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The Sparta Game: Violence, Proportionality, Austerity, Collapse

Forthcoming, Paul Millett. How to Do Things with History. Oxford University Press.

19 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2016  

Josiah Ober

Stanford University - Department of Classics

Barry R. Weingast

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Date Written: December 16, 2016

Abstract

This paper suggests that contemporary versions of Adam Smith’s informal equilibrium theory in Book III of the Wealth of Nations (Smith, 1776) can explain Sparta’s regime stability, along with distinctive features of the social system of ancient Sparta, namely the coordinated social uses of systematic violence, the public façade of material equality among the citizen population, the maintenance of a self-enforcing regime of austerity by an extensive body of citizens. In addition, it uses a dynamic element to explain the severe demographic decline that led to Sparta’s eventual loss of standing in the Greek world.

Keywords: Ancient Greece, Economic decline, violence, Sparta

JEL Classification: D71, D72, D78, H11, N13, O43, P47

Suggested Citation

Ober, Josiah and Weingast, Barry R., The Sparta Game: Violence, Proportionality, Austerity, Collapse (December 16, 2016). Forthcoming, Paul Millett. How to Do Things with History. Oxford University Press.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2886679

Josiah Ober

Stanford University - Department of Classics ( email )

Building 110
Stanford, CA 94305-2080
United States
650-724-0868 (Phone)
650-723-1808 (Fax)

Barry R. Weingast (Contact Author)

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-723-0497 (Phone)
650-723-1808 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.stanford.edu/group/mcnollgast/cgi-bin/wordpress/

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