In the early 1900s Argentina was the second richest country in the world. In subsequent decades its middle class enjoyed a very high standard of living. The country was rich in seemingly infinite natural resources, copious crop producing areas whose soils were as rich as any on the planet short of Iowa and vast, wide open spaces, ripe for exploration and exploitation.
In the subsequent decades the population of Argentina made a decision, whether it was conscious or unconscious is open to debate, but it was a decisive one, nonetheless. The large middle and smaller upper classes of Argentina decided to abdicate governance to a small ruling class while they enjoyed a life of leisure, decadence, and for many, a non-stop party.
The following decades brought a parade of one corrupt and incompetent regime after another, vacillating between right, then left flavors of greed, fraud and ineptness.
The alternating conservative and liberal governments used common methods to divert the population’s attention from their disastrous job of non-governance: radical partisanship, extreme nationalism, phony threats from across the borders and abroad, illogical wars, blaming all problems on foreign or world body institutions, etc.
All the while the population watched popular entertainment, cheered on their favorite football team and partied the night away.
Finally, after nearly a century, the party came to halt. The country’s public debts were enormous, unemployment rose, runaway inflation ensued, real GDP fell, the currency collapsed, the government defaulted on its bonds and the economy imploded.
Any parallels you may draw to a country you are closely familiar with are entirely up to you.