Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Empires - Are You Ready?

The Roman Empire was responsible for it’s own destruction. The reforms that began with Diocletian helped turn the Empire into a huge bureaucracy that stifled people’s freedoms and rights and helped set various groups in society against each other. The large army that defended the Empire needed to be supplied and payed by the lower classes who were continually harassed by tax collectors, leaving many destitute. The middle class, who were traditionally merchants, were squeazed out of existance by the tax collectors leaving the Empire’s economy in tatters. The poor either turned against the state and became bandits and rebels or they turned to the upper class who gave them work on their estates, which lead to the beginnings of serfdom and the end of the last vestiages of freedom. Fall of The Empire

"As the private wealth of the Empire was gradually confiscated or taxed away, driven away or hidden, economic growth slowed to a virtual standstill. Moreover, once the wealthy were no longer able to pay the state's bills, the burden inexorably fell onto the lower classes, so that average people suffered as well from the deteriorating economic conditions. In Rostovtzeff's words, "The heavier the pressure of the state on the upper classes, the more intolerable became the condition of the lower" (Rostovtzeff 1957: 430)."

"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." How Excessive Government Killed Ancient Rome

Wake Up Call!