Reply To: Roman Republic vs. Roman Empire

Jason Jewell

One-year terms of consulship in the Roman Republic are not necessarily reasons to expect decivilization through high time preference in the way Hoppe describes, although it’s reasonable that you might come to that conclusion. For one thing, there’s very little capital in ancient societies to start with, so there’s very little decapitalization that could occur in any event.

But to answer your question more directly, the consuls have a stake in preserving propertied interests because they are beholden to the aristocratic Senate to a greater extent than they are to the plebeians until very late in the period of the Republic. There’s no question of wealth redistribution until the late second century B.C. Of course, as you mention, the doctrine of pietas is important as well. Hoppe’s theory of democracy is one that must follow a ceteris paribus construction, so we have to allow for other influences like pietas to influence events.

Great questions!