If smann gets shameless plugs, I certainly do right?
This is probably the most scattered, flawed, ranty blogs I've written, but it captures a lot of what I've been thinking about these days.
I also completely agree with this sentiment:
Which is to say, everything around us says we're fucked.“In short a key difficulty faced by regimes in decline was selfish elites. Nations that were the richest countries in their day suffered fiscal crises because elites preferred to protect their private wealth, even at the expense of a deterioration of state finances, public services, and long-term international strength. By ‘selfish elites’ I do not mean, of course, simply elites’ aspirations to maintain disproportionate shares of wealth and power. That ambition is a universal constant. What I wish to emphasize is that in some eras in history, elites have identified their interests with the national state and the public weal, and they have been willing to tax themselves heavily to expand the influence and resources of their nation and their government. At other times, … elites have turned into competing factions, driven by self-enrichment at the expense of their rivals and opponents, even when that meant starving the national state of resources needed for public improvements and international competitiveness.
“In addition, declining regimes were beset by factionalism within the elites that paralyzed decision-making. Struggles for prestige and authority took precedence over a united approach to resolving fiscal and social problems. Among English gentry in Parliament, within the French Estates General and the National Assembly, among Ottoman officials, and within the ranks of Chinese scholars, partisanship prevailed over consensus—with disastrous results.”