COLLAPSE OF ANTIQUITY
This book traces the role of debt in Antiquity and suggests that it was the longlasting curse of interest-bearing loans being handed out that could not be repaid. It eroded the fabric of society.
Rome's collapse was the forerunner of the debt crises, economic polarization and austerity caused by subsequent Western oligarchies. The West's pro-creditor laws and ideology inherited from Rome make repeated debt crises transferring control of property and government to financial oligarchies inevitable. Classical antiquity's great transition to the modern world lay in replacing kingship not with democracies but with oligarchies having a pro-creditor legal philosophy. That philosophy permits creditors to draw wealth, and thereby political power, into their own hands, without regard for restoring economic balance and long-term viability as occurred in the Ancient Near East through Clean Slates. Rome's legacy to subsequent Western civilization is thus the structure of creditor oligarchies, not democracy in the sense of social structures and policies that promote widespread prosperity.
The Collapse of Antiquity is vast in its sweep, covering:
- the transmission of interest-bearing debt from the Ancient Near East to the Mediterranean world, but without the "safety valve" of periodic royal Clean Slate debt cancellations to restore economic balance and prevent the emergence of creditor oligarchies;
- the rise of creditor and landholding oligarchies in classical Greece and Rome;
- classical antiquity's debt crises and revolts, and the suppression, assassination and ultimately failure of reformers;
- the role played by greed, money-lust (wealth-addiction) and hubris, as analysed by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and other ancient writers;
- Rome's "End Time" collapse into serfdom and pro-creditor oligarchic legacy that continues to shape the West;
- the transformation of Christianity as it became Rome's state religion, supporting the oligarchy, dropping the revolutionary early Christian calls for debt cancellation and changing the meaning of the Lord's Prayer and "sin," from a focus on the economic sphere to the personal sphere of individual egotism;
- how pro-creditor ideology distorts recent economic interpretations of antiquity, showing increasing sympathy with Rome's oligarchic policies.