Tax To Block Private Power Absolutely. The Example of Republican Rome.


Roman Democracy Failed From Private Power Escaping 100% Taxation

Too much power in a family is iniquitous, dangerous for the society at large. Thus, tax power. The fundamental reason for taxation is not, contrarily to common opinion, to raise money for the government.

The fundamental reason for taxation is to prevent a few families from grabbing all the power of society for themselves, making an oligarchy... 

Money and power exponentiate: they grow proportionally to themselves. So if power is not limited in a timely manner, one individual, the monarch, will grab all power.

Fully sovereign states can decide where power shall be directed, by passing appropriate laws: the Inca empire worked very well without tax or currency. Just like the Roman empire and the feudal system, the USSR, or the UK or USA in WW2, workers or companies, in a fully sovereign state, can be mobilized to do necessary work, by command and control. A fully sovereign state has so much power, it does not need to purchase it.

However, if families acquire enormous wealth, they can acquire so much power that they can direct the public discourse to their liking, and, ultimately, purchase armies. This is exactly what happened in the Roman republic, in violation of old Republican laws which limited power, and wealth absolutely. This happened greatly because global Roman plutocrats were able to escape Roman taxation and jurisdiction by going and thriving overseas [1]. 

Coming back quickly the overseas Roman plutocrats used propaganda to buy for themselves a large part of Italy, and manned those monopolistic agribusinesses with armies of slaves. Gracchi laws passed too late to stop the phenomenon [2]. We are in exactly the same situation. Tax power now!

The imperial Roman Republic could have been saved, and transmogrified. First it needed a different attitude to ideas, by realizing and emotionally integrating, that one should be ruled by a society where nothing can, and should, beat a superior idea into submission. Instead emperor Vespasian paid an inventor to not reveal a machine which could have saved enormous amount of work. So, by 80 CE, the official Roman policy was anti-tech investment.

Second the nefarious side of the entanglement with slavery should have been revealed. Slavery perverted society in more ways than one, including not just from its inequity, but by favoring an ever more oligarchic society leveraging inequity, and thus discouraging technological progress, an absolute good (everything else being equal). When the Latin speaking Queen Bathilde from the Roman successor state, the Imperium Francorum, outlawed slavery in 657 CE, the forces of progress were unleashed: not just tech, but mandatory secular education.

(Outlawing slavery was not just a Frankish idea, Chinese emperors tried it several times; but differently from what happened in Francia, the reform did not hold.)

The monopolists who now dominate the world propaganda and most of its information economy, have acquired those positions in the worst possible way: through complicity with the darkest part of the state of the dominant nation-state, the US.

The fabulously powerful plutocrats and their worldwide conspiracy, which include the dictatorship in China, have to be stopped now. No more excuses. The “Democrats” control the Congress and the Senate. The least they can do is to try to break the power of the most powerful families, their countless plots, foundations, and accomplices in academia. Yeah, just try, that’s the decent thing to do.

One should not want to risk the Republic, as Rome did by trying to control too late the wealthiest, the self-described “best” (as the Gracchi did).

Notice that Trump’s Justice Department launched pursuits against Google and Facebook…. And couldn’t do more, because the “Democrats” then focused on Trump instead of focusing on the monopolists. That was a bad mistake, but no doubt, as the monopolists have greatly helped the “Democrats” they saw it as the right move at the time. Well, this is now, no more excuses…

If the power of the wealthiest is not curbed immediately, civilization is in peril. Tax severely very great wealth, enough to prevent exponentiation of society into degeneracy and Armageddon for everybody. As happened so many times in the past.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] Roman rentiers became wealthy during the Second Punic War: to escape Hannibal’s forces, peasants took refuge in the cities behind fortifications (Rome’s walls were so formidable, Hannibal didn’t even try to besiege it)… But they had to rent lodgings. An aggravating factor is that many, if not most of the most noble families died on the battlefield, and with them, their Republican, democratic mentality. If anything, it was demonstrated that high republican spirits kill, and base mentality enriches. 

Rome also found itself with an empire after defeating Hannibal and his Macedonian ally. The Republic had a light touch, and preserved local elites and local laws (in most cases). Roman generals expanding the Roman civilization’s security sphere were able to enrich themselves considerably by acquiring, say, mines in Iberia, as Marius did (that enabled him to run for Consul).

Conquests made Rome, and especially its elite, very wealthy. Roman public land had been acquired by wealthy members of the Senate starting in 180 BCE. Senators used the public land to create large farms worked by slaves, to produce cash crops, such as olive oil and wine. These giant farms became known as latifundia and the Senators or wealthy individuals (Equites) who owned these were not concerned with feeding the city’s populace, but instead were obsessed to become ever more wealthy. They could leverage this further by escaping the Roman absolute wealth limit from making money in other jurisdictions, overseas.

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[2] The plutocrats of Rome who wanted to override the spirit of the laws of the 350 years old Republic called themselves, ironically enough, the “Optimates”. Those self-declared optimal types, were the exact opposite of what their description entailed. They used massive propaganda to depict themselves as they were not. In truth, they were the most vile and degenerate. They were an offense to the spirit of countless noble Romans of centuries passed, including the six (elected) Roman kings (the one who was not, Tarquinius Superbus, the assassin of the great king Servius Tullius, caused a civil war, and was the last king), and (elected) dictators Camillus, Cincinnatus, tremendously courageous generals such as Regulus, etc. The propaganda worked…

***

That the Roman Republic lasted as long as it did, five centuries, is greatly attributable to limit put on the wealth and power of individual families:

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4 Responses to “Tax To Block Private Power Absolutely. The Example of Republican Rome.”

  1. Gregory Lathrop Says:

    They were built on conquering…. Not utopian ideals. They just understood that certain concessions had to be made to the public to keep them peaceful while military pursued expansion….. And destruction or confiscation of sacred knowledge other nations were in possession of

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks for the comment Gregory. This seems to me very close to an argument I have often seen. It reflects well what happened during the chaotic times towards the end of the Republic. “They” you allude to were the leaders of Rome, during those plutocratic times. However, before Rome degenerated as you described, there were nearly six centuries during which Rome expanded very cautiously, and nearly always in a defensive way: Rome would fight a city after being attacked. The only blatant exceptions I remember of were the rape of the Sabine and double dealing against the Gauls (an episode which brought the capture of Rome by said Gauls)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gregory Lathrop Says:

    Patrice Ayme: the Romans had to drive Hannibal out and also build defenses to rebuke nations with powerful armies who were also conquerors. Such as the huns. Carthage, Persians, and some others. Also, it seems that the group representing rome who set out to colonize and establish trade routes became their own nation in the phoenicians. So yes, I could see how culture and ideas would grow in such times. Almost exactly the same circumstances as the Greeks before them…. Who also turned to military over higher ideals. It seems that utopia is forbidden in this form of life we share. What a shame

    Like

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      My point most relevant here is that, Except for rocky beginnings with Romulus, both Rome when she elected kings (seven of them, including Romulus) and under the Republic, until 150 BCE fought only defensive wars (but with great aggressivity once attacked).

      And it is because of its superior democracy that Rome won these continual wars.

      Around 150 BCE the plutocratic influence became enormous… Although the most significant war, against the Cimbri-Teutoni-Ambrones coalition and conspiracy, was completely defensive. The adventures with the Huns was 530 years later or so….

      Like

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