The British historian, Michael Wood, has recently posited the idea of drawing on the lessons of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire as a way out of the current economic malaise. He is seeking to open a debate as to whether there are similarities between the collapse of the Roman system, and modern modern capitalism.
Rome certainly looked upon itself as an ever growing and civilizing force for good, all be it it's own good. The E.U. has grown far beyond the original idea of a trading bloc into a pan-European crusade to incorporate as many states as possible. Apparently, heedless of their economic condition and suitability for integration.
The world banking system has teetered on the brink on a number of occassions, as indeed Rome itself found it harder and harder to make the figures balance. All civilizations come to an end, so should we be looking back more to find an answer to the future?