Retrogression occurs when social progress is reversed and civilization begins to decline.
F.A. Harper notes, "Progress is but a step away from retrogression. And whereas progress is a difficult upward climb, the slide down the slope of retrogression is so simple that even the most ignorant can negotiate it." Ludwig von Mises notes, "The death of nations is the retrogression of the social relation, the retrogression of the division of labor. Whatever may have been the cause in individual cases, it has always been the cessation of the disposition to social cooperation which actually effected the decline."
Mises further remarks, "It is only slowly and with difficulty that the idea of Law triumphs. Only slowly and with difficulty does it rebut the principle of violence. Again and again there are reactions; again and again the history of Law has to start once more from the beginning. Of the ancient Germans Tacitus relates: 'Pigrum quin immo et iners videtur sudore adquirere quod possis sanguine parare.' (It seems feckless, nay more, even slothful, to acquire something by toil and sweat which you could grab by the shedding of blood.) It is a far cry from this view to the views that dominate modern economic life."
- Harper, F.A. (23 November 2011). "Government and Progress". http://mises.org/daily/5605/.
- Mises, Ludwig von. "Social Regression". Socialism. http://mises.org/books/socialism/part3_ch18.aspx#_sec7.
- Mises, Ludwig von. "The Theory of Violence and the Theory of Contract". Socialism. http://mises.org/books/socialism/part1_ch.1.aspx#_sec2.