Since well before the days of Oswald Spengler, speculations on the decline and fall of Western Civilization, and proclamations of gloom and doom for the American experiment, have proved extraordinarily popular.
The last century has witnessed dozens of candidates for the role of global gravedigger. Nikita Khrushchev’s proclamation that “we will bury you” has hardly been an isolated belief.
The most recent attempt to describe the ascent and descent of civilizations on a global scale and to discern the root causes of rise and fall – to understand “the patterns of history and what they reveal about the future” — is Why the West Rules – For Now, by archaeologist Ian Morris.
Writing for Foreign Affairs in West Is Best?, Timur Kuran appraises Morris’ work with a skeptical eye.