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A "gentle decline" is always a possibility

One of our favorite analysts Charles Hugh Smith talks about the American Empire which he says is in the early stages of collapse.

Question #1: Is the US an empire?
Question #2: Is it an empire on the rise, plateauing or in decline?
Question #3 What are the practical consequences of all this

Note this historical fact well: Empire's coinage tends to last longer than the empire itself. (i.e. don't underestimate the value of cash in hand. Real cash that is. Not entries in a bank or brokerage house account.)