How Inflation Destroyed the Roman Empire

There were many reasons the Roman Empire fell but, inflation and government spending were huge parts.  Government stimulus programs and public works became common then as they are today.  People today underestimate the complexity of the Roman Empire but, their bureaucracy was almost as large as ours today.  Aqueducts were often created to give people employment just like “The Community Reinvestment Act” seeks to do today.  I find this interesting on many different levels.  For one, Rome’s policies were very similar to ours today.  They even had similar names like jobs bill and community reinvestment act.    There is a book written in the 1940s called the “New Deal in Old Rome” that compares Roman governance in the later Empire to New Deal programs.  The parallels are almost bizarre.

Then, just like today, government bureaucracy and spending were only part of the problem, the much bigger problem was inflation.  Inflation was rampant and brought the Empire to its knees.  The rates of inflation increased over time at a similar rate to that at which the United States is currently.


What is really staggering is that the Roman Empire’s fiscal transgressions are nothing compared to the modern United States’.  Rome had to dilute its coins by recalling them every few years and watering them down with other metals, while the U.S. can simply print bills of credit to infinity with no checks in place at all.  Nero would be envious indeed of the American State’s monetary power.  Rome also centralized everything into its capital city and attempted to regulate its provinces from afar but, again this is nothing compared to the centralization that Washington DC has been able to accomplish.  For all the corruption that infected the Roman government, it is tame compared to the corruption of the American Political Class. Here is a brief presentation on Roman Inflation.

This one is a bit longer.



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