Does decadence necessarily follow from advantage?

by phil on Saturday May 8, 2010 11:00 PM
historical patterns

Take the Panda, for example. It must have descended from a powerful bear at some point, but because it developed a unique digestive system for bamboo, providing it nearly endless mana, it got "lazy" and its powers weakened.

Or look at America. It stepped up to the challenge during World War I and II, building itself up militarily and industrially giving it an overwhelming geopolitical advantage. But because of that overabundance, America has gotten more and more decadent since then, with some historians fearing a pattern of decline similar to the Roman Empire.

Does decadence necessarily follow from advantage? How can an organism, person, corporation, or nation maintain its advantage forever? How can it make gains in one area without the accompanying slack in other areas?

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