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:
2 ascension to empire;
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.