- Over its last one hundred years, the State steadily devalued the currency by 98%
- The high cost of government—particularly, growing entitlements and perpetual warfare, coupled with a diminished number of taxpayers, led the government to massive debt, to the point that it could not be repaid.
- Those citizens that were productive began to exit the country, finding new homes in countries that were not quite so sophisticated but offered better prospects for the future.
- The decline in the value of the currency resulted in ever-increasing prices of goods, so much so that the purchase of them became a hardship to the people. By governmental edict, wage and price controls were established, forcing rises in wages whilst capping the amount that vendors could charge for goods.
- The result was that vendors offered fewer and fewer goods for sale, as the profit had been eliminated.
If the reader is a citizen of the EU or US, the above history may seem quite familiar, with the one exception that strict wage and price controls have not (yet) been implemented. Still, the history is accurate; it is the history of Rome.
The Roman denarius pictured above features the profile of the emperor Diocletian, circa 301 AD, at the time when he issued the edict mentioned above. Like the US dollar that followed 1700 years later, the denarius was the most recognised and most respected currency of its day, as it was almost 100% silver. However, it was steadily devalued by successive emperors during the Era of Inflation from 193 to 293 AD. This was done by diminishing the amount of silver in the coin until it was made entirely of base metal, with a thin silver wash. Just as the US Federal Reserve devalued the US dollar 98% between 1913 and 2023, Rome devalued the denarius over a similar period of time.
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