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How do dominant political houses of power rise and fall in history? Ibn Khaldun (14th c.) — the 1st sociologist — identified 4 stages:

1st unification under a zealous portion of the population to form a new ‘order’;
2nd consolidation by spreading zeal amongst population;

3rd prevention of a counter rebellion via a strong economy to ensure the leaders’ longevity;
4th decline/loss of power when the population has tired of promises and zealotry.

Under false promises Ibn Khadun wrote “as the result of the dissolution of group feeling and the disappearance of the tribe that founded it…there is the fear of (complete) destruction.”

The 3rd stage is important:

* revenues go to his allies, supporters, and military
* revenues are spent on maintaining the leaders’ power
* but to appease a weakening base, revenues from taxes decrease
* thus the state’s need for money becomes more urgent

Now, his gatekeepers are no longer safe or secure, their positions lose importance, and the authority of the ruler’s position shrinks.

This leads to the next urgent stage :

* loyalties become challenged from within

[Note #whistleblower]

It doesn’t end well.

Gatekeepers are no longer as loyal as they had originally been.

At this stage, the ruler believes he’s more entitled to the wealth of the position, appropriates it for himself, and becomes more detestable to the people.

The final stage: he then loses his closest entourage and wealthy intimates.

Ibn Khaldun concludes,

“The edifice of glory crumbles, after having been supported and built up to a great height by those who shared in it.[1]”


This is referred to as Ibn Khaldun’s “Cyclical Theory” from his tour de force ‘The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History', Vol. I (1377).

It has stood the test of time. It has affected powers in all states in any country.

And we are seeing it play out right now, today.

PS: The conclusion? Such autocrats usually die in office (suicide or murder), or ousted in a coup. They die alone, despised, and not a single person left as yes-man.
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