Clearly, maintaining an imperial military creates artificial distortions in a society. If the money stops flowing to the military then not only will some businesses disappear, but even whole towns would (like those around military bases). You don’t have to wait to see what this would look like because an empire did fall almost 20 years ago now… The Soviet one. An Abandoned City is a fascinating photo tour of just such an abandoned town:
When the Soviet Union collapsed, government didn’t have much funds to support some small cities around strategically import[ant] objects. People of these cities were left all by themselves. Nobody could support them because any communication with this places terminated after the army decided that they now don’t have money to support those objects.
[Thanks Digg]3:47 pm on September 6, 2006 Email Stephen W. Carson