Archive for the ‘Price Controls’ Category

Why Rome Fell

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This is a very interesting article I’ve picked up from vizigot at the liberalism.ro forum

http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cjv14n2-7.html

Taxation, inflation, price controls, then pure and unabashed slavery is what led to the near dissolution of a social system. But interestingly (not paradoxically), the end of the state was a great relief for the strangled populace.

In the end, there was no money left to pay the army, build forts or ships, or protect the frontier. The barbarian invasions, which were the final blow to the Roman state in the fifth century, were simply the culmination of three centuries of deterioration in the fiscal capacity of the state to defend itself. Indeed, many Romans welcomed the barbarians as saviors from the onerous tax burden.

Although the fall of Rome appears as a cataclysmic event in history, for the bulk of Roman citizens it had little impact on their way of life. As Henri Pirenne (1939: 33-62) has pointed out, once the invaders effectively had displaced the Roman government they settled into governing themselves. At this point, they no longer had any incentive to pillage, but rather sought to provide peace and stability in the areas they controlled. After all, the wealthier their subjects the greater their taxpaying capacity.

In conclusion, the fall of Rome was fundamentally due to economic deterioration resulting from excessive taxation, inflation, and over-regulation. Higher and higher taxes failed to raise additional revenues because wealthier taxpayers could evade such taxes while the middle class–and its taxpaying capacity–were exterminated. Although the final demise of the Roman Empire in the West (its Eastern half continued on as the Byzantine Empire) was an event of great historical importance, for most Romans it was a relief.

Feel free to check it out.