The Fall of Rome Reconsidered: A Synthesis of Manpower and Taxation Arguments

W. Richard, Jr. Stephens
1982 Social Thought and Research  
The arguments given for the decline and fall of Rome are many and varied. Two in particular have dominated the literature. One, supported by Max Weber, A.B.R. Boak and others, contends that the transition from ancient civilization to feudalism was due to the fall in supply of slaves and the ramifications of that fallon the ability of other elements in the system to be reproduced. A.H.M. Jones, A. Bernardi, CM. Cipolla, and others have challenged this argument and have offered an alternative
more » ... an alternative which focuses on the economic limitations of an agrarian based empire. The problem was manifest in an exceedingly oppressive system of taxation which also prevented system reproduction. These alternative arguments are synthesized in this paper by employing Marx's concept of reserve industrial army and explaining its operation with respect to various rates of exploitation. The result is a step to a more comprehensive explanation ofRome's decline and fall.
doi:10.17161/str.1808.4925 fatcat:f6waatid3zfm5b7krpv7oviede