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Sugarplum1 The Economic Collapse Multiple scholars have contended that the primary reason for Romes decline and eventual fall was the receding of the great Empires economic might and the social repercussions that accompanied it On the surface this may seem quite simple but in actuality this phenomenon affected nearly every aspect of Roman life from the decline of the population to the lack of maintenance of infrastructure One of the primary catalysts to the deterioration of the economy was the lack of circulating currency in the Western Empire Two reasons for the lack of funds are wholesale hoarding of bullion by Roman citizens and the widespread looting of the Roman treasury by the barbarians These two factors coupled with the massive trade deficit with Eastern Regions of the Empire served to stifle the growth of wealth in the west This would have far reaching ramifications that permiate the very fabric of Roman society as we shall soon discuss Ellsworth Huntington has proposed a unique hypothesis relating the changing rainfall patterns and climate in the Mediterranean with the economic problems encountered by the western empire He basically writes that as the climate became more unstable it began to alternate annually between hot droughts and cold rainy seasons This for obvious reasons would decrease crop yields and would force the Romans to undergo widespread irrigation projects on land which had formerly been self-sufficient The huge quantities of water needed for this project had to be contained in large reservoirs and the standing water became stagnant Stagnant water is the ideal environment for breeding mosquitos the carriers of malaria Malaria began manifesting itself at epidemic levels weakening and killing a large percentage of the population The fluctuation in temperature and climate also had more direct effects on the populus Huntington believed that humans operate most effectively when their environment is at a stable temperature preferrably between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit This ever-changing environment
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