Mr. Rachman names Paul Kennedy at Yale, Niall Ferguson at Harvard and Ian Morris at Stanford as the major practitioners of Declinism, but for those of us who came of age in mid-century America, will recall that this triad of thinkers had political/literary allies, precursors : Jean-Francois Revel author of The Totalitarian Temptation and How Democracies Perish and Paul Johnson author of Modern Times helped to lay the groundwork for the political legitimacy of these thinkers, these theoreticians of decline. Not to speak of Spengler and his magnum opus.
Also recall the rise of the post-industrial age, as the harbinger of the information age, was in actuality the off-shoring of industrial jobs, to labor markets that considerably lowered the costs of production: China and India being the largest of these labor markets. One might observe that industrial decline and the rise of the information age led inexorably to political decline, if one were a Declinist. Not to speak of the fact that the Chinese are better Capitalists than we ever were, as their labor force is not free to form unions and negotiate their conditions of employment. The development/evolution of a Totalitarian Capitalism makes the rise of the Declinists and their narratives of Western degeneration seem politically plausible. Except for the fact of the precipitous rise in inequality in the Western Democracies, after the failed experiment with Neo-Liberalism. Marked by Thatcher/Reagan victories, and the watershed of those victories, in the Economic Collapse of 2008, too foreshorten it considerably, while not distorting the exercise of causation. The Piketty book made real Occupy Wall Street’s plangent political idea of the 1% versus the 99%.