNATION The empire stops growing. It faces off with other empires that are equally strong, and neither can conquer the other. The logistics problems prevent success in such attempts. Thus treaties are signed and "Diplomatic" battles rather than wars are fought. The daughters of Emperors are sent to other Emperors to seal the diplomacy. The ambition to create bigger and better empires may still exist with the kings / emperors, but the people have no ambition for further expansion. The problems of keeping those people conquered in phase 4 under control occupies more and more energy and resources, and the opportunity to "get rich quick", and social mobility are far less than in earlier times. The social structure is becoming rigid, and heredity counts for more and more and birth becomes more important than ability.
7 BUREAUCRACY From well under 10% of the people being on public pay roll, typically 5-6%, the number jumps at the start of this phase to well above 10%, with typically 15-18% of the population being directly supported from public coffers. This nonproductive consumption and providing of unnecessary and unwanted "services" grows very like a cancer. These bureaucrats consume the wealth of the empire, producing nothing of value in return. This drain chokes off real production, partially because of halting any motivation to produce, and partially because of incompetent meddling with commerce and production. The Empire is perpetually in financial and political trouble. They can not realize that the "solutions" that they propose are to increase the controls and it was those controls that caused the problems in the first place. In engineering terms this is a positive feedback, applying more force in the direction of the displacement to make the offset worse - causing more force - a vicious circle. The illogical and irrational bad assumptions caused the effect and more irrational forces are used, not less. They can not admit or understand they were wrong in their basic assumptions. The government becomes so "soft" that it ceases to provide the real services and security government was initially intended to provide, and instead it becomes parasitic and destructive.
8 REFORM Things get so bad that a total change of government is required. The producers have no allegiance to the parasites, and they fully understand that they be better off without the myriad of petty governmental officials and their tax collectors, administrators and miscellaneous parasites. At this point a new dynamic dynasty takes over from the moribund older decaying dynasty. The new dynasty has the machinery of an Empire in being, and all it must do is get the "sand" out of the wheels of progress, and lubricate them to allow the new dynasty to do great things. They do
mobilize the empire and accomplish these great things. At this time we find the "Seven Wonders of the World" being built. This is a second major period of greatness, and usually it produces more and better monumental works than the prior "Luxury", but it is more dogmatic, less free, and more tyrannical... less rational.
9 TERMINAL DECLINE After another great period there is a repeat of "Stagnation and Bureaucracy" but greatly accelerated. The destructive forces form at about three times the prior rate, and they proceed to full "collectivism" and there is no reform following bureaucracy. It leads with finality to the full collapse of the empire. The full social structure comes "unglued" and it enters a period of piracy and mass movements of nomadic tribes who break into the empire and swamp it.
10 COLLAPSE This time of Anarchy deteriorates to where we started. Taking the difference between Monolithic and Fragmentary into account, the Empire collapses, it is terminated. The patriotism of empire has given way to "nationalism" and "localism" - trade stops because
of unsafe travel. Return to 1 anarchy, next cycle.
DURATION The expected time spans of the phases with probable variances are shown below. The totals of several phases have less variance than any one phase because if one phase runs long, the preceding and / or following phase tends to be shorter to compensate for that. If one phase is short the two neighboring phases tend to be longer.
The numbers shown are the expected duration (mean) or median time span of that phase with the expected variance: (mean variance). The variance shown is 2 s or 95 % of all events recorded fall within the zone defined by the mean and the variance s shown. (NOTE: The variance 1s with 67% of all events falling within that span or duration is NOT half the shown s variance value, but is approximately the mean s 2/3 of the shown variance value, this did not follow a Maxwellian statistical distribution curve).
Phase mean duration variance
1 ANARCHY 95 50
2 APPEARANCE 50 20
3 ANNEXATION 60 30
4 CONQUEST 70 30
5 LUXURY 50 20
6 STAGNATION 55 20
7 BUREAUCRACY 90 40
8 REFORM 70 20
9 TERMINAL DECLINE 65 20
10 COLLAPSE / ANARCHY 90 40
TOTAL 695 -702 70
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