Barbarians at the door

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Time After Time
(Cyndi Lauper)

Barbarians at the door:

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Rome only lasted 1000 years. Not good enough.

Many historians have a different view:

**Corruption, the division of the empire, and invasion by Germanic tribes** were the three main causes of the fall of Rome. Some scholars believe that there were other contributing factors as well.
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I think that Gibbon said that the cause was a lack (or loss) of civic virtue.

The Romans did debase their currency quite a bit:

The world has speeded up a bit since then :slight_smile:

How long will it take you to get to France?

How long will it take for hell to freeze over?


Probably a shorter time than for a BRICS currency to seriously threaten the dollar.

While it is possible for the dollar to eventually be supplanted as the global currency, it won’t be done by BRICS. The reason is that India understands that China’s sole motivation is to replace the US as the global economic superpower. I think India has done the calculation that it is far better off in a US-dominated world than a China led one.

India now sees China both as its primary competitor and a nation in decline from which it can take global economic marketshare. There is no benefit to India to prop up China and there are growing reasons to keep a distance. This is evident from India’s recent rejection of BYD’s offer of $1B USD investment in the India auto industry for “security concerns”. Meanwhile, India continues to court Tesla. India would rather have US investment than Chinese.

India’s best option I think is to play one side against the other but ultimately lean to the West.


Great summary of the current situation btresist.

I’m not sure that BRICS aim is to replace the dollar (some members would like to). They initially want an alternative payments system that they cannot be excluded from. Very sensible IMHO.

Brazil was making noises about China wanting to dominate recently and India wants equal status with China. It’s still a work in progress. If they do come up with a currency it will be a very poor substitute.

But don’t write BRICS off. I used to be amused by it when it was just BRIC some twenty years ago. I’ve been surprised at how far it has come.

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At least one (Spanish?) economist attributes the fall of Rome to Bread & Circus socialism. Simply put, the farmers could not make a living so food disappeared.

The Captain

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And then as soon as supplies get tight the supply expands because now it is feasible to do so. Socialism has no magic. It is not that powerful. Rome fell because The People no longer had the mojo. It’s more that civic virtues thing somebody mentioned above, and corruption that seems to be a law of nature than perpetual office picnics.

That’s probably not the case. The Roman Empire was an empire, run by an emperor to the benefit of the emperor and the cronies the emperor needed to maintain power. Warning! Vast oversimplification follows:

There were two basic classes of Roman citizens, the patricians who owned the means of productions (or job creators as we would call them today) and the plebians. Because most of the work was done by slaves, the plebians didn’t really have professions or a way to earn money. The bread and circuses were a tool to keep the plebians reasonably happy so they wouldn’t revolt too often, which they did all the time anyway.

The Roman empire had about five competent emperors, all near the beginning of the empire. After that, Rome was ruled by a long series of corrupt buffoons and stooges, and only rarely someone sort of competent. In the forth century AD. Constantine split the Roman Empire into two administrative districts, east and west, moved the administrative capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople. At this point, there were technically two emperors but the one in Constantinople had veto power.

By about the forth and five centuries, the Huns began invading northern and central Europe, displacing the Germanic tribes into Roman lands. This turned out to be an unsolvable problem for western Roman empire. The barbarians just kept coming and after sacking Rome several times, they finally displaced the emperor in 476, which is the date most people think of as the fall of the Roman empire.

But note: The Roman capital in Constantinople was still standing, there was still a Roman emperor who ran the place, the people who lived there referred to themselves as Romans, and they called it the Roman empire. They even eventually reconquered Rome and occupied it for two centuries.

So when did Rome fall? Very hard to say. Even harder to come up with a single cause. Pretty sure it was not bread and circuses.


As good a conjecture as any other. Funny thing, Constantine adopted Christianity which used Rome as it base to rule most of Europe until the Protestants protested. Maybe Rome didn’t fall, it just crumbled. :wink:

The Captain

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There will be supply side econ in central Europe awaiting you. Disaster after disaster of blaming the poor.