Last month, a brief look was taken at the fall of Greece, taken from Rene Sedillot's book, The History of the Past in 240 pages. In view of the famous quote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," let's take a look at the fall of Rome!
Rome, at one time historically the most powerful and influential civilization in its time, lasted nearly 800 years! Consider the following quotations taken from the same book. Sedillot talks of Rome's rise to power under its Republic, followed by a slow descent into a dictatorship, which appealed to the masses with "bread and circuses," and brutal coliseum entertainment!
"While the status of the lower classes rose, the ranks of the privileged were mercilessly thinned.
Crushed under heavy taxation, they lived in constant dread of seeing their fortunes confiscated by the socialist state.... Because it eliminated private enterprise from every sphere, because it intervened more and more in the life of the community, the machinery of state became more expensive to run, to meet the drain on the treasury. Taxation was increased to a point which became intolerable. The burden laid on private enterprise ended by killing it. The government became the owner of immense property...it became involved in day-to-day trade and industry, it instituted a national bank...it issued loans to the poor to buy land...it built up a controlled economy. To combat a rise in the cost of living, it laid down rules controlling maximum wages and prices. But the laws of supply and demand rebelled against this arbitrary administration.
The system inevitably produced inflation and also devaluation. The denarius had its silver reduced to contain more copper. Rome's budget showed a hopeless deficit...her gold and silver reserves melted away. Rome was impoverished and weakened. In the long run, the Roman world cracked...there was a shortage of soldiers and a shortage of children, as well. The empire was suffering from depopulation. Vice was everywhere. Once Rome was rich, but she was rich no longer. She had ruined her middle class. She had come to hate hard work...incapable of producing, she could only consume. As a result, Rome was no longer the center of the world."