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The Real Economics Of The Ancient Roman Empire.

When John D. Rockefeller realized the full value of petroleum it changed the world in unprecedented ways .  It started with Rockefeller piping gas into homes and building for light instead of having to rely on whale oil.   Later he distilled gasoline out of Petroleum and the results were explosive economic growth around the world.  Much of that still going on today.  Getting minerals out of the ground that are loaded with energy potential has been a godsend for man kind.  The propensity of successful oil men to get rich quick can be attributed to  the immense number of BTU or calories that can come from burning a gallon of Diesel or Gasoline.   The energy from a container holding a gallon of pure sugar syrup is less than a third of that of the gasoline.  Energy that does work powers an economy.

In ancient Rome the Romans conquered countries that were as close as possible and as easy  to conquer as possible.  Conquest meant Roman occupation and colonization but it also meant having a giant workforce of slaves.  The ability of Rome to provide free bread and free ;subsidized  bread and circuses to millions of people was due to slavery much in the way our consumption of petroleum has created unprecedented growth over the past 130 years but with much greater limitations since the BTU value of slaves is less than horse power.  Rated in horse power it might take 5 or 6 slaves to do the work of one horse employed for that purpose.  Of course the Romans also had horse power so it cannot be discounted.  For Rome to provide bread and circus benefits It took 10 to 12 slaves per recipient of the benefits working in the expansive empire.  It took slaves to grow and harvest the food and slaves to transport the food and slaves to distribute and repackage it. Rome was highly inefficient as such.  Slaves don't want to work efficiently if they are not forced to and working slaves to death was rather expensive if you wanted economic growth.

Rome hit the limit of expansion because when then went to the middle east they were more interested in grabbing and controlling the salt resources of the dead sea than figuring out what to do with petroleum which they did find in pools at the surface and sometimes used for military applications just not for an energy fuel.  Slaves were no more expensive than a certain quantity of salt.  The word for slaves comes from Salt. Sal  to Slaves.  The economics of Roman imperial socialism was terribly inefficient.  The spectacle and pageantry of the city of Rome was only something the Romans could afford by creating misery for millions of people in and beyond their own world empire.

We have something similar happening today where out sourcing of industry goes to third world countries but that is not slavery. It is voluntary and the local currency earnings are significant enough to help china rise from a third world country to the first world one emerging today. But beware if the Chinese did not have modern energy resources form mining like oil and coal they would be in economic decline and substituting slavery for btu production.   That should be a warning about going green and using inferior sources of energy than actually produce the maximum number of btus for the least amount of work obtaining that material.  The alternative energy world has to be competitive with BTU production from oil and coal with out subsidies or its going to result in world wide slavery all over again. We see numbers that are quite similar in our own economic world now.  130 years ago  90 plus percent of the population had to work on farms or in food production. Today we are down to 2 percent of the population working on farms in developed countries.  That includes the old use of horse power and even railroad power.     Lets not go the way of the ancient romans and keep real energy so we don't have to enslave 90 percent of the population to serve  the other ten percent.


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