An interesting piece on rise and fall of dynasties, which holds true for the growth and decline of any large systems including political philosophies (communism, capitalism, and so on), and businesses…
From The Arab Uprising Of 2011: Ibn Khaldun Encounters Civil Society – Analysis by FPRI, written by Theodore Friend (Eurasia Review News and Analysis, July 6, 2011)
Ibn Khaldûn…15th century North African traveler, scholar, diplomat, and judge reflected on the troubles of his own times. Going far beyond customary chronicles, he attempted to show the dynamics of social organization and urbanization that underlay them.
Key to the thinking of Ibn Khaldûn is the concept of asabiyyah: group solidarity or social cohesion 1. It was vital to overcome the savage pride of the Bedouins in order to generate cooperation, establish dynasties, and cultivate urban civilization, as distinct from the raw survival of desert life.
Once the principle of group solidarity was established, Ibn Khaldûn saw dynasties going through predictable cycles of five phases:
- successful overthrow of a royal predecessor;
- gaining of complete control;
- leisure and optimal expression of rule;
- contentment succumbs to lassitude and luxury;
- squandering breeds hatred in the people and disloyalty among the soldiers, and dynastic senility becomes an incurable disease.
The aritcle also makes the point that:
The journalistic notion of an “Arab Spring” is faulty on two counts.
But I will save that discussion for the future.
1 Ibn Khaldûn, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, Frank Rosenthal, trans.; N.J. Dawood, ed. (Princeton University Press, 1967); asabiyyah, xi; 152; stages, pp. 140-42 and passim.