CNBCIn an interview with Charlie Rose last week, GMO’s Jeremy Grantham reminded us that civilizations have historically collapsed after around 250 years.
Now, UBS’s Art Cashin is talking about the same thing.
“Martin Armstrong has just issued a 46 page report titled “The 224 Cycle of Political Change. Is 1789 – 2013 Really Here?”” writes Cashin in a note this morning.
He went on to republish a comment he made in June 2011. Here it is (emphasis ours):
That “Made Up” Quote Looks Truer And Truer Each Day – The continuing loud cautions of “Don’t Tread On My Entitlements”, and the imminence of a majority of voters not paying any taxes, recalls yet again the rather prophetic but apparently fictitious quote of Alexander Tytler. According to many internet sources, Tytler is reputed to have published this stunning quote in a book called “The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic” (ironically said to have been published in 1776 when something interesting was happening across the pond).
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loss of fiscal responsibility, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world’s great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.”
Tytler was easy enough to research. He apparently lived from 1747 to 1813. He is also listed as Lord Woodhouselee and served for a time as Judge Advocate (circa 1790). He also worked with the great Scots poet Robert Burns – offering edits and suggestions. There is, however, no sign or evidence of the alleged book nor of the quote. Some feel it was manufactured, perhaps in the Presidential Election of 2000. It does feel disturbing prophetic however.
“Republics with a potential life of 200 years,” writes Cashin. “Very strange.”
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