|Dust-bowl refugees walk towards Los Angeles during the Great Depression. House prices have now fallen further than in the 1930s. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis|
British Guardian Economics Editor, Larry Elliott ponders whether America in 2011 is Rome in 200AD or Britain on the eve of the first world war: an empire at the zenith of its power but with cracks beginning to show.
The experience of both Rome and Britain suggests that it is hard to stop the rot once it has set in, so here are the a few of the warning signs of trouble ahead: military overstretch, a widening gulf between rich and poor, a hollowed-out economy, citizens using debt to live beyond their means, and once-effective policies no longer working. -- "Decline and fall of the American empire"