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Is Western Civilisation on its Last Legs?

  • 21-03-2023 2:38pm
    Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,565 Mod ✭✭✭✭

    Is the Western world now entering its twilight phase, one of decline and either a rapid collapse or a slow fade out?

    According to many experts, the answer is a firm yes. This decline is the result of the coalescence of a number of inter-related factors and trends, with soaring wealth inequality where the elites are amassing an obscene amount of wealth whilst the middle and working classes are being squeezed on all sides and are increasingly impoverished, particularly in terms of housing, assets and equity. 

    In university as an undergraduate student back in the mid-1990s, I remember one of our lecturers giving a class on how wealth inequality would grow to the extent that the middle class would be squeezed out of existence to the benefit of an extremely wealthy elite who would control more and more resources, including land and housing assets whilst the hoi polloi would be increasingly be distracted by vacuous entertainment, celebrity culture and the divide and conquer ideologies of governments where blame would be attributed to immigrants, minorities and the poor, used as convenient “scapegoats.”

    From how I see it 27 years on from that lecture, it is very much coming to pass.

    How many threads here on Boards are about the real anger, bitterness and resentment among many users over a perceived decline in their living standards and inability to access the housing market whilst they see others who they deem undeserving obtain welfare and benefits with very little effort?

    Combine this with our inability to tackle serious climate change and the regression of politics over the past decade with an increasing scramble over ever diminishing resources - and a generation of young adults with mental health issues and poor communication skills thanks to the internet and social media, the outlook is not rosy. 

    Since the article linked below was written, the Covid pandemic and the Ukraine war have taken place - and now the fragile global banking system is facing another crisis due to lessons not being fully learned from the last one in 2007-10. Our current model of economic growth, neo-liberal capitalism and rampant consumerism is utterly unsustainable. Many experts think that it is essentially a giant and elaborate ponzi scheme. 

    I am generally an optimist and a firm believer of the human ability to overcome crises, but the article below makes for very solemn reading. 

    Can we really overcome all these trends and factors driving us along the road to ruin?

    Link to article:

    Post edited by JupiterKid on



  • Registered Users Posts: 194 ✭✭JohnnyFortune

    It'll end, and another civilisation will grow from it. Once you give others the same rights as the natives of the empire, every empire eats itself from with. History repeating itself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭Hyperbollix

    This topic has been on my mind several times over the last number of years. It certainly feels as if western civilisation was enjoying a purple patch in the post WW2 to 2008 period, especially in the years following the fall of the Berlin wall. I think most of us who grew up during those years were of the belief that this would go on forever. Democracies would flourish around the globe, authoritarianism would slowly decline, poverty and hunger would be eradicated, we would all basically move towards Gene Roddenberry's vision of humanity in the wrong we were.

    Even without the existential threat of climate system collapse, I'm not sure humanity would successfully charter a path through nuclear conflict, wars for dwindling resources, ballooning populations plus political upheaval and instability but taking climate change into account, I'm almost certain we're now on a path to something far removed from the luxury and excess we've become accustomed to. My long held belief is that the year 2100 will mirror the year 1100 far more than any futuristic utopia we might expect.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,801 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Look at the west, decidedly lacking in quality…strength, fortitude, decisiveness, bravery, leadership and in actual quality leaders of many western countries…..the required qualities are severely lacking …..

    Martin / Leo

    Boris / Sunak

    Borne / Macron


    useless ^^^

    The EU is in trouble there seems no cohesion between the EU and its hierarchy that EU citizens are paying them to look after their wellbeing and welfare. That EU citizens should be their priority. We are not.

    Meloni and Fratelli d'Italia, are bucking the trend, somewhat. But this almost is going to be half a generation to solve…and a lot worse before it gets better.

    The EU is probably bolloxed.. long term by virtue of its virtue signalling and ineffectiveness of its leadership… who basically hung a ‘welcome all’ sign… on itself and each member country…..set itself and by proxy its citizens as a sort of charity outpost for, well for everyone from anywhere… how long are EU citizens going to accept that… ? Islamic Terror attacks rising pre covid….rising property prices, House prices up by 6.8% in the euro area and by 7.4% in the European Union in the third quarter of 2022.

    Democracy ? It’s not, people didn’t vote for it….

    climate change ? Attack the family with two cars but ignore the plastics business polluting the environment… laws can’t stop them.

    we need better leaders, we need a revolt against and cures for the two great social cancers….virtue signalling and wokeness…. But we need better, more effective, more responsible, more in tune and more loyal leaders.

    you don’t go to bed and leave your front door open, you don’t give a stranger your bank card….you don’t help people at the expense of your family and friends wellbeing….That’s what is happening. A true and tangible exemplification of life in the west…

  • Registered Users Posts: 897 ✭✭✭sameoldname

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,281 ✭✭✭dublin49

    The West's way of life probably always had a shelf life as was unrealistic to expect those living outside the golden circle of Western Democracy would accept their subsistence level existence without at some stage deciding en masse to join the party.Think thats well under way now.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,227 ✭✭✭Frank Grimes

    You probably didn't get the memo; "wokeness" is to blame for everything, up to and including civilisational collapse. I'm surprised CRT didn't get a mention.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,555 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    All Rubbish and as for this \/\/

    Look at the west, decidedly lacking in quality…strength, fortitude, decisiveness, bravery, leadership and in actual quality leaders of many western countries…..the required qualities are severely lacking …..

    Martin / Leo

    Boris / Sunak

    Borne / Macron


    useless ^^

    That's Rubbish.

    I think it must be.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,555 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    As for is Western Civilisation on its last legs NO.

    I might be over its best but it's not it's last legs.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    I think it is a little bit to early to tell op. Regrettably as humans we never live long enough to see how the results of our actions actually transpire over time.

    I think civilisation is always evolving and changing. If you look back to 1840, Ireland was populated by 8 million people. By 1855 our population had dropped to 6 million. That was pretty dramatic. It is only just over 175 years since the famine. My Grandmothers grandmother was alive then. 6 Generations ago 2 out of every 8 people living in Ireland were gone in the space of 15 years.

    To put that in perspective, it is just over 15 years since the credit crunch. We are still seeing the results of the actions taken by our government having influence on how we live today. What worries me most, was listening to the same bile on the radio the last few days, from the same institutions we had to pay for then. I don't for a second believe that they thoroughly sorted out their business models at that time. It terrifies me the way that such corrupt organisations, which we have enabled to generate so much power in our lives, have managed to go broke again in such a short amount of time. Even worse, the precedent of our reaction has now been set. We are screwed if any of our now only 3 banks go under. Big time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,386 ✭✭✭NSAman

    If one has to ever address someone as "They/Them" I shall ask if they have multiple personalities inside "them"

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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,801 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    ‘All rubbish’. You might disagree with the principle of my argument, fine but that’s why we are here, a ‘civil’ debate :)

    Those stats I posted are verifiable, yet, according to you…. ‘all rubbish’ ? You can go to the EU / Eurostat sites and have that argument with them :) I’m comfortable with my own research and opinions formulated based on that…

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,555 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    Those stats I posted are verifiable, yet, according to you…. ‘all rubbish’ ? You can go to the EU / Eurostat sites and have that argument with them :) I’m comfortable with my own research and opinions formulated based on that…

    This is just what the Russians and the Chinese want us to think so there way of rulling would take over. Can you not see that? I for one would not want to live under Russian or Chinese rule. We have to stay positive and optimistic for the future. Do not let China or Russia rule.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,718 ✭✭✭silliussoddius

    Also the great reset, WEF, 15 minute cities etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 176 ✭✭babyducklings1

    Yes, think so. The world and this country alone has changed massively since a period you mentioned in your post the mid 90s. Now it’s all social media and the noise that creates in our young, so much of it utterly useless so maybe the next generation will be and are less resilient. And how can an empire/ civilisation or whatever you want to call it not topple if the next generation are not made of strong stuff. Then all the wokeness, which someone else mentioned, which feeds off and into social media too . Of course nature abhors a vacum so something or or a contending power will come along to fill that void. And of course yes the middle class are being wiped out so that only leaves the super wealthy and the rest of us.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,718 ✭✭✭silliussoddius

    Social media effect on young people? I’m not saying it’s not an issue, but there are plenty of people who aren’t young who are completely and utterly brain wormed from social media.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,675 ✭✭✭buried

    Been on its last legs for a long time. The entire power system in the Western hemisphere has basically been based on feeding off the ideas and resources from far off places and nations. This has been going on for centuries. That time is now up. The resources have dried up, the ideas have stagnated, and the other nations have gotten wise to the game. Another cause for it's collapse is the Western hemisphere's 20th Century leadership's self proclaimed title of some sort of bastion of "freedom and democracy", all the while it has propped up some of the most despicable regimes on the planet, illegally invaded and bombed sovereign nations on the predilection of lies. This has caused collective guilt on the part of the western leadership, and for the last ten years they are falling over themselves to make amends for it by paving a liberal road of what they perceive to be good intentions, rather than calling these crimes to justice. The road of good intentions leads to the ultimate end.

    At least in Ireland we have the workings of ancient civilisation's from our ancestors to visit and look upon. Great monumental works that were created but also fell into the abyss of mystery due to some sort of collapse. These places should be visited by people during these times, and we have an abundance on our doorstep. Civilisation's may rise and fall, but these places proove that some of the people will always find a way to carry on.

    "You have disgraced yourselves again" - W. B. Yeats

  • Registered Users Posts: 740 ✭✭✭purifol0

    The downfall can largely be traced back to the rise and eventual complete control by private central banks of the issuancy of our currency, plus interest.

    Any nation (not just western ones) that stood up for itself against them were either invaded, had their leader assassinated, or had to fight against corrupt politicans who had been bribed. Some examples of leaders who refused foreign private central bank control and issued their own currency only to be assassinated/targeted soonafter: Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, Muamar Qadaffi.

    This has been the root cause of incredible inflation and wealth inequality and the staggering devaluation of the dollar and euro. It also means that all that currency has to go somewhere,never mind stocks and shares, first its used to buy up all the assets like land and housing first, and then renting it back to people that need to live there but cannot generate a currency out of thin air.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,718 ✭✭✭silliussoddius

    Rothschilds, amirite?

  • Registered Users Posts: 740 ✭✭✭purifol0

    I notice that many commenters are very dismissive of "woke" culture as a force for decline.

    But unfortunately you are dead wrong.

    Woke in and of itself would be a minor fringe ideology of which there were many in colleges and the old internet.

    But since the worlds biggest ($10 Trillion) hedge fund "Blackrock" started screening companies and countries (ESG scores) we now see a ridiculous push of all sorts of discriminatory nonsense into every aspect of our daily lives that literally did not exist pre 2008 banking crises. All so public companies could get rich simply because of investor money, and governments could spend big by borrowing straight out of the magic money printer without having to raise taxes!

    So what if they had to legalize discrimination and lie about it, and plus the public wouldnt notice their buying power vanish til it was way too late.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,718 ✭✭✭silliussoddius

    Define “woke”.

    i have a feeling Blackrock doesn’t fall under it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 740 ✭✭✭purifol0

    I love the way you act dismissive as if Rothschild isn't the richest family ever to exist, didn't literally fund the British army in the 1800's and later get England to fight Germany in WW2, and convince the USA to join in.

    Fun fact Winstons Churchill father was a close friend of Nathan Rothschild, and received massive loans from him.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,718 ✭✭✭silliussoddius

    As I thought.

  • Registered Users Posts: 740 ✭✭✭purifol0

    Blackrock set the rules of the game. They most definitely don't have to play by them, but if you want those freshly (digitally) minted US dollars - you sure do.

    But they aren't the only ones contributed to the West's downfall.

    The EU pushes discrimination hard too, usually under the auspices of equality or feminism. Meritocracy? Now illegal!

    And of course the UN, especially the radfem UNwomen's. Some absolutely blatantly misandrist tweets there that often get deleted without apology.

    I'll add that "Woke" and Progressivism are often conflated or just mixed together, we're a long way from the original usage of black men in the US telling each other to "stay woke".

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,765 ✭✭✭✭Dohnjoe

    I've read articles like the above for pushing 4 decades now, there's a fair bit of cherry-picking going on that doesn't really reflect reality. For example, we have halved global poverty in 30 years. In terms of metrics, we are living in the most prosperous times in human history. Even domestically, Ireland in e.g. the 80's was worse on almost every level than it is today, but because houses were cheaper, some people see that as a sign "everything" is declining.

    Could modern civilization collapse? Sure, any number of catastrophes could set us back decades or even centuries, but the reality is that, on aggregate, we keep making undeniable progress, whether it's developing countries or progressive countries. We've just been through a a global pandemic, a war in Europe, an energy crisis, high inflation and (almost) a current banking crisis - are we queueing for food? Are we suffering mass unemployment? Nope. We can't move for luxury SUVs on our roads.

  • Registered Users Posts: 740 ✭✭✭purifol0

    No offence but your not looking at it from a practical point of view. The birth rate is declining, and countries are importing the next generation rather than their original citizens having children due to multiple issues none of them good. Eg two parents working to afford to have a family. Women needing IVF to conceive as it takes longer to save for motherhood krmfind a partner that can accord fatherhood. Men's sperm counts are at an all time low and they continue to fall with nary a peep out of the media.

    Certainly the modern world has technological advances and creature comforts but if you are a man and cannot put a roof over a woman's head, you may live at home with your ever more elderly parents but you won't get to father children.

    Now that is real decline, and we are living it right now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,177 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    This AI shite that is going on currently will soon surpass global warming in terms of the unsurmountable trouble it will cause us.

    We will end up losing control over our destiny, we will exist as robot's pets in tiny apartments, living in virtual reality for escapism. We will be allowed to do **** all and we will be continually monitored. We'll be told we are living a great life but we won't

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,177 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    The only thing that is still getting cheaper with the past few years is processing power. Every whole other thing is going up in price. Even solar panels are not getting cheaper anymore

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,787 ✭✭✭randd1

    No, it's not. There's only so much wealth that can be accumulated before people take action. A man with a billion quid to his name wouldn't last long against a billion people with one quid each.

    Take housing for example. Whether by vote or political revolution, things will reach a head and changes will eventually occur. In a social democracy like ours, it may become necessary that a change in law that limits the number of houses/apartments that a person/company can legally own will solve the issue of property accumulation. Or passing a law that any able-bodied unemployed have to work 3 days a week in developing social housing as part of collecting full dole.

    Arguably our biggest problems are energy, wastage and image. Energy is self explanatory, we need to develop self-dependence on energy, whether it's sticking 100,000 windmills around the cost or developing nuclear power. We all know this, all that's needed is the political will.

    Wastage is another obvious one, we don't need half the crap we do. Kids toys for example, do they need 10 toys for Christmas at a cost of €200 that they play with once? Or women that buy clothes, wear them once and throw them out? Or spending fortunes on exotic produce when we eat our own local stuff, like €3 for a cup of coffee when a 2ltr bottle of wat costs 70C?

    Image is another one. How many people have to have the McMansion, the two brand new cars, the foreign holidays, the top brands, the latest gear, the most up to date tech? All of this drives up prices and demand, which eventually sees people struggling or going into debt. For what? because the neighbours do the same? And why do we applaud stupidity, why do we make celebrities out of people like the cast of Geordie Shore and not people who develop new medical procedures/equipment, what does that say to young people?

    End the property market and develop housing/apartments strictly on a need basis, cut down on the stuff we don't need so we don't waste as much, and learn to be content with your lot if you're comfortable rather than wasting your time and money trying to keep up with others. I guarantee you too we'd collectively be mentally better off as well, and people who have a comfortable life rarely see their society collapse.

    And if we can't do any of that, blame the women, it worked in the past.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,361 ✭✭✭✭mariaalice

    Read Gore Vidal, John N Grey, if it happens it won't be any of the issues people think it will be, it will be something totally unexpected.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,246 ✭✭✭✭Dyr

    Interesting that the BBC, being the BBC, think that the west will collpase due to "inequality" and ignores the elephant in the room.

    Western civilisation, and all other developed civilisations, (Russia, China, Japan, Korea etc.) in the world right now are in a steep demographic nosedive. That will kill Western civilisation far faster than anything in that BBC article, but they sure won't mention that. Immigration of people whose societies never managed to develop to near the level of the west will not keep the show on the road.

    All the things that held Western civilisation together have been eroded by post war liberalism in the belief that they could saw the branch that we're sitting on from its tree trunk without it falling to the ground.