The Five Stages of the Empire Model

by David Murrin

The Five Stages of Empire – a model of the growth and decline of civilisations – can provide a way both to understand history’s ‘big picture’ and to accurately assess current and future geopolitical environments. To illustrate the influence and power projection possessed by an empire, Figure 5 uses a graphical representation of the five stages similar to a Gaussian curve – a statistical probability distribution of data around an average. Empires are not all the same, of course, but the majority of them exhibit a similar distribution, peaking at about 60-70 percent along their life cycles. The Five Stages of Empire, then, are as follows:

1 regionalisation;
2 ascension to empire;
3 maturity;
4 overextension;
5 decline and legacy.

These five stages can be compared to the human life cycle, beginning with birth and a period of nurturing, and followed by independence, self-expression and the manifestation of one’s capabilities in the world. A peak is reached after, say, four or five decades; if it could be measured, it would comprise a mixture of wealth, energy, health, contentment, power and creativity. Finally, the decline towards death begins, completing the cycle.

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About Radnor Reports

Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is retired chairman of Radnor Inc., an international political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Known as a coalition builder, he has participated in election campaigns and legislative efforts in the United States and several other countries.
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