Progress | Ol’ Remus & The Woodpile Report

Many reasons have been given for the fall of the Roman Empire—greed and decadence, Christianity or the want of it, a decline in industriousness, lack of new territory to plunder, internal wars and over-reliance on the military and so forth. These are “civic virtue” arguments. More objectively, Tainter says the total cost of maintaining the empire exceeded the total return from the empire. The notion appears to confuse cause and effect if you squint and look at it just so. An automobile will eventually cost more in maintenance than the worth of its service justifies, but the deterioration itself isn’t due to the cost of maintenance. An asset has a trajectory apart from our mitigations of its effects. Continue reading