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
Date Written: December 16, 2016
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
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