Several times on this and other sites, I have said that; “once the upper middle-class speculator/entrepreneur gains control of political governance, it marks the beginning of social and State collapse.”
I do not say this lightly, or without consideration. I referred to history for my source of confirmation … from the results of the actions following the rise of the Oligarchs in ancient Athens, to the rise of the power of the Equestrian Order (upper middle-class) merchants and bankers of ancient Rome, to the so called “Captains of Industry” in the industrial revolution of England to these times where capitalist barons and stock-market “Masters of the Universe” call the shots and corrupt the governance of three Anglo-democracies of the west … the UK, the USA and Australia.
Now … I’ll open another line of discussion here about the relevance of ancient history as an example of the political and social direction of these post-modern times.
We have to ask ourselves, in the light of so many films, theatre and stories about those ancient characters, why are we so attracted to them … because over many centuries those stories and tales have drawn audiences again and again to the box-office to pay their money to see the show. The reason, I believe, is because the stories repeat that human interest gossipy intrigue that we are all familiar with in pub/club and workplace so common to all of us, ie; we are a part of that history repeating itself into our every-day lives. That being so, we can read of those times with all the intuition that an experienced adult can apply to all that accrued knowledge of life that we have lived and find ourselves in comfortable company with those situations and characters from ancient history.
History does not only inform us, it reassures us that there is a continuity of behavioural thread that joins our action in these times in a humanist, civil society even in the most extreme circumstances of war or plenty with those fellow travelers from so long ago. So we can truthfully say that while the repetition of history is not as simple as re-reading the turning pages of history, it is more closely following the “organic structures” of human behaviour of when people from any time or demographic are confronted with a similar set of circumstances; disaster, plague, even forlorn love or betrayal … the resulting behaviours will be very similar … hence we can confidently proclaim … “What goes around, comes around.”
Keeping this in mind, I have also suggested a time-line to be aware of when things start going downhill, based on my reading of the impending collapse of the Roman Republic in the time of Julius Caesar … when it could be seen that two rival groups of “citizen militia” formed to cause havoc in the metropolis, led on the right-wing by one Titus Annius Milo Papianus … and on what could be called the left-wing by Publius Clodius Pulcher. These two groups would meet on the streets of that capital and exchange blows, just as today, on the streets of our capital cities, we have the “Alt-right” and the “Antifa” exchanging blows … each group enjoying a degree of support among their political brethren. Except now, with the politicising of the policing forces by the far-right minister for immigration and border control, Peter Dutton, there appears to be more strategic support moving to the far-right militias … we all saw that high-five “yo-bro” hand-clasp between the neo-Nazi militia-man and the police officer at one fracas.
What fueled the rise of the monetary middle-class in ancient Rome was an increased flow of wealth that came into the capital with the plunder of loot from the wars on the frontier … the “Romanisation” of these new frontiers created roads and cities that were soon filled with tax-collectors and merchants keen to deliver ever increasing luxury commodities to the metropolis. The increase of the want for these novel goods and services, soon produced a strata of society that borrowed heavily to finance a lifestyle that they had become accustomed to.
“As Tacitus remarked, usury and debt were inveterate evils in Rome and the Roman world, and they were never totally eradicated. Nevertheless, whenever the public authorities were ﬁrmly resolved to reduce them severely, they managed to do so, as the examples of Cato in Sardinia and Lucullus in Asia certainly show.
A.Gara stresses the fact that in Egypt Roman domination produced a fall in the interest rate and a more eﬀective weapon against usury. But the aﬀair of the loan to Salamis in Cyprus shows how even a relatively honest governor, anxious not to oppress the natives, could be led to procrastinate and pre-varicate so as not to displease his peers (one of whom, Brutus, was creditor to the people of Salamis).“ (Jean Andreau; Banking and business in the Roman World).
The above quote demonstrates that loans and usurious interest rates were an established item and were a problem in need of regulation farther back than even Roman times: Banking and mercantile business was firmly in the hands of the upper middle-classes then as it is now. These business people differed from the aristocratic class that managed loans and “favours” amongst themselves … until the funding of so many armies in so many wars reduced them to borrow from the middle-class bankers at ruinous interest rates.
“Livy has plenty to say about the diﬃculties of the public exchequer in this period. But it is hard to put any ﬁgures on them. Using what are known as ‘hypothetico-deductive’ methods, Marchetti has nevertheless attempted to do so. On the basis of the number of soldiers called up by Rome,he has estimated the outlay for the equipment and food supplies of the army and the ﬂeets, and also for wages; he has calculated the total income provided by taxes, to which he has added the booty, the value of which is frequently known. He concludes that there was a deﬁnite deﬁcit. The ﬁgures that he suggests (62,000,000 sestercies of income , 65,000,000 of expences) are disputable (the deﬁcit was probably over 3,000,000 sestercies). However, the reality of the deﬁcit is in no doubt. In this situation, what measures did the city take? In 216,Rome asked Hieron of Syracuse for money and wheat. In 215,it obtained credit from its suppliers, in particular the tax-collectors ( publicani). They agreed to make the city a free loan (commodare ) for supplies for the army in Spain, using the money they had won from adjudications in their favour. Contracts were drawn up with them; Livy observes that the Republic was thus administered by means of private money (privata pecunia res publica administrata est).” (ibid)
Whatever the accuracy of the figures, it shows the chaos that ensured from the State being in the debt of private lenders and to what extent those bankers, under the pseudonym of “tax collectors” could then manipulate the governors of the State to grant them favours and monetary freedom to do almost as they pleased. It was the beginning of the end for the Empire.
So with the political situation being one of power having shifted from the floor of the House of the Senate, to the barracks of the military, with the financial management of the State being manipulated by the private banking sector there was only one thing standing between total control of the managerial business-class and the people and that was but a faint nod of obligation to the national culture of believing the Senate … or Parliament in these times … was the legitimate authority that made and obeyed the “rule of law”.
We are now in that space that has been occupied by so many empires … so many republics … so many nation states and so many dismal failures of the same. We are held captive and as hostage to an insatiably greedy and manipulative upper middle-class demographic that seeks no empathy and will offer no mercy … demands total obedience and will tolerate no dissent. We are at a moment in history where soon we; the people, will have to bend our neck completely to their yoke or throw off their chains of economic bondage and regulate and restructure the whole manifesto of the State.
The choice will be ours as will the resulting history … and as the saying goes: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”