Ancient Rome: Extreme Spending And Monetary Debasement

by Marvin Dumont

Rome (Pixabay)

In antiquity, Apollo was the god of truth, prophecy and healing, among other things.

Today’s consumers need more truth and transparency. Central banks and governments hide the way in which they indirectly tax people: through inflation and currency debasement.

According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, in the long-term there can only be one cause of inflation: by printing cash and expanding the sovereign cash supply. Doing so reduces the purchasing power of each dollar bill — or bolivars or lira or other unbacked cash.

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

In ancient Rome, central authorities bankrupted history’s most powerful empire via outrageous spending. Emperors’ extreme habits forced bureaucrats to debase denarius coins to a point of worthlessness by removing its silver contents.

The denarius, like the U.S. dollar, was backed by a physical asset (silver) while the dollar was backed by gold until the mid-1930s. Removing the underlying commodity-money greatly reduced the buying power of both.

The U.S. government owes $21.5 trillion in debt, and its excess spending results in billion-dollar deficits each year. When the Federal Reserve (a private bank) prints dollars to fund Uncle Sam’s dysfunctional spending, your dollar bills lose value.

So what are examples of fiscal excesses in ancient Rome?

The caesars would routinely spend $200,000 to $500,000 (in today’s dollars) on a single meal for themselves and guests, demanding exotic food that were sourced from far away. Banquets cost even more.

Emperor Caligula demanded delicacies such as tongues of hummingbirds and flamingos, the brains of peacocks, and livers of cold-water pike fish that had to be imported alive from as far as modern-day Poland. In one meal, the 1st century ruler personally drank $200,000 worth of pearls that were dissolved in his wine.

Emperor Nero would decorate banquets with hundreds of roses that came only from Egypt, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars per shipment. He’d only wear his clothing once: A single outfit laced with gold and pearls would each cost $40,000 — before being discarded.

What are the consequences of this insanity?

Today, the Roman empire is found in ruins, covered in dirt and dusted by historians.

Can governments survive with current fiscal and monetary policies? Trusting authorities may be a risky proposition: Their financial statements are inked in red, and the numbers they convey aren’t backed by real assets, either.

About Apollo

Apollo all-in-one currency has fixed supply and therefore has 0% inflation. This feature is important to protect APL investors’ buying power.

This week, the foundation launched Olympus Protocol 2.0 (see announcement) that gives the first all-in-one cryptocurrency the best privacy protections in the industry. The update includes (1) Encrypted Transport IP Masking 2.0 and (2) Database-Level Coin Mixing.

Apollo’s masking feature uses encrypted-data IP masking which cannot be compromised: It hides a user’s physical location. Our development team is working on advanced version that incorporates intelligent algorithms that can bypass a firewall.

Secondly, the coin mixing feature shows a sender’s transaction but not the destination. This makes APL transactions more private and secure. (See video on Olympus Protocol 2.0.)

The Apollo team’s vision is to create an all-in-one currency that gives users the ability to perform any blockchain-related task (offered by top cryptos) in a single platform. More utility can lead to more value and adoption.

To learn more, see Apollo’s whitepaper and technical paper.

World-Shaping solutions for a global economy