Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quote O' The Day..

"The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."

Margaret Thatcher


Anonymous said...

Maggie was the best! I witnessed 1st hand many of her changes : you can not imagine how bad things could get in a Western democracy unless you had a chance to live in Britain in the late 1970s & then compare it with the very late 1980s. Night & day.

Ymarsakar said...

Yes... but the Romans solved it by the simple expediency of invading other nations and looting their economies. Why can't this work for America, eh?

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Ymarsakar,
Simple answer...because it doesn't work.

While it took some time to catchup to them, the Roman economy developed massive problems with unemployment, entitlements, deficits and inflation after they switched from being a Republic to a predatory empire.

The plebes became disenfranchised and were suported by the empire ( 'bread and circuses')because slave labor was thought of as cheaper,even though we know now that it was extraordinarily unproductive.

The Romans faced huge deficits because of that and because of the costs of running a huge empire and suporting a huge military establishment, which led to massive inflation. Our word salary actually comes from the Latin word 'salarus' which means salt..because the Roman centurions refused to be paid in the debased ARoman currency and insisted on being paid in salt, which had some monetary value! The old expression about a man 'not being worth his salt' comes from the same source.

A little closer to our own time, I don't have links but there are a number of studies that show that the European colonial empires mostly cost far more over the long run than they ever brought in.

Far better to control stuff comercially and quickly eliminate any threats to economic hegemony, if we're going that route!


Anonymous said...

Simple answer...because it doesn't work.

Of course it doesn't work. But that is why Obama is going to go for it, should we run out of money. Why should he care about the ultimate decades or centuries future of America, once he has his bread and circuses?

The plebes became disenfranchised and were suported by the empire ( 'bread and circuses')because slave labor was thought of as cheaper,even though we know now that it was extraordinarily unproductive.

The slave trade also helped destroy Rome's middle class of yeomen. The huge Latifundia, worked by slaves, that provided the Senate (class) their assets on the Italian peninsula were created by appropriating the land of the Roman equitus (knight) class. Those were the people who signed up and fought in the Roman Republic's wars, such as the one with Hannibal Barca and Carthage.

Marius had a choice of either breaking the hold of the Senate class on the land allotments and land requirements that were preventing enough Roman soldiers to join Rome's legions or Marius had a choice of accepting foreigners and offering them citizenship in a professional legion. Marius chose the latter over the former, but only because Titus Grachius and the entire Grachii family were defeated and and some even killed for attempting to reform Roman excesses.

The Marius Reforms worked. They worked to hold Rome together and occupy/defend the outer provinces such as Tuns, Gaul, Spain, and Britannia. But the rot at Rome was never excised. Once the Senate class became rich and decadent enough, they also cut off Senate funding for the retirement and disability funds of the entire Roman legion. Now Rome's legions were less loyal to the representatives of Rome than to their generals, who did offer them retirement pensions and disability benefits from the loot acquired from foreign lands.

Julius Caesar may have been able to reform things but he, like JFK, never quite got his chance. And thus the Age of Emperors were born.

The People's Republic of Haven, the enemy of the Star Kingdom of Manticore, provided a very nice example of "bread and circuses". It was very entertaining reading such an olden style re-created in a futuristic context. The old and the new, together once again. Sort of like the SF.