Several historians have pointed out what they say is a glaring similarity between the United States now and the Roman Empire before its collapse, suggesting that the US could be on the same path that led to the collapse of the Roman Empire many hundreds of years ago.
High economic inequality is one of the major factors blamed for the fall of the Roman Empire. According to historians, the gap between the rich and the poor in the empire increased over the years, with the rich in society inheriting more and more wealth to a point where there was a lot of wealth and a lot of poverty at the same time. While this was happening, the middle class found themselves getting poorer. Slaves were pouring into the empire, increasing the labour force and competing with them for work.
In time, the rich began to isolate themselves and their walls started going higher. Many of them built fortified and secure houses in secluded areas outside the cities, and withdrew from politics. This was probably because they could sense the people getting more and more disappointed with the political elite and with life in general.
Fast forward to today, economists and historians warn that inequality in the US is higher than what the Roman Empire had at the time of its fall. While thousands of Americans struggle to make a living including even part time university lecturers (adjunct professors), the richest 1% of American society who have made it, own hundreds of billions of wealth.
Just like the richest of the Roman society’s rich acquired safe isolated villas, today’s richest 1% are acquiring more underground bunkers where they can retreat to, in case of war, nuclear apocalypse, violent revolution or other types of disaster.
In the midst of this, the middle class in America is shrinking. A college degree is no longer a big ticket to a decent job. And just like the influx of slave labour from conquered provinces to compete with the middle class, there are now thousands of economic migrants in America who are indeed taking up jobs, leaving some middle class Americans disgruntled, increasing racism and dislike for immigrants.
Sometimes, when the topic of hardship comes up, the wealthy American elite point to migrants who they believe are taking up the jobs of the middle class. Donald Trump’s populist promise to build a wall between the US and Mexico, was one of the campaign promises that got him the support of those Americans who believe they’re feeling the heat from the influx of migrants.
It is worth mentioning that there were other important factors that led to the collapse of the Roman Empire and there are also significant differences between them and present-day America. Nonetheless, many people can’t shake of the spooky similarities between the two and wonder whether America is heading towards some kind of collapse. History after all, is just man going round and round in circles.