Guest Post: Decline And Fall Of The New Rome

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Luke Eastwood

Decline And Fall Of The New Rome

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.

Finally, only the genuinely rich and those employed by the government, such as soldiers and bureaucrats had any real spending power – the vast mass of the population became increasingly hard pressed and the fabric of the empire began to break apart.

Does that ring any bells? Of course, in this current climate of political indifference and incompetence it is the ordinary taxpaying citizens of Europe, Japan and America that are paying for big government, a corrupt and insulated financial sector and especially the imperial overreach of the (supposedly) ex-imperial powers within NATO.

Just as Rome did not collapse overnight, the American/Japanese/European axis is not collapsing overnight. However, what is clear is that history is repeating itself – the Western economies are doomed to fail if they are not radically reformed.

Just like in Rome, corruption in all of these governments is endemic and expecting reform is rather like expecting a judge to order his own execution for obstruction of justice. So what we can expect is a gradual and inexorable decline and fall; the only real matter for discussion is how long will it take this time around?

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GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Same as it ever was.

The Gooch's picture

Look where my invisible hand was.

unununium's picture

On that important epic tragic decline, the 6-volume set by Gibbons is authoritative and fascinating, even though it was written over 200 years ago. 

Obama = Alexander Severus (well-meaning and clueless)

Bush II = Arcadius (dominated by his ministers)

...

 

ATM's picture

Obama is anything but well meaning and clueless.

Abraxas's picture

Maybe. But he's still just a marionette, not the puppet-master.

ghandi's picture

Lamentably though, we have no Cicero equivalent.

it aint paranoia if they really are out too harm you's picture

Ron Paul may come the close.

Pinto Currency's picture

 

The result of 100 years of fiat currency becomes increasingly clear now.

Just like the fall of Rome was blamed on lead in the water pipes, we'll probably blame this on 'greed', or derivatives, or global warming er, climate change, etc.

Hell, let's blame it on capitalism and the market economy.  Now, only collectivism for the masses with oligarchs owning all of the key assets can work.

Squiddly Diddly's picture

The Court pimps or historitutes (credit Celente) are busy spinning up the "official version" as we speak. Cue Richard Norton Smith (the more middle names the greater the cred, right?) We are all Antony Sutton now!

Pinto Currency's picture

 

Cue Niall Ferguson.  Ready and at your service to write any version so wished.

WTFRLY's picture

Right, Obama isn't the maestro but he's not dumb. He's a much more capable puppet than George Bush and he keeps the liberal end of the sheep population in a trance.

espirit's picture

Which is a growing minority (majority?).  Free Shit Army.

Pinto Currency's picture

 

Obama and Biden think they are riding on a stubborn and recalcitrant mule that just needs to be goaded and whipped to get to its destination.

They are starting to realize that they are glued into the saddle on an 800 lb. tiger that is waking up.

What we are currently seeing with Biden and Obama is a version of Blazing Saddles, unless there is meaninglful reform and ridding of the yolk of central banking, next comes a combination of Red Dawn, No Country for Old Men, Lord of the Rings, and Altas Shrugged.  Might be decades.

jusman's picture

If it is 4 decades I may just make it to my nineties - and frankly not give a damn!

 

Pinto Currency's picture

 

If you make it through the intervening decades.

We are slipping and being pushed into chaos.

MisterMousePotato's picture

@esprit:

In California (and several other states as well), they are not a "minority," growing or otherwise. They are a clear majority; specifically, in California, for example (which is only third worst or so), there are 139 .gov.union and welfare types for every 100 in the private sector.

And remember ... democracy is 139 wolves and 100 sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

hivekiller's picture

He's Mr step and fetch it for the banksters. The front guy so all those guilty white people in Amerika can feel better about themselves for voting in a worthless sack of shit.

tonyw's picture

Obama is like ALL  US politicians, i.e. dependant on the large funders who = 0.05% of the population.

Unless a politician gets the money from the funders they have little chance of being on the ballot and almost no chance of being elected.

We need the politicians to be dependant on the people alone = a representative democracy, not large contributors who will influence/corrupt the politicians.

 

Urban Redneck's picture

If we are playing to mirror the actual historical timeline I would ammend my previous post below to reflect-

Bubba wears Caligula's crown (and Hillary gets a supporting role as Incitatus in the Senate)

W gets to play Commodus

Hussein gets crowned Caracalla

debasers all around...

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

The Roman State/Empire was around for about 900 years. We have been around as an independent entity about 250 years. The more appropriate parralel would be end of the Republic. Hail Ceasar!! 

Jambo Mambo Bill's picture

Well said! If you consider the Eastern Roman empire in Constantine, the Roman empire existed for more than 1500 yeas, the US empire its around really, for 200 years and so going down hill already. The US is not the New Roman empire, will never be even close. It's just another human experiment, just like FIAT money.

robobbob's picture

it depends on whether you base your countdown on the individual countries who have held the temporary mantle of western leadership, or start it at the beginning of fractional reserve/central banking oligarchy gaining control of the nation states.

Ghordius's picture

+1 which means that it's not one empire, more a web of multiple ones - for example a financial and a commercial one, one centered on oil and another centered on media, etc. etc.

psychobilly's picture

" The more appropriate parralel would be end of the Republic."

No.  It was Lincoln (America's Caesar) that finished off the Republic and set the stage for empire.  It's later than you think.

Lednbrass's picture

Quite so, I am amazed at the number of idiots out there who will sing Lincoln's praises one minute and scream about the growth of the government in the next. Anyone who likes Lincoln should love what our government has grown into, it is the logical result of ol' Honest Ape.

The Republic as it was founded died a century and a half ago amid mass land confiscation, theft, murder, rape, and pillage.

Ludwig Van's picture

I tend to lean into Toffler's view (cf. *Future Shock*), re. the wide perceptual -- social, cultural, political, et al. -- "speeding up" of time. I submit that from the early days of oil extraction, say mid-19th Century, the world and its inhabitants have experienced a transformation *greater* than that of generations of ancients over millennia.

Is fifteen hundred years ending a thousand years ago the societal equivalent of a couple hundred years bringing us to April 2013?

What would Einstein say? A lifespan is a lifespan?

.

Ghordius's picture

does the empire split in a western and eastern part?

Urban Redneck's picture

North-South is the traditional US fetish, and it seems to be picking up popularity across the pond... 

Whoa Dammit's picture

Gibbons Volume IV:

"Every law, either human or divine, was trampled under foot; and as long as the party was successful, its deluded followers appeared careless of private distress or public calamity."

espirit's picture

+1001

2 Timothy - The Dangers of the Last Days.

BooMushroom's picture

And for those who don't have access to Harvard's library, with its books that are centuries old, google DOES have access:

http://books.google.com/books/pdf/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of...

nicoacademia's picture

it says AbeBooks. nuff said.

Arrowflinger's picture

Dunno where your's was, but the Bernank has his on CTRL-P.

Think Caligula with infinite electronic 'money' power.

When the masses no longer believe it is MONEY, gulp real hard.

 

Abraxas's picture

I see AG and BB more as Neros than Caligulas. they have been burning the place to the ground, fidling away while doing so and scapegoating others for their own deeds.

Pool Shark's picture

 

 

ROME:  Bread and Circuses.

US: Food Stamps and Cable TV.

 

 

Bad Asset's picture

you could add gladiators and American athletes.

Pool Shark's picture

 

 

I could add Gladiators, but then when do you stop?

I didn't want the post to turn into this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExWfh6sGyso

disabledvet's picture

How about this guy then: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heracles and of course "he was tasked with the impossible" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labours_of_Hercules to me this is one of the Greatest Stories Ever Told. "with everyone watching" of course.

FieldingMellish's picture

I would have thought Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty.

InTheLandOfTheBlind's picture

Gladiators fought for their lives, not millions.  What we have are pussified men that are well paid.

InTheLandOfTheBlind's picture

Gladiators fought for their lives, not millions.  What we have are pussified men that are well paid.

psychobilly's picture

"Gladiators fought for their lives, not millions.  What we have are pussified men that are well paid."

The most successful gladiators became wealthy and famous.  Same goes for the charioteers.

Arena sports today serve the same ends:  distract the lower orders and channel their energies into activities that aren't threatening to the establishment/status quo.

duo's picture

I was going to say SNAP and NASCAR.

 

N57Mike's picture

DHS = Praetorian Guard

Bush, Clinton, Obama = Caesors

Welfare = bread & circus'

Comparisons go on & on,this was a terrific article. My hope is that a new Jesus, and new way of life that comes out calamity and Armageddon. It may take thousands more years but humanity is destined to rejoin with spirituality.