New York Times columnist and author of To Change the Church Ross Douthat delves into our society's stagnation and delivers some hard-hitting truths about how our actions today could lead to a historic crisis--or revitalization. Today, the Western world is suffering from a painful, nameless malaise. The optimistic view of the new millennium has receded, giving way to profound frustration and disillusionment. Here, The Decadent Society provides an enlightening and informative diagnosis of our modern condition. Author and New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat observes that Western societies are currently living through a paradoxical era called decadence, making some eye-opening yet well substantiated comparisons with the decline of the Roman Empire. Although we are seemingly blessed with a high level of material prosperity and technological development, our society is plagued by economic stagnation, institutional decay, and cultural and intellectual exhaustion. An age of decadence is marked by an absence of growth and innovation. Repetition is more the norm than innovation and complacency has infiltrated public institutions and private enterprises alike. Intellectual life seems to go in circles and new developments in science, new exploratory projects, underdeliver compared to people's expectations. In this insightful work of historical, economical, and philosophical synthesis, Douthat identifies the symptoms and origins of our current period of decadence, and projects the most likely paths the future will take--either renaissance or collapse.