QUESTION: It seems that as we get closer to a change-over of economic systems that as a society we are more willing to give up our rights to the State. Is that part of a pattern during these types of events? Was it seen as Britain, Rome, and other countries lost power after their peaks?
ANSWER: Unfortunately, the trend first materializes when people need the government to protect them usually from an external force. The British used this tactic against both the French and the American colonists. That prompted Ben Franklin to comment on this trend.
After the 3rd Century Monetary Crisis bottomed in the Roman Empire in 268 AD, there was a surge to build a wall around Rome by Emperor Aurelian following the same pattern. Aurelian saw the corruption that led to the debasement of the currency because those minting the coins were robbing the treasury. Aurelian moved to DRAIN THE SWAMP in Rome. When Aurelian returned to Rome in 271 AD after fighting off barbarians, he had to pacify a terrified city. He immediately halted the rioting and restored order to the capital. The controller of the mint in Rome began a rebellion over the monetary reforms laid out by Aurelian. He ordered that all the debased currency be purchased back and replaced with a new currency of higher content in silver. The rebellion was led by Felicissimus.
It appears that those who had been running the mint were embezzling the intended silver and issuing the debased coinage at least in part on their own authority. Obviously, any reform to the monetary system that called for an increase in silver content would have been unprofitable for those running the mint for personal gain.
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