Luke Eastwood @ Zero Hedge:
Rampant inflation, caused by debasement of the currency, government corruption and nanny state corrective action that makes matters worse. Declining trade, caused by wars to control the empire, massive military over-reach and ever increasing spending on the military – funded by increases in taxation on the citizens, especially those least in a position to pay.
Sounds familiar? The above, paragraph describes not our present day society but that of the Roman Empire from the 3rd century onwards. However, one could be forgiven for thinking I was describing the faltering western economies of America, Japan and Europe.
The similarities between the declining ancient Roman empire and current Western empire are quite striking. Not only are the same mistakes being made by our rulers, but the symbolism and structure of our governments differs remarkably little from that of Rome. Just take a look at the White House, the US Senate building, the Bank of England etc – it’s no coincidence that they are all built in the Roman style.
Just as the Romans debased their silver denarius from 95% in the time of Augustus, by the end of the empire it was as low as 0.2% silver. Right now western governments are involved in a devaluation war, which ultimately will lead to hyper-inflation – just as it did throughout the Roman empire.
Attempts to sure-up the economy of the empire all failed – e.g. reforms by Constantine and Diocletian failed, just as the inept efforts of our current political class are failing pitifully.
For those that could afford gold coins instead of dealing in token coinage (i.e. debased silver coins) they had real buying power and the ability to fulfil their imperial tax obligations. Unfortunately the poorer citizens were often unable to pay their taxes, due to rampant inflation, which meant they had to forfeit their property instead.
Of course as the costs of running a huge military to control a vast and unruly empire increased so too did the taxes. Over time huge numbers became delinquents or just simply disappeared and even the once wealthy classes became severely pressured.