Consider the presumed organizational structures of societies and how they prevent societies from adapting to change in their circumstances. This may be the strongest correspondence between the Roman Empire and the contemporary empire built by transnational corporations through their hegemonic clients.
Historian Michael Rostovtzeff and economist Ludwig von Mises both argued that unsound economic policies played a key role in the impoverishment and decay of the Roman Empire. That just makes sense to me, how about you?
According to them, by the 2nd century AD, the Roman Empire had developed a complex market economy in which trade was relatively free. Tariffs were low and laws controlling the prices of foodstuffs and other commodities had little impact because they did not fix the prices significantly below their market levels.
After the 3rd century, however, debasement of the currency (i.e., the minting of coins with diminishing content of gold, silver, and bronze) led to inflation. The price control laws then resulted in prices that were significantly below their free-market equilibrium levels.
While currency debasement is in full swing and inflation smacks you in the face with every purchase, price controls have yet to pop up. So far, you just have to eat the inflation.
According to Rostovtzeff and Mises, artificially low prices led to the scarcity of foodstuffs, particularly in cities, whose inhabitants depended on trade to obtain them. Despite laws passed to prevent migration from the cities to the countryside, urban areas gradually became depopulated and many Roman citizens abandoned their specialized trades to practice subsistence agriculture.
With a majority of United States citizens living in urban areas, most of the population does not have the option of going back to the land. This is very different from ancient Rome.
Thousands of years ago in Rome, as well as in our recent history, we can see a pattern of tax collection that drove small-scale farmers into destitution (and onto a dole that required even more exactions upon those who could not escape taxation), or into dependency upon a landed élite exempt from taxation.
Abandoning Rome created empowerment for the lower levels of the former climax society, who escape from the burden of onerous taxes and control by exploitative elites. United States citizens seek nothing less.
So much the same, so much different. How are your subsistence agriculture skills? Do you even have a place to practice them?