Ancient Economy by M. I. Finley

By M. I. Finley

"Technical development, fiscal progress, productiveness, even potency haven't been major ambitions because the starting of time," announces M. I. Finley in his vintage paintings. The states of the traditional Mediterranean international had no recognizable real-property industry, by no means fought a commercially encouraged warfare, witnessed no force to capital formation, and assigned the administration of many large organizations to slaves and ex-slaves. in brief, to review the economies of the traditional international, one needs to start through discarding many premises that appeared self-evident ahead of Finley confirmed that they have been lifeless or deceptive. on hand back, with a brand new foreword via Ian Morris, those sagacious, fertile, and sometimes combative essays are only as electrifying this day as whilst Finley first wrote them.

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45 But the age of Cicero was abnormally complicated: the demands of politics, as they were then being played, and of conspicuous consumption, an element in politics, involved the nobility, as well as others, in moneylending on a stupendous scale. Electoral bribery, an expensive life-style, extravag~nt public games and other forms of public largesse had become necessary ingredients of political careers. For men whose wealth was in land, the pressures were exacerbated by a shortage of liquid assets, of cash.

The chief disciple of Diogenes the Cynic was a rich man, Crates of Thebes, Orders and Status 37 who voluntarily gave up his possessions, much like the heroes of the saints' lives in the later Roman Empire. ' But they must be treated with discrimination. 2-6), "has always been the handmaiden of philosophy.... Review the greatest rogues whose memory has been preserved, you will find no poor men among them .... " Out of context that seems straightforward enough. The context, however, is not irrelevant.

47 At a later date, Cicero borrowed 8oo,ooo sesterces from Caesar, which caused him much embarrassment when he began to edge into Pompey's camp;' 8 still later, in 47 or 46, when Caesar was in full control, Cicero lent the dictator's secretary Faberius a large (unspecified) sum, and recovery of that 54 The Ancient Economy loan proved a difficult, squalid business:" Whether or not either of those two loans was interest-bearing is uncertain, but there is no doubt that both Crassus and Caesar, among others, made large interest·free loans to politically useful men.

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