June 19

Ep. 0004: The Fall of Rome and its Aftermath

Ah, yes, a big, grand, sweeping overview of several centuries for our first historical narrative/analysis podcast!  (This one starts in the car and continues at the home office, so the audio quality gets way better about halfway through.)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The Western Roman Empire’s economic woes
  • How the state debased Roman money (the silver denarius) and the effects of that debasement
  • State meddling in the grain market
  • The creation of a huge dependent class
  • The coming of hyperinflation
  • How the state blamed everyone but itself
  • The Emperor Diocletian’s “reforms,” including wage & price controls and anti-hoarding laws
  • How even the state didn’t want the worthless money anymore & resorted to assessing taxes “in kind”
  • How the Emperor Constantine rehabilitated the Eastern Empire’s economy (though not that of the West) with sound money
  • The role of taxes in destroying the Western Empire’s economy
  • How Rome’s economic troubles weakened its military, making it vulnerable to barbarian incursions
  • The downsides of specialization if & when the S starts to hit the F
  • The material costs of Rome’s fall in Europe, including: a sudden & severe decline in standard of living; the disappearance of comfort; shrinkage in the average size of livestock animals; a major decline in literacy
  • The possibility of parallels to the decline of the United States
  • The Prof’s thoughts on what (if anything) can be done

(pic of Colosseum at night courtesy Vichaya Kiatying-Ansule/freedigitalphotos.net)

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