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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Plunder Economy

Every now:


Durable Goods Production in the U.S.A.


And then:

The economy of the Empire was basically a Raubwirtschaft or plunder economy based on looting existing resources rather than producing anything new. The Empire relied on booty from conquered territories (this source of revenue ending, of course, with the end of Roman territorial expansion) or on a pattern of tax collection that drove small-scale farmers into destitution (and onto a dole that required even more exactions upon those who could not escape taxation), or into dependency upon a landed élite exempt from taxation. With the cessation of tribute from conquered territories, the full cost of their military machine had to be borne by the citizenry.

We are startled into clarity.

(Props to Jon Taplin for connecting these observations.)

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