Tamsen Territory

Tamsen’s Territory – comment by Oscar Tamsen

Major world-changing events such as inordinate inflation and global price rises, economic downturns, the introduction of new technology and political and social wars are a combined cyclic event which has been occurring since at least the days of the Roman Empire in the year 33 AD.

On that particular year of economic history, the problem was caused by the bankers of the time offering too many big-figure high-interest loans for home construction and for keeping businesses afloat after a period of serious inflation, such as we have been experiencing for the past three years.

In those far-off days, Roman bankers offered their clients extensive unsecured loans to purchase properties whose values suddenly fell with the continuation of a period of heavy inflation. As a result, the Roman Empire was thrown into a period of drastic economic instability and financial depression.

With this historic information in mind, one can now well ask: “Just what is the difference today with our global economy which is starting to suffer from a similar cycle of inflationary problems?”

As we all know, Australia and most other Western economies are currently being bedevilled by yet another — but similar — cycle of economic events which have been regularly occurring throughout the 20 centuries that have passed by since those early Roman years.

Roman families in 33 AD are historically described as having faced unaffordable prices for their foodstuffs and accommodation. They also suffered from added worries over the threatened introduction of horses to power the Roman Empires’ many grain mills, water reticulation systems and for the movement and transport of materials and crops — all aimed at cutting down on the cost of human labour, very similar to the present groundswell for Artificial Intelligence to take over some of our manual and professional occupations.

Several wars and skirmishes also gave the old-time Romans a great deal of personal fear and uncertainty over their future, just as many of us now view Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the war in the Middle East and China’s threatened takeover of Taiwan.

Once again, one has to ask, “What is new?” It has all happened before and will no doubt continue to do so in the future unless we maintain a steady hand on the political and economic tiller.

Since the early Roman Empire days, our world has experienced seven major cyclic economic depressions, only to rise again each time after undergoing major periods of change — but generally for the better in the longer run.

As a young person in the 1930s, I clearly remember how we in the Western World in particular had to suddenly wake up from our lethargy to the start of a serious period of inflation, a staggeringly high cost-of-living, spreading unemployment and a fractured social and political cycle of events.

By 1939 it sadly continued with the start of the Second World War and with six years of near penury and economic downturn. But, in the end, we entered the golden days of the 1950s and 60s when we were able to enjoy the vast economic benefits of useful new technologies developed during those difficult war years.

So, what does a further reading of past economic history tell us on how to combat a growing world problem which is now possibly getting beyond what solutions individual governments can offer?

First of all, we have to realise that we are in the early stages of the most significant global economic change and energy crisis since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s.

In effect, this is not a passing economic shock — it is a lasting economic shift, as the Australian Government has already quietly acknowledged.

History also tells us in very plain language how to learn it’s many lessons and how to individually plan for the society and economy we will need in the future.

As a people, we now simply have to build something for the years ahead that is an improvement on the excesses of the immediate past.

As individuals, we have to be less wasteful, avoid overstretching our debts, save more of our incomes, keep mortgages at a minimum and prepare ourselves socially, emotionally, materially and financially for those undoubted further monetary shocks.

Even more importantly, we have to personally create a new vision for our lives and have the determination to stand up and actually achieve it with the satisfaction of knowing that we have simply learned from history.