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Did you know they did the Occupy Wall Street thing in Roman times?

People being pissed off is nothing new. Remember Spartacus? He was a gladiator who led the Third Servile War in 73-71 BC. It was the most successful of the Roman Servile Wars where slaves rose and threatened to take over the Empire. Ultimately, the Romans won but exploited people had had enough of being used and abused.

What about the Wars of Scottish Independence with Braveheart William Wallace lifting up his kilt at the oppressing English? Or the Chinese Revolution? Hell, you might even have heard of that minor skirmish called the American Revolution? No, doesn’t ring a bell?

Surely you’ve heard a little something about the Russian Revolution. The Tsarist autocracy was overthrown by the Bolshevik, leading to the creation of the Soviet empire.

History Fun-O-Meter

You see, there comes a time in history when things go really well for a portion of the population. They get humongously rich and that is something remarkably addictive. The more money you have, the more money you make. And when you see how easy it is to get super prosperous you just want to be even richer. It’s not because people are big meanies, it’s human nature.

The problem is that the economy is by nature a zero sum game. That bigger slice of the population who’s at the shitty end of the stick is bound to be resentful. It’s not too bad at first, you tell yourself if you work a little harder, if you get a little more educated your situation will improve. But meanwhile, the rich get richer and it becomes even harder to climb out of the economic doldrums.

Because this is human nature, it becomes cyclical. The image of a pendulum is an appropriate one. What happened after the 1780s French were going hungry while watching the decadent aristocracy living in the lap of luxury? It became head-chopping time. Same thing happened with the Russians. You live in extreme poverty, you take up extreme measures.

After the Industrial Revolution, a class of businessmen came out ahead. These were the so-called robber barons like Cornelius Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan, John Jacob Astor, and Andrew Carnegie. They became insanely wealthy with railroads and ship lines, mining and banking. There were few regulations and they didn’t shy away from breaking the law to make a quick buck. This was known as the Gilded Age. You know what brought this period down? The Panic of 1873, a financial collapse brought about by the overbuilding of railroads. Banks failed, people lost their savings.

This led to the price of grain and produce to drop so much that farmers couldn’t export their crops. Miners lost their jobs. There were strikes everywhere. What did people do? They marched on Washington, of course! A bunch of pissed off people led by Jacob Coxey walked from Ohio to the national capital in 1894 to demand the creation of jobs by the government. They finally got arrested for stepping on the grass of the US Capitol. By 1896 a new government came in (William McKinley becoming president), tariffs were enforced, and the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush eventually kick-started the economy once again.

Remember when I said things were cyclical? The Panic of 1907 led to a major recession (leading bankers to create the Federal Reserve). Things went awesome again until the Great Depression hit in 1929. At this point it’s useful to mention that governments established measures to aid people through these tough times. FDR came up with the New Deal which helped people cope. Then we got World War II and the baby boom, the Space Age emergence of the American Dream-seeking middle-class. We had the 80s which was a 10-year long coked-up party and the 90s where we could make money just by staring at the Merrill Lynch toll-free number.

And now the world is economically screwed again. It’s common knowledge that the world governments are bought and paid for by corporations and the elite that rules them. We’re on the brink of being under the thumb of the SkynetOCP cartel with Big Brother keeping us all in line.

So what now?

Will the hopeless masses occupying Wall Street lead to a revolution? It’s doubtful. The demonstrations are good indication of the global mood. If you step back and look at history you notice these things happen regularly. Half-decent governments will usually implement a measure or two to at least show they care. The idea is to not abandon the population. As you’ve read before, when the people feel abandoned they can lash out at their leadership and bourgeoisie.

It won’t happen this year. I don’t know what’s in our immediate future but in the great scheme of things the people will prevail. If history has taught us anything is that it never fails.

If you want to know more about the Gilded Age and how corrupt rich people were back in the railroad heyday, take a look at my thrilling novel The Gilded Treachery.

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One Response

  1. A very clean website with some very useful information. I am sold! You really know what you are talking about, its evident in your writing. Cannot wait to check out more of your articles in the coming weeks!

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