What explains the rise and fall of civilisations? Civilisations are a puzzle as their ascendency and triumph tend to sow the seeds of their own destruction. Great civilisations and empires rarely perish in an encounter with superior military force on the battleground, rather their downfall is typically caused by socio-economic changes linked to advancement and prosperity. Socially, successful civilisations develop an advanced urbanised cosmopolitan with disdain for conserving the traditional. Economically, successful civilisations develop growing wealth disparity, become excessively materialistic and economic deterministic, while overextending themselves and debasing the currency.