By Caesar's time (b.100BC) it was well-understood that a growing empire required a growing economy, and thus, a growing money supply. Much of this money entered the empire in the form of booty through its conquests all around the Mediterranean. By mid-century, Caesar added Gaul (Western Europe) to the conquests, and consequently, more money to the Republic's treasury and economy.
The Populares and the Optimates
Does any of this sound familiar with respect to the situation we find our collective selves (the Populares) in today? Paper debt instruments are completely out of control and real money (gold and silver) have been relegated to the status of "barbaric relic". We are in the middle of a vast transfer of wealth from the Populares to the Optimates/oligarchs of today. Has there been any serious legislative talk of debt reduction/cancellation? No. Instead we have experienced the legislative groundwork for "bail-in" of the people's assets to service the debt. The Optimates of today want everything.
Caesar's Roman Empire and the US Empire
Much of the Roman Empire was formed through military conquest of lands and peoples that had become tribal/feudal states and groups fighting each other for slaves, booty, and resources. When Caesar marched on Gaul, his 60,000 troops faced a tribal warrior enemy of great number - about 270,000 (in total). But his many victories secured Western Europe and illustrated not only the superiority of the Roman military but also the inability of the many Gallic tribal factions to unite and put aside long-standing hostilities. Prior to Caesar, life in Gaul for the common people was a very uncertain thing. Local tribal attack resulting in rape, death, pillage, slavery, and starvation was a constant threat and common occurrence.
Caesar brought the Gallic tribal wars and raids to an end in favor of a stability that normalized trade relations with the Empire and promised a much greater measure of security for the people. He granted Roman citizenship to many of his allies and bestowed clemency on many of his enemies. The improved economy raised the living standards of the Gallic people. Continued presence of his legions allowed this stability to take hold, and for this, he has been referred to as the founder of Western Europe (even Western Civilization). His reward upon returning to Rome was to be forced to engage in civil war against Senate Optimate forces (leading Optimate Senators were Cato, Cicero, and Brutus). So in January 49BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon River - on the way to Rome - with his troops and the words: "Let the dice fly high".
The US Empire has been greatly facilitated by encapsulation of the rest of the world (RotW) in the US Dollar Reserve system of trade settlement. What began as trade settlement among nations in gold (and other real products) progressed to settlement in Dollars with convertibility to gold (pre-1971), to, finally, Dollars backed by nothing. This exorbitant privilege has allowed the US to ignore deficit spending, and, in effect, coerce the RotW to help pay for the greatest military and intelligence system build-up that the world has ever known. This military/corporate industrial complex is what Eisenhower warned us of so many years ago, and since then, has been used to effect imperial conquest over the RoTW by enlisting banking/financial institutions, multinational corporations, politicians, academic institutions, organized crime, and subversive intelligence services engaging in false-flag attacks, fraud, market manipulation, money laundering, drugs, blackmail, and outright murder. [How this may end is discussed here.]
The US Empire services today's Optimates - there is no overt or covert agenda of benefit to the Populares (the people of the world). Just as in Caesar's Rome, the Optimates regard the Populares as the enemy. And today, we can see that US Empire is intent on the destruction of even its own masses - regardless of all of the media/political rhetoric.
In a recent interview, Michael Parenti said of US Empire,
"You see, the US Empire sees only two kinds of countries in the world: satellites or enemies (or 'potential' enemies). The satellites are the countries that vote the way the US wants in the UN, that had their country opened to investments and resource extraction ... Of course they can take independent courses in limited ways on particular issues. But the overall pattern is to make this world safe for the Fortune 500, for the plutocracy in the US, and the plutocrats in other countries too. They are very internationally minded, in the sense of sharing in the wealth and investment, and even as they compete with each other."As Caesar rose to power through his military conquests, corruption at home in Rome was increasing drastically. The use of large bribes in the elections, of course, favored the Optimates through their massive wealth. During the elections of 54BC, for example, money market interest rates doubled from 4% to 8% due to the massive amount of money-lending for bribes. Caesar himself went into deep debt over his own elections (and war debt) and those of his political allies since bribes had become the most important means of gaining election.
Comment: The interested reader may want to read Martin Armstrong's analysis of Caesar's political actions and debt legislation.
Corruption in the US legislative system is worse than ever with bribes taking the form of lobbyist "contributions" through all manner of PACs (Political Action Committees). It is no longer possible for the people of the US to gain honest representation of their interests. Representation of the Populares has been neutered.
Caesar's Actions for the Populares
Even before the civil war was over, there was rioting in Rome fueled by a faltering economy and excessive debt. Much gold and silver was leaving Rome in exchange for luxury imports for the wealthy. By this time the most common Populares position was debt cancellation. Early on, Caesar awarded the people a year's worth of rent reduction in the form of 500 Denarii in Rome and 125 Denarii in the rest of Italy. But he hesitated on the issue of debt cancellation, citing the ethics of canceling his own substantial war debt (in 49BC). In reality, he may have realized that a complete debt cancellation would have had very serious economic consequences, and he may have needed more time to work out a solution.
The Roman Historian Suetonius (born 69AD) had much to say about Caesar - here are some translations from the Latin:
"Caesar changed the old method of registering voters: he made the City landlords help him to complete the list, street by street, and reduced from 320,000 to 150,00 the number of householders who might draw free grain. To do away with the nuisance of having to summon everyone for enrolment periodically, he made the praetors keep their register up to date by replacing the names of the dead men with those of others not yet listed."Caesar was no tyrant as the "Optimate" version of history would like us to believe. His actions were clearly for the benefit of the Populares and to rid the Republic of flagrant corruption.
"Caesar dissolved all workers' guilds except the ancient ones."
[Caesar] "increased the penalties for crime; and since wealthy men had less compunction about committing major offences, because the worst that could happen to them was a sentence of exile, he punished murderers of fellow-citizens (as Cicero records) by the seizure of either their entire property, or half of it."
"... he arranged with the commons that, apart from the consuls, half the magistrates should be popularly elected and half nominated by himself. Allowing even the sons of proscribed men to stand, he circulated brief directions to voters."
"He limited jury service to knights and senators, disqualifying the Treasury tribunes."
"In his administration of justice he was both conscientious and severe, and went so far as to degrade senators found guilty of extortion."
"Once, when a man of praetorian rank married a woman on the day after her divorce from another man, he annulled the union, although adultery between them was not suspected."
"He imposed a tariff on foreign manufactures; he forbade the use, except on stated occasions, of litters, and the wearing of either scarlet robes or pearls by those below a certain rank and age. To implement his laws against luxury he placed inspectors in different parts of the market to seize delicacies offered for sale in violation of his orders; sometimes he even sent lictors and guards into dining-rooms to remove illegal dishes, already served, which his watchmen had failed to intercept."
"Another task he set himself was the reduction of the Civil Code to manageable proportions, by selecting from the unwieldy mass of statutes only the most essential, and publishing them in a few volumes." . [He also planned] "to provide public libraries, by commissioning Marcus Varro to collect and classify Greek and Latin books on a comprehensive scale."
"Caesar continually undertook great new works for the embellishment of the City, or for the Empire's protection and enlargement. His first projects were a temple of Mars, the biggest in the world... and an enormous theatre sloping down the Tarpeian Rock. ... His engineering schemes included the draining of the Pomptine Marshes and of Lake Fukinus, also a highway running from the Adriatic across the Apennines to the Tiber, and a canal to be cut through the Isthmus of Corinth."
With regard to debt cancellation, Caesar did something very unique that likely demonstrated deep economic understanding. Rather than risk serious economic chaos with all-out debt cancellation, he compromised. From Suetonius,
"He disappointed popular agitators by cancelling no debts, but in the end decreed that every debtor should have his property assessed according to pre-war valuation and, after deducting the interest already paid directly, ... should satisfy his creditors with whatever sum that might represent."So, basically, the wealthy moneylender class took an across-the-board haircut of about 25%, and Caesar supplied the rationale for this. This action alone might have been enough to seal Caesar's fate on the Senate floor that fateful day in March 44BC.
Caesar's example of dealing with the debt problem could have been put to very good use prior to the 2008 financial "crisis". Had mortgage debt been delivered a 25% haircut, the "crisis" itself might have been diverted. Instead we got Hank Paulson threatening Congress with martial law to get $700 billion for the banks.
The End of Empire
In about 1525AD Copernicus (a student of astronomy and economics) wrote the following in his On the Minting of Money:
"Although there are countless maladies that are forever causing the decline of kingdoms, princedoms, and republics, the following four (in my judgment) are the most serious: civil discord, a high death rate, sterility of the soil, and the debasement of coinage.Wikipedia,
The first three are so obvious that everybody recognizes the damage they cause; but the fourth one, which has to do with money, is noticed by only a few very thoughtful people, since it does not operate all at once and at a single blow, but gradually overthrows governments, and in a hidden, insidious way."
"Due to runaway inflation caused by the Roman government issuing base-metal coinage but refusing to accept anything other than silver or gold for tax payments, the value of the gold aureus in relation to denarii grew drastically. Inflation was also affected by the systematic debasement of the silver denarius which by the mid-3rd century had practically no silver left in it. ... In 301, one gold aureus was worth 833⅓ denarii; by 324, the same aureus was worth 4,350 denarii."By this time (301AD), Diocletian tried price controls which failed due to the inability to enforce maximum prices.
In our own time we see the debasement of the Dollar Reserve currency and many other central bank currencies as they all compete for lower relative value (for trade purposes) and attempt to keep associated banks healthy. Many countries are forging their own trade agreements in attempts to abandon the Dollar Reserve. When a new World Reserve medium (money) is announced, the US Empire will begin a rapid descent - not nearly as gradual or graceful as that of Rome.
A Caesar in Our Own Time?
- Issue new money according to the US Constitution. This was a slap in the face of the oligarch owners of the Federal Reserve Bank.
- Bust the CIA into a "thousand pieces". Intelligence agencies are ideal hiding places for oligarchic operations and interests due to the powerful veil of "national security".
- Eliminate organized crime/corruption. Another veil hiding oligarchic operations and influence.
- End a growing Cold War agenda. Today this has morphed into the War on Terror and serves oligarchic interests directly.