First of all, everybody can see that the economist class that owns banks and governments....feel that by virtue of their privileged birth and education they can steal from the public at will. The second is that this whole sovereign debt charade is just a continuation of that mentality in the pockets of every last citizen for the remaining drachmas pesos dollars and pounds that are slowly but surely accruing at the top of that putrid food chain. And the third emerging reality is that the game will continue until governments are toppled by the people from whom they are stealing. _Source
James West, author of the paragraph re-posted above, provides an intriguing snapshot of the world's economic state in the 28 June 2011 edition of his MidasLetter, titled "United States of Denial." He looks at Europe, Asia, the US, and Canada, at this moment in time -- a cross-sectional view that is worth a look.
One cannot see an entire cycle of civilisational rise and fall from one mere cross-section, but if you place enough cross-sectional views together, one can see the essentials.
Financial writers and analysts focus on economic and financial happenings to the exclusion of everything else, but most of the societal repercussions of the rise and fall of a global economy can be inferred with just a little knowledge of human nature.
Wars, famines, pestilences, poverty, and massive hardship all hinge on mundane matters such as interest rates and fiduciary responsibility. When most advanced nations are in a state of massive debt, where fractions of a point in lending rates can mean the difference between a fall in governments or continued good times, western civilisation has come to a precarious point.
When civilisations rise and fall, people's lives are affected by the turbulence in many ways. How well they weather the storminess is largely up to them and their immediate support structures. If government infrastructure is collapsing, one can not count government as one of his immediate support structures.