An American Prophet

Peter Chardon Brooks Adams (1848 1927) historian and a critic of capitalism. …

Originally posted by Brook Adams:


The wielders of government under the Republic were landowning farmers and husbandmen. These “citizen soldiers ill-fitted to endure the strain of the unrestricted economic competition of a centralized society. Consequently decay set in. This “decay” was the rise of slavery.

Landowners hired the poor and their debts increased, with sons taking on their father’s debts. [I wonder if he explains how.] The debts became perpetual bondage to usurers. The entire system, judicial and fiscal, was structured the debt of the plebeians and then keeping in debt forever.
[So that's how feudalism got started?

Unlikely to have been just that.]

Usurers, through the courts, could buy, sell, and execute the debtors, just as any slave would be treated annihilating economic capital and undermining the ability of the landowner to pay taxes, and thus ruining the best source of income in the Republic.

[I'm not sure how that worked.]

Another source of income was found in conquest. But military expansion could only delay, never alleviate, the decline. It is a great irony, perhaps, that Rome could only bring peace by being at war. Increasing centralization and the rise of the Emperors exacerbated the rift between plebian and publican, slave and free.

More territory meant more foreigners reduced to slavery.

An hierarchy formed in the Roman Empire. Capital was increased in the hands of a few, and landowners had barely enough to subsist in good times. At the slightest disaster, bankruptcy and debt occurred. The Roman husbandman and soldier was doomed, for nature had turned against him.

Another factor was the devaluation and centralization of currency. Under the Emperors, coins were steadily increased, causing inflation and devaluation. Rome became dependent on its far holdings for money, supplies, food, workers, and slaves. Bankers and the monied elite replaced the citizen-soldier landholder, and mercenaries replaced the Roman legions.

I think the man's work has suffered at the hands of the Wikipedia. Maybe I aught to read some of it?


5 thoughts on “An American Prophet

  1. His work is online at Gutenberg.Where he went wrong is in underestimating the effect of war. (I am speaking as one who has never read his actual words so I may be doing him a disservice.)And what happened in Rome was that as a democracy it had got into the the habit of allowing free men to exist above the law.Any Roman citizen had the right to free food. So that led to a balance of payments problem that was only manageable by conquering more and more countries.Eventually you end up with a greater and greater debt and have run out of countries to conquer.Once you can no longer manage to keep the peace you can no longer keep control. And that's why Rome devolved into feudalism. The Roman Empire was ruled by foreign vassals who held their countries in feu.With a balance of payments crisis and ultimate control they could do what they like to the subjects. And had to.But the breakdown came each time a vassal king died or was deposed. Internecine warfare became family feuds. And a constant state of warfare gradually drained Europe of invention and investment.

  2. We have seen quite comprehensively over the era of the Bush and Blair administration how the modern era's problems spiralled out of hand.banks only exist to make a profit and this will be done in ways that will lead to ruin if allowed to go out of control.People become poor and those who are rich never lose their wealth as they can only spend so much no matter how profligate, to keep themselves and their families fed and housed.A balance of payments crisis leads rich nations to declare war on those it can conquer. But if it fails to settle the war quickly, even conquest can lead to ruin.Couple that with the politics of fools and liars along with dishonest and greedy banks and you have a situation that can not be cured.And you have enemies. More and more. On top of a dissatisfied home base.Which is where we are now. In the next decade or two we will see how this will lead to major changes as new centres of wealth grow and the newly old new centres are replaced.

  3. But we have forgotten religious impacts.Empire and religion go hand in hand in abuse. If there is no god, then it was always abuse.If there is a god we have reckoned all this history without him.Looking at history it is easy to see why people have no faith that there is a god. So what will he give us as a sign that he exists?That's not for me to say.The evil religious maniacs of Jesus' day asked for signs. He wouldn't even speak to them, never mind perform signs for them.Why would he provide us with signs?What have we done to deserve such?Well if there is no god was there a Jesus?If there wasn't a Jesus, what about the writings about him?If the writings are a lie, are they useless?He was a very clever man. If you lived according to half of what he said you would be a clever man or woman too.As for the rest…The proper home for evolutionists is prison or on top of a dung heap of dead losers. For example:Today's financiers can be respected for their evolutionary abilities. They survived at the expense of their inferiors, did they not?I don't know any more about atheism than that. Apart from the fact that you don't have to believe in evolution to be an atheist. Nor do you have to be an atheist to believe in evolution.I don't know if you can be a Christian AND believe in evolution but you can't believe the bible and in evolution.Well, actually you can believe anything you want to.People do.People never surprise me with their stupidity.

  4. Originally posted by Wikipedia:

    [I think he lost the plot here:]Kings attempted to curry favour with Rome. “Until, the mechanical arts advanced far enough to cause the attack in war to predominate over the defence.Europe self-sufficient, yet stagnant, needed capital. Superstition and religious fear predominated over science and philosophy. The sack of Jerusalem brought wealth, the classics were rediscovered, which led to a limited renaissance. Finally trade was resumed between the East and the West. This allowed new imports to Europe such as silk and spice, and a new market for European exports.Monasteries and convents had become very rich through the centuries of Church power. The vow of poverty prevented the mmonasteries from using the money. By closing them, monarchs gained their wealth. The Church split during the Reformation, losing of monopoly. Kings became the highest authority in Europe, not the Holy Father.

    [A gross oversimplification.]

  5. Originally posted by Wikipedia:

    Modern centralization – the period we are now in – began as monarchies, later transformed into democracies that gathered increasing power. Economics intensified centralization. Colonies gave home nations great power. Trade benefited the mother country, control was absolute.The industrial revolution moved people into cities, concentrating labour and caused the transition to democracy. As centralization and industry increased, so too did "self-interest". This could not support overseas empires indefinitely. Some fell through revolution and some were intentionally disbanded. Bankers and centralization rotted from below.

    He didn't live to see the end of the colonial powers. They were still in place until WW2.[p]But it is easy to be a prophet when you know how things work. And it is easy to shine among a planet full of inattentive dullards.[/quote]'s fairly obvious I have rooted up what the Wikipedia wrote. But who is going to read huge gubbins of text until they have acquired a taste for it?

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