The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic – Citizenship, Expansion, Income Inequality and Empire

This post is not supposed to offer a formal and authoritative or complete account, description or thesis of the rise and fall of the Roman Republic. Instead, it rather quickly and incompletely summarises what small and insignificant information I gathered in a relatively informal manner for the simple purpose of explaining it to myself. The degree of complexity is completely arbitrary and set to satisfy my heterogenous and idiosyncratic intellectual criteria. This post does not claim to be a rigorous work of history, geography, economics, politics or any other mix thereof of a standard to be published. However, it does make use of all of them, if only as sources and as a buffer between what strikes me as relevant and that which does not.

The success of the Roman Republic, as I understand it, was the result of a number of features that made that polity more adaptable than many of its neighbours and opponents, be it politically, legally or militarily. Checks and balances created competition for leadership that was not necessarily adversarial. Conquest and a degree of economic flexibility created the necessary income inequality to eliminate collective action problems, the abuses from which were at least partially mitigated by increasing legal equality of opportunity that extended the political franchise. Supported by what strikes me as a fortuitous order of conquest, which allowed it to build momentum at a manageable pace, these facts seem to have been the driving impetus for Rome’s success. However, the burden of conquest eventually became too much to bear and led to the Marian reforms, which although successful at guaranteeing military success undermined the Republic’s checks and balances, exacerbated the agency of the few against the collective action problems of the many, and facilitated its eventual capture and reform into the Roman Empire.

The post is divided into four sections. The first focuses on the Republic’s military adaptability. The second considers some secondary features of the Roman state, beyond military adaptability, that also helped its expansion, what I term loyal competition, adaptability of legal franchise and the location, timing and sequencing of conquest. The third part considers the self-reinforcing effect of military conquest as a fuel of economic inequality, the evidence of this fact, both statistical and some telling testimonies. It argues that this economic inequality funded the military agency introduced by the Marian reforms to facilitate the capture of government by the few in a manner that institutionally crystallized political autocracy as the defining feature of the Roman Empire.

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German Elections – Voter Intention Polls and FDP Blunders

This post reviews the recent voter intention polls in Germany,  the trends over the last 4 years,  the loss of popularity of the FDP and the pyrrhic success of the Greens.

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Posted in Current Events, European National Politics, Sovereign debt Crisis, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Will Europe’s Crisis End? And When?

This post is based on a report I wrote some time ago about the future of the Euro-Zone crisis. It is divided in four parts: The first offers a recap of the crisis until May 2013. No details as to recent localised crisis are given. Information on this issue is periodically updated in the “Chronology of Euro-Zone Crisis” section of this website. The second part, discusses the options available for the future and makes a cautious and qualified argument in favour of fiscal federalism. The third part describes and uses a simple and tractable scenario analysis approach (mentioned in earlier posts) to map some of the potential future paths ahead. It argues that the single most likely path ahead is “stealth mutualisation”, a number of policies that would not require the paradigm shift constitutional reforms of a new and formal stage of fiscal integration while providing relief to bailout peripheral countries. Finally, the last part concludes with an overview of the future implications for financial markets both directionally and positionally.

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Posted in European Integration, Finance, Risk Scenario Analysis, Sovereign debt Crisis, Uncategorized, Visions of the Political Future of Europe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming up: A story about a little bit of History…

So… In case you are a regular reader of this blog and are disappointed at the scarcity of posts since May, or even since before that, I must apologise for the fact and excuse the inexistent posting by the fact that my job’s been taking all my time. But to leave it at that is rather incomplete, so let me elaborate a little.

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