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ERIC Number: EJ1024291
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
The Economics of Government and the Fall of Rome
Ferrarini, Tawni Hunt
Social Education, v77 n2 p60-63 Mar-Apr 2013
Most world history books feature the successes of the Roman Empire during the first and second centuries. During the third and fourth centuries, they turn to the events leading up to the empire's collapse. Explanations of the Roman Empire's decline and fall often cite external military threats, governmental failure and instability, people fleeing the empire due to diseases and plagues, rapid inflation, and overall moral decay. Insufficient attention is given to the underlying economic problems that were the long-term causes of the empire's collapse. At the height of the ancient world's wealth, the Roman economy was driven largely by notable growth in agriculture. However, over time, an increasing number of goods and services produced by peasants, artisans, merchants, and others had moved onto the list of taxable items. The consequential increase in the costs of producing and transacting pushed prices upward. Roman suppliers responded by slowing or stopping the production of items that were priced artificially low. Higher taxes, combined with unstable money, discouraged commercial transactions. Roman traders and their foreign partners found it difficult to plan ahead across the empire, and uncertainty swirled around governments, thus making long-term investments in Rome increasingly risky. The time of the Roman Empire is an important period in world history that illustrates ways in which governments can and do support economic growth, but also ways in which they fail.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A