In the history of any nation, there is an epoch of maximum momentum, when this nation shows the ways of development to the rest of the world; however, later on, the same nation is bound to stumble and lag behind, if not entirely perish. One could find such historical summits in the past of many old countries, while the younger nations are still climbing up. Most probably, this character of development belongs to a particular stage of the human history, namely, that of civilization.
There are certain objectively necessary stages that any society has to pass. This is a fundamental law of economic development, and any attempt to skip the next stage and boost historical progress beyond its normal pace will be followed by a dramatic roll back, which can virtually annihilate the entire developmental capacity of the society.
Every phase of relative stability in history hides the future behind a kind of rubber wall: you can run against it and force it to give some way, but then it will throw you back with nearly as much momentum as you have applied to it. In this picture, the slow evolution of the economic basis of the society resembles repeatedly cutting tiny bits from the wall, which may eventually be made weak enough to allow yet another revolutionary attack to break through, thus opening new vistas for the humanity as a whole.