There is a common theory, that seems very convincing to me, that higher cultures started developing when the burden of gathering food was lifted from parts of the society, and these parts could start to develop a civilization. It seems natural, that this would happen in the least harsh environments on earth, those without severe winters, once people started farming. Hence the earliest civilizations seem to have spawned in a belt at the height of the mediterranean sea. To tell the uncomfortable truth many if not all of those regions, are today considered "culturally inferior". The South of Spain and Italy are considered to be lazy even by inhabitants of those countries. The Arab countries are far removed from their cultural hey days, with suppression of science, and resurging conflicts. India one of the former apexes of early civilization, has a reputation of laziness, and again the further South the worse. I could continue the walk around the globe and argue about individual countries. The only modern exception, that I can think of is California. I realize that this must enrage quite a few people, but I am surely not the first person to notice this. Are there any theories as to how the decline of these places has come about? Are there theories involving climate, or natural courses of civilizations?