By Etsuko UedaNatural disasters such as famine, drought, plague, earthquake, tsunami, flood, volcanic eruption, and large asteroid can devastate a wide region and wipe out the entire population or force them to relocate. However, often overlooked is a human factor: A path to a demise often seems to be paved with greed.
Roman empire was greedy. They sacked Egypt dry, and they treated German refugees badly although they had to rely on them as their military recruits. The accumulation of their grudge eventually pushed Goth (German) soldiers to turn against Rome. They surrounded and sieged Rome and completely destroyed it in the end (A.D. 410). After that, the Western Europe plunged into the Dark Ages (see the Dark Ages)
In the United states, the south became greedy when cotton business took off. Instead of sharing the wealth, the Southern white slave owners were too greedy to abolish the slave economy. In the end they lost everything they fought for.
The European world domination was almost complete except Japan and parts of China at the beginning of the 20th century. England and America were too greedy to let Japan share in with their colonial rule in Asia. Although Japan helped them to secure their Asian colonial interests against Germany during the World War I, after the war, they decided to strip Japan of war ships, push her back to a pre-industrial existence by imposing trade embargo to cut off critical resources such as oil and metal supplies. The White colonial empire coalition, including Russian Communist, used Chinese by supplying money, weapons, and military assistance to attack Japanese civilians as well as military in and around China to drag Japanese military into evermore expanding front to drain Japanese military resources, and to establish their puppet government. Although Japan successfully kicked the White colonial empire coalition out of Philippine, Indochina, Indonesia, and China, Japan was too greedy to see her limitation and to confine her influence within manageable areas, and lost everything in the end.
As soon as Japan was defeated, the old Western colonial rulers came back to Asia to resume their business as usual, only to find out that Japan has paved the way for the south east Asians to fight for their independence. Soon after, the Western colonialists all lost their colonies not only in Asia but also in Africa. And their ultimate prize, China, was lost to communism.
More recently, the greed of financial industry in America lead the entire world's economy into a catastrophic collapse. They had no problem making the people=government bale them out, since they are the power. The world is yet to fully recover from it, but the accumulation of wealth in the hands of those 1 % has not slowed down, and those barons of the financial industry are not showing any sign of remorse. Meanwhile, the world economic landscape is shifting right under their feet.
Western capitalists rejoiced when the Communist China changed its policy to welcome the Western capital investment to take advantage of cheap Chinese labor and its enormous market, only to find out that they have made the Chinese slave masters rich and created a monster with 19th century barbaric expansionist mindset and 21st century technology, invading and devastating every neighboring countries they can and more. Now the ultimate nightmare is unfolding in a form of declining economy in democratic western countries and economic and industrial/military rise of non-democratic China. Again those blinded by greed is about to find out what this Chinese lead new economic order has in store for them.
Remember, according to the communist China, they have claim to every land once owned by those who ruled "China" once. That includes a lot of places, many parts of Eastern Europe, Slavic and Islamic countries, India, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, in addition to those already being occupied by China like Tibet, Mongolia, Manchuria, and Uighur. It will require only a slight stretch of their logic to expand their claim to any nation that has a sizable "Chinese descendants". That would include the entire world.
Communists are no exception when it comes to greed, and their demise in Europe probably had a lot to do with their greed. Are the Chinese Communists smart enough to avoid the pit hole of greed? So far, they don't seem to be, but we will see. At least they are smart enough to avoid tripping over the Anti-Money Laundering laws so far. You have to give them that.