It is easy and natural to think of the woes of the West’s main powers as an economic problem. Because that’s the way it is presented to us. And it is economic – at least, superficially. But if you take a step back, what we’re really living through is the decline of the West.
It’s not just about Spain’s debts and Europe’s currency, or even just about Europe. It’s not just about Washington’s deficits and the US recession, or even just about the US.
These are the symptoms and the locations of a common dysfunction, not driven by some remote economic force but by people and politics. That dysfunction is very human, very normal and very simple. The central driver in the decline of the West is indulgence.