2,500 Years Of Financial Crises :"Augustus Was The First Keynesian"

Tyler Durden's picture

"Augustus was the original Keynesian..." is how Bob Swarup, author of ‘Money Mania’, begins to explainto John Authers the constant threads of similarity between financial crises dating back to the 4th century BC; and why, it seems, we are entirely incapable of learning our lessons from them. Crucially, innovation and crises are related; and both have their roots in growing complexity, interaction and in human nature. Of course, as we noted recently, not one of our current slew of 'great thinkers' believes we will have another economic contraction, let alone another crisis...


As Authers concludes, crises are the negatives we have to put up with for the innovations we create... just don't tell the central banks...

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SheepDog-One's picture

Sure there's always been the elites who have tried to figure out how they can live as parasites on the other 99.999% of the rest of humanity, it's certainly nothing new. Bill Hicks said its a big ride, you go up and down and round and round, George Carlin said its a big club and you ain't in it.

Headbanger's picture

I knew it!  I never liked that guy from the moment I met him in one of my past lives!

He was always using the "Scroll-A-Prompter" and going out to play paganica with some flunkies!

You think I'm kidding!


Seer's picture

Thanks for the chuckle!

tmosley's picture

Augustus was far from the first.  Look back to any civilization that collapsed, and you will likely find those vile policies in play.

SheepDog-One's picture

Hell, 100,000 years ago there was likely some Neanderthal named Krug-man who was eating most of the mammoth meat the hunters brought back while he had spent the week lounging in the cave boning their wives.

Headbanger's picture

More like boning their kids!

NOZZLE's picture

KrugStain looks like a pedophile,  aren't most liberals pedophiles

Arius's picture


Augustus was far from the first. Look back to any civilization that collapsed, and you will likely find those vile policies in play.


Jesus used physical force only once in his lifetime

Xibalba's picture

Wasn't the first financial crisis in Egypt?  Not Greece?  

Ifigenia's picture

yeah, and first financial crisis in Egypt with Joseph Krudman interpreting the faraoh dream of cows and came up with seven years of keynesian remedies.

Afterward, the egyptans, tired of those paleo-keynesians from their country, why?

tmosley's picture

That's just plain insulting.

To pedophiles.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

"....aren't most liberals pedophiles"

If log cabin walls could speak.


But those two party hooks in your mouth look good on you, though....

aleph0's picture

I was wondering when this excuse would pop up ... had already thought 10 years ago they'd one day use this excuse.
Like : "It was all for your own good .. to accelerate growth"



GreatUncle's picture

Ha ha, in the beginning the growth they created was tiny lol now it is enormous. In this process 3 things happened.

1.) You can't contract it past the highest level currently reached without creating a recession or if you contract it too much a full blown depression and their choice is to grow slightly faster today than it was yesterday yet again.

2.) This growth is increasing efficiency we are told but in fact we allow a larger level of deflation that is happening to be masked by the money creation programme to generate ENOUGH INFLATION to compensate. If the economic wheel stops this is going to be like a train ploughing through the economy and the debt bolting the tracks to the rails will blow everywhere.

3.) Those denied getting onto the economic ladder at some point under such a system will be driven to fight with no other alternative. This is not a lifestyle choice for those but an act of no other option and bullshit to the "though shalt not kill to survive".


So central banker growth it is then, don't ever let the economy stop for one second will be to no avail if people are denied getting onto the economic ladder and they are.



Ifigenia's picture

If Augustus Was The First Keynesian then Publius Ovidius Naso must be the first Hugh Hefner"

Headbanger's picture

Hefner the poet??

Shirley ye jest!


Ifigenia's picture

Not as a poet, but as a connoisseurs in ars amatoria. This recomendation: "Quod erat longissima, numquam Thebais Hectoreo nupta resedit equo"  isnt useful? Hefner still have to learn, unfortunately, his time is up.

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

A horny old fellow called Hef
Gets his meals from his personal chef
Lots of money he’s made
He’s been frequently laid
He politically leans to the left

In Chicago Hugh Hefner was born
And he once was a subject of scorn
When he first published pics
Of some bare naked chicks
He was charged with distributing porn

After college he ...
machineh's picture

... and Nero the first Kurgman.

Burn a city, create jobs!

Ifigenia's picture

and Heliogabalus the first Baracus Obama and Emanuel his chariot driver.

NewAmericaNow's picture

The Collapse of the US and World economies will not be stopped it's too late https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D71aiYq7jeM

Seer's picture

There was never a brake to begin with.  "Go forth and multiply"- OOPS!

Joe A's picture

Many similarities between Rome and America. Rome used to tax their allies and conquered territories to the point where they turned against Rome. America has the petrodollar....

Gromit's picture

Rome demanded tribute in specie for protection...at least the US gives TBills in return.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Or destroy them.

Before the destruction of the 2nd temple all male Jews/Hebrews over 20 had to pay an annual tax of a half shekel for upkeep of the temple. The Roman goverment help in the transport of the money to Jerusalem. Not only that Rome took over the appointment of the high priest of the temple putting in their own fake jews aka Samaritans aka circumcised Gentiles who would be puppets for the Roman government. So between this and then finding out the Procurator of Judea Floria was taking a skim of silver off out of the coffers where these taxes where going for the upkeep of the temple as one would expect the jews revolted aka the Great Revolt that happened between 66 - 70 A.D.

So as we know the revolt was put down for good in 70 A.D. and the 2nd temple destroyed but it didn't end there.

Afterwards Emperor Vespasian and then Domitian still required them to pay that annual half shekel tax but instead of paying for the upkeep of the temple they now had to pay the tax directly to Rome.

Hebrews/Jews had 3 options at this point since a half shekel was a considerable amount of money in those days. 1 convert to Apostolic Christianity which followed their religious views the closest of them all to avoid paying the tax, convert to paganism to avoid paying the tax or not convert and keep paying the tax.

Which one did you think the majority did?

The only Jews exempt where the Samaritians since they were already servants of Rome. It gets better though under Domitan to collect the tax had his tax collectors go around pulling down people's tunics suspected of being converted jews to see if they were circumcised or not to collect that tax.

Rome basically taxed the original Hebrews/Jews out of existance and that is where the Samaritans totally took over Judaism since they were the only circumcised males exempt from the tax. They later bastardized translations of the old testament that still persist today. One of those notable bastardizations is by the Masoretes which was a later Samaritan offshoot that changed the name of Jehovah to Adon or Adonia in about 300 seperate instances the most blasphemous is that having Moses call God Adon after God reveals to Moses his name is Jehovah. The only currently known unaltered translation of the original Hebrew Old Testament is Greek Septuagint version written in Koine Greek.

Another aside on the Samaritans Christianity. Prior to even all this a prominent Samaritan named Simon Magus aka Simon the Magican converted and started his own sect of Christianity under Claudius that the Romans approved of since they always saw Apostolic Christianity as a threat. This particular sect was one of big winners later on during the Council of Nicaea and contributed to a modern day bastardization that Constantine adopted. Simon promoted the idea of that their human leader was in place of god aka the idea of the Pope in the first place and the worship of statues which is what modern Catholics do when they pray to the cross. The only true symbol of a Christian is the fish. It is a simple symbol with a simple meaning which is an arrow to point to the direction of where the church/temple is. You don't pray to it like an idol or statue unlike the cross in a church.

Other quick aside on Simon is the sin for which he known called Simony or the buying and selling of positions in the church. Does that sound familiar to modern politics.

goldsansstandard's picture

Please excuse typos. Im blind and its tough to write in this box.

Walking the streets of Haiffa, I stumbled upon an Israeli antiquities.store. They had no gold coins, but they had a "silver" Roman Denirius from soon after the destruction of the second temple.

I have it my hand right now. It is soft and nickel colored. Stamped over the Roman insignia is a relief of the second temple on one side and a lulag and essrog ( lemon and palm frond) on the other side.

The game for holding this coin two thousand years ago was death, if caught.
I love the story the coin tells. First it's cheap look and feel demonstrate in physical form the roman version of QE.
Then the overstamping by the money changers demonstrates that the temple priests did not care much for the coins. It also demonstrated that the priests did not want to be directly implicated in demanding real silver for Roman non virtual fiat.

They got the money changers to handle the dirtywork of converting real silver for the overstamped Roman denirius. At least thats the way I think it actually worke.

Out of punlic view , the priests would convert the stamped over fiat tokens with lackey money changer, letting the changers keep a bit of the real silcer.
At least thats how I thinked it work. Otherwise, whoneeds money changers.

Maximum deceit and fraud, backed y violence on the part of the Romans, and relgeous mumbo jumbo ,on the partof the priests and money changers.

Davalicious's picture

A dozen genetic studies agree that world wide Jewry is very closely related. The Ashkenazi branch of the family has 70% of the genes of the Sephardic, with only a 30% European admixture. These are a people who have isolated themselves from those amongst whom they dwelt (parasited off). The "fake" jew stories are an effort to stop us thinking of their unpleasant racial traits. They stick together like glue. Once they have a grip on your society they take over faster than you can say Timoshenko.


"Softly! Softly! I want none but the judges to hear me. The Jews have already gotten me into a fine mess, as they have many other gentlemen. I have no desire to furnish further grist for their mills."


"Yet the customs of this most criminal people have prevailed so much that they are adopted in all the world, and the conquered have given their laws to the conquerors"

John Kerry (Jewish) call his subordinate Victoria Nuland (Jewish) and tells her to install a Jewish President in Ukraine. Said President immediately installs three Jewish oligarchs as regional Governors. The world population of Jews is tiny. What are the odds?

GreatUncle's picture

Man climbed out of a tree the crisis was how to find enough food. Picked up a stick and scratched in the ground, crisis solved even better had an excess. At this point with an excess the future parasitical politicians and bankers appeared.


Now in ancient history the level of debt did not occur to hide itm you were forced to pay up else suffer the consequences. Today the level of debt is massive it dwarfs the global economy in comparison so it is now TBTF and becaused of this magnitude of debt cannot be bust IT IS JUST GOING TO GET A HELL OF ALOT BIGGER.

If anything the only way to solve this problem is for all value to be removed rendering the bankers worthless and that would be an evolution of human society to be fervently resisted by elites losing power. DENIED!

So we are now all set for an eternal central banker torment of populations in this never ending cycle where to bust the system collapses the global economu by those who control it.

In 2008 sovereigns should have bust all the banks and go again but chose to bail out the parasites for all eternity. Sure it would have been tough, but years later the problem still remains and the end consequence just getting bigger and bigger.

Sudden Debt's picture

It's not about the end of banking that's going to happen.
It the comming of fair valuation that going to rock the cradle.
And whatS fair?
Not just PE's of lower than 10.
Nop, it's a dividend of 10% per year on low risk investments, 25% on high risk investments.
Now that would mean that 4/5th of the stocks would vanish and the rest would crater 80%.
And that would be a much smaller stock market.

Just think, why would you buy a stock that doesn't give you money in return for it and the only way to make money on it is if there's a bigger fool who wants to give more money for it.

When a bank gives you money, you're also their risk. And what do they do? they ask interest according to the risk. They're the most normal of all of us!
It's the retail investors who are the morons.
So don't yell at the banks, it's the rest of us who created those beasts.

GreatUncle's picture

Totally agree on the fair valuation gonna rock the cradle.

Debt is only serviceable by the level of assets held at inflated values.

That has to be the central banker nightmare right now.



SAT 800's picture

Taking all the icing off the cake leaves a global economy 20% of the present size, maybe; and it'll service maybe 20% of the present population. the kind of changes you envision are rational; but they come with huge costs. One of the fundamental problems is excess human population.

Seer's picture

"One of the fundamental problems is excess human population."

Actually, the conumdrum for the System/TPTB is that they are served as a result of "economies of scale," and that "economies of scale" requires a lot of consumers to prop it up.

No matter how you look at it it's going to be more expensive to extract resources and to manufacture "products" with less people to help "ptich in" for the total costs.

If TPTB are thinking that it's all going to work at an 80% discount/reduction then they deserve to fall victims to the evolutionary forces.  Please note that I don't really dispute that TPTB might be angling at all this, but I have no real way of knowing, I don't sit in in their meetings or having any inside information.  I am always mindful that Possibility != Probability.

Sudden Debt's picture

Almost every company that's paying dividends is doing so by loaning money....
And it doesn't even lower the shareprice! The loans are added as assets and just added to the shareprice!
Off course this can continue forever! untill the bank want it's money back...

_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

...the money the bank doesn't really had in the first place...

SAT 800's picture

It does look like the blowoff phase of the great finance games economy; it certainly doesn't look like it can go on for very long at all. Maybe until next year.

SAT 800's picture

Most of these companies are selling Bonds to the public indirectly through junk bond funds; so the planned loser has no recourse; it doesn't matter if the public gets monkey-hammered; except for a slight problem of a great recession.

Seer's picture

Goes back more than 2,500 years.  Sir John Glubb demonstrated this as far back as 3,000 years ago.  It's all quire predictable, and it all stems from the pursuit of perpetual growth.


Winston Churchill's picture

Pasha was no fool, shame he is not taught in school instead of Keynesism.
The same history just plays again, and again, like a broken record, or is that CD nowadays.Doesn't matter what the tech is when human nature will not change,

Arius's picture

is it human nature??? not so sure about that ... most probably it is the same empire that has never collapsed, just morfed into somewhere else ...


lets see on what is happening now in our life time ....China seems to be coming up next...it will most probably emerge as the one of the new rulers with all that gold they are "importing" if we have a new monetary system with some gold backing that all signals seems to be pointing to... BUT, is it really china or smt else beyond it ....

Seer's picture

"most probably it is the same empire that has never collapsed, just morfed into somewhere else"

I suppose that in a sense this could be seen as correct.  I tend to just refer to it as the "System," or more specifically, "The Grow-Or-Die System."  And, really, I don't view it as evil or as having some premeditated evil intent, rather, I see the "end result" as being not all that "palatable."  I don't see there being an "solution" because I believe that there is no "solution" (the very word denotes permanance, and as long as there is time nothing is permanant). I could view this as quite troublesome, but there really isn't anything that can be done about it.  On the other hand, I CAN at least try to discredit poor logic and misplaced identification of the "problem."

The chief cause of problems is solutions.

- Eric Sevareid

SAT 800's picture

This is a very interesting paper; I read it the other day.

Seer's picture

It's always tough to encounter something that may disprove one's views on things.  I've always appreciated Betrand Russell's quote (paraphrasing): "I would never die for my beliefs because I may be wrong."

msmith9962's picture

I had not heard that one.  I like it.  I frequently tout myself as the most reasonable man on earth (mostly to my wife) and will listen to anybody with an open mind.  I find many people dont care to dig deeper because of biases, narrow mindedness.  I suspect many ZHers are interested in digging deeper for the truth which requires an open mind.

Had a discussion with my 10 year old this am about choosing sides.  I suggested she be on the side of truth.  She said there could be 2 truths.  I suggested only 1 truth.  Opinions and perceptions are not necessarily truths. 

indio007's picture

I don't like his attitude that these crisises are somehow accidental and not intentional fleecings.

SAT 800's picture

too bad you don't like it; it's not an attitude; it's a thesis. Attitudes for girls.

SAT 800's picture

There's no evidence at all for intentional fleecings; none. When Empires die; pretty much everyone loses. if you disagee with an author present your case and your evidence; your opinion means nothing.

honestann's picture

What BS.  Global slavery is the price everyone must pay for some claimed but utterly unsupported "better future".  What BS.

Rename the study to "3000 years of predators versus producers".

HowardBeale's picture

"constant threads of similarity between financial crises dating back to the 4th century BC; and why, it seems, we are entirely incapable of learning our lessons from them"

Who would the purported "learner" be? The Human population?

Edward O. Wilson, in Robert Wright's 1980s interview of him (Three Scientists and Their Gods), equates our complex, modern society to an organism, each part having its role; the whole organism at risk [of changing its form] if any part fails(very loose paraphrase). "We" are the biotic micro gears in the macro machine: we live in our own little worlds; we do what keeps us alive and satisfying our needs--now. The larger organism (human population) has no--can't have an--agenda: it just is. There is no way for the toenail of human society to collaborate with the scrotum (near or comprising Washington D.C.) and seek a mutually beneficial outcome that maintains some arbitrary form of the macro-organism. There is no learner to learn. "Nothing else matters..."

SAT 800's picture

Yes; very good. It's the "WE"; that is the learner, and it drives me bonkers. I belong to a very small we, and even we, we, don't seem to learn very often; as for the great unwashed WE; you've got to be kidding.

Seer's picture

And this pretty much sums up why there's no collective "plot" by TPTB.  TPTB just do what they do, and they have learned how to maintain thier positions of power; whether what they do crashes everyhing or not they have little control over because of all the other forces out there.  It is why I say that it makes ZERO sense for TPTB to look to change that which provides them with power and control.

Continuing to seek to dismantle TPTB and replace them with something else to "fix the problem" does nothing of the sort, it merely shuffles the chairs on the Titanic: or, refer to the Bolsheviks' success (long-term).

If the US and the West hadn't been meddling all over and encirling Russia I'd think that there would hardly be any need for Russia to even be in the news.  All of TPTB would be happy and continuing with the status quo.  The pressures of resource scarcity are coming to bear on TPTB, and, as we've seen with the big corporations, the battle is on to stay aloft/on top.  Look at the professional athletes, on the court they appear to us as wanting to kill one another, and then off-court, they are locked arm-in-arm dinning and drinking together.  Same with the big CEOs.  Same with politicians.  Why would they want to disrupt all of this by taking their fights "off court" if not out of fear of losing their "off court" positions, losing their "status quo?"

No, there are fundamentals here at work that are under the control of no one, of no group or groups.