My Photo


  • Subscribe to emails of blog posts
    Enter your Email

    Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Econ Blogs


  • Get this widget from Widgetbox


« Ireland's Economic Crisis: A Brief Summary | Main | Why School Girls Shouldn't Read Hayek »

December 09, 2010


Emmanuel Florac

Very interesting, do you know what are the original sources of these informations?


Having recently read the same excellent book I thought I would add Will Durant's observation on the ultimate collapse of the empire. With a few substitutions to reflect our current times, it could be said the U.S. is treading down a similar path.

“The precarious dependence upon provincial grains; the collapse of the slave supply and the latifundia; the deterioration of transport and the perils of trade; the loss of provincial markets to provincial competition; the inability of Italian industry to export the equivalent of Italian imports, and the consequent drain of precious metals to the east; the destructive war between rich and poor; the rising cost of armies, doles, public works, and expanding bureaucracy, and a parasitic court; the depreciation of the currency; the discouragement of ability and the absorption of investment capital by confiscatory taxation; the emigration of capital and labor; the straight jacket of serfdom placed upon agriculture, and the caste forced upon industry: all these conspired to sap the material bases of Italian life, until at last the power of Rome was a political ghost surviving its economic death.”


"absorption of investment capital by confiscatory taxation"

seems the u.s. is taking quite the opposite path to this one.


And the croud gathered in CIRCUS Maximus cried for more blood. Like we are glued to our TV sets thirsting for more blood more gore. The rulers jail and silence the dissidents ( wikileaks)

Jack Parsons

Thank you for this! After reading Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, I had wondered about earlier financial insanity.

The Romans had the combination of sizable GDP, the rule of law (mostly) and civil stability to allow the unrealistic expectations inherent in a bubble. I'm not sure that anyone else did until the Dutch in the late 1500s.

Laurence Hunt

Bill, That is certainly an instructive history lesson. The discussion on Bloomberg yesterday was distinguishing solvency and liquidity. That is, ultimately, liquidity cannot solve a problem that is based in insolvency. However, more seems to be going on here, and the movement towards excess is a clear element. I have just blogged about the GAAP US debt of $71 trillion. Even in nominal terms we were up from $4 trillion 10 years ago to $9 trillion 2 years ago, to $14 trillion today, and, of course, more coming for as far as the eye can see. Nothing will stop our current excesses until we CAN'T do it anymore! Perhaps it is time for Mr. Bernanke to cut the symbolic wedge from the coinage, or to make the bill 10% smaller - or 99% smaller, to be historically accurate. Only a devalued dollar will fund the current and anticipated future expenditures. We have forgotten the "why" of austerity, that is for sure!

The comments to this entry are closed.