EUROPA, US, ROMA ANNO DOMINI 2010
The bells of history are ringing out loud for those elites on the top of the global social pyramid who repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Admist the deep multiple systemic crisis of the western world, a crisis that threatens to dissintegrate the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom, history lessons serve a unique chance to steer away from the inbound disaster, a disaster that will make the systemic collapse of the over 1000 years lasting Roman Empire in Europe look like childrens games…
…Now, we may wish to find some lessons in this tale of the monetary policies of the late Roman Empire. The first lesson, I think, must be that if war is the health of the state, as Randolph Bourne said, it is poison to a stable and sound money. The Roman monetary crisis therefore was closely connected with the Roman military problem.
Another lesson is that problems become solvable when a ruler decides that something can be done and must be done. Diocletian and Constantine clearly were willing to act to protect their own ruling-class interests, the military and the civil service.
Monetary reforms were necessary to win the support of the troops and the bureaucrats, who composed the only real constituency of the Roman state, and the two-tier system was designed to this end. It brought about a stable monetary standard for the ruling group, who did not hesitate to secure it at the expense of the mass of the population.
The Roman state survived. The liberty of the Roman people did not. When freedom became possible in the West in the 5th century, with the barbarian invasions, people took advantage of the possibility of change.
The peasantry had become totally alienated from the Roman state because they were no longer free.
The business community likewise was no longer free.
And the middle class of the cities was no longer free.
The economy of the West was perhaps more fatally weakened than that of the East. The early 5th century Christian priest Salvian of Marseille wrote an account of why the Roman state was collapsing in the West — he was writing from France (Gaul).
Salvian says that the Roman state is collapsing because it deserves collapse; because it had denied the first premise of good government, which is justice to the people.
By justice he meant a just system of taxation. Salvian tells us, and I don’t think he’s exaggerating, that one of the reasons why the Roman state collapsed in the 5th century was that the Roman people, the mass of the population, had but one wish after being captured by the barbarians: to never again fall under the rule of the Roman bureaucracy.
In other words, the Roman state was the enemy; the barbarians were the liberators. And this undoubtedly was due to the inflation of the 3rd century. While the state had solved the monetary problem for its own constituents, it had failed to solve it for the masses. Rome continued to use an oppressive system of taxation in order to fill the coffers of the ruling bureaucrats and soldiers.