Robert Maxwell wrote:
There are really people who think Native Americans couldn't have built the Cahokia Mounds? I mean, they're big piles of dirt. Just takes a lot of dirt, time, and manpower--not any really special technology.
They did about 100-150 years ago. It was probably an inspiration for the Mormon religion believing that a lost tribe of Israel is in North America.
No I don't, actually. Just because the Romans were assholes doesn't mean their society was unsophisticated, nor does it mean they wouldn't be on equal terms ECONOMICALLY with the modern world if the technological gap was bridged.
Sure, if you give them a crash course in macroeconomics and diversify their economy so it wasn't so dependent of slavery and conquest. However, those are actually big "ifs." The Romans literally didn't have the slightest understanding of inflation. And this was quite a problem because their economy initially consisted of conquering someone and bringing the spoils back home. When they didn't have spoils, they debased the coinage. Neither one was good. They also had massive unemployment because there was little room for economic growth and agriculture was done on massive plantations. Just like the Confederacy was backwards in 1860, Rome would be a third world country. Finally, there was an agricultural revolution during the so-called Dark Ages (500-900) that allowed fewer farmers to produce more food and to farm in northern Europe. Both these things would have prevented Rome from competing economically.
That being said, the resources, ingenuity, and industriousness of the Roman Empire was astounding. I'm not knocking what I view as the most impressive western empire in history. It just had lots of flaws too and was truly a product of its own time not way ahead of its time.