Dmitry Orlov mapped the fall of the USSR and found that it applies to any and all.
The seven stages of collapse are:
Stage 1: The Empire has ‘good money’ (backed by gold and/or silver) and wealth.
Stage 2: Social programs develop.
Stage 3: Massive military build up and warfare becomes commonplace.
Stage 4: Expenses increase so taxes go up.
Stage 5: To pay for these expenses, the government begins to take the wealth of its people by stealth through either debasement of its currency and/or the creation of fiat currency. What it can’t raise by taxes, it borrows.
Stage 6: A loss of faith in government and currency occurs.
Stage 7: An end mass-movement out of the fiat currency into precious metals, causing end of paper currency and inflation.http://www.bullion-dealer.co.uk/index.php?cID=146