- This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 7 months ago by lrcammarosano.
July 8, 2012 at 9:21 am #16423david_konietzkoMember
Was the Roman Empire better or worse than the Roman Republic from a libertarian point of view? Does Hoppe’s theory of monarchy and democracy apply to Roman history? How much aggression did the Roman government commit against ordinary people during the various stages of its history?July 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm #16424Jason JewellParticipant
“Was the Roman Empire better or worse than the Roman Republic from a libertarian point of view?”
This is a difficult question to answer, since each period spans 500 years. There were ups and downs in each. Generally speaking, the early republic and early empire are less bad than the later republic and later empire in terms of taxation, wars, etc. On the other hand, common people gradually gained more liberties between the founding of the republic and the early third century B.C. as a result of the Struggle of the Orders. So it’s a mixed bag.
“Does Hoppe’s theory of monarchy and democracy apply to Roman history?”
The difference between the republic and empire is one of aristocracy (Senate) vs. monarchy, so the parallel is not exact. The structures of both republic and empire provided incentives to implement policies sensible over the long run.
“How much aggression did the Roman government commit against ordinary people during the various stages of its history?”
This is a very broad question. Are you trying to compare the Roman government to some other State?July 12, 2012 at 12:13 am #16425david_konietzkoMember
“The difference between the republic and empire is one of aristocracy (Senate) vs. monarchy, so the parallel is not exact.”
Given that consuls in the Roman Republic were elected for one-year terms and could not be immediately reelected (except during the decline of the Republic), Hoppe’s argument ought to apply to them, i.e., one might expect them to have had an incentive to act with high time-preference rates. Which incentives (besides the ideology of pietas) did the Romans use to make their consuls more farsighted?
“Are you trying to compare the Roman government to some other State?”
This would also be interesting (e.g., a comparison between Rome and other ancient civilizations such as Egypt or Greece), but I was mainly trying to compare various periods within Roman history. Can you recommend an essay or book on the history of Roman governance and law and the effects of institutional changes on policy?July 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm #16426Jason JewellParticipant
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!August 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm #16427lrcammarosanoMember
Seems to me that while the Roman republic did not give much of a say to the average roman, power was devolved among the Senate and counsuls
Once Ceasar effectively demolished the republic having gained popular support for his own tyranny (via his military imperial conquests), the Roman culture became a far more statist, collectivist society, having giving up on the concept of what was good for the people, instead choosing to focus on what was best for Rome
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