More Economic Muckery
Contributed by Southpaw Ben
This year Wang Mang decides to stop price fluctuations by creating a government agency that would buy surplus foods and textiles to keep prices up during times of abundance and sell them during times of scarcity. He also introduced the first income tax in China which charged professionals and skilled laborers 10% of their profit. Finally, he introduced a sloth tax this year, which applied to farmers that left land uncultivated, city dwellers who didn't have trees and any citizen that refused to work.
My Take by Southpaw Ben
Apparently bringing back the Chinese golden age ain't cheap. While the price stabilizing agency seems to mostly have been made with only the intention of helping the people when coming from such and ideological emperor, the other laws motives weren't so pure. Prior to Wang Mang, there had only been property or head taxes placed on the Chinese peoples. And while many of us would love to see more city trees, especially productive ones, most don't want people fined for choosing to not have them. And said people usually advocate for allowing some fields to be fallow to help the soil health, so even that law is definitely more negative than positive.
The Last Remnants of an Empire
Contributed by David Verne
When Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, his empire was split among his generals. This year the last of those kingdoms ends. Bactria, located in modern-day Iran and Pakistan, was made up of the lands at the farthest reaches of Alexander's Empire. It was a mixture of Greek, Hindu, and Buddhist cultures but it was never a powerful kingdom. It will fall this year to the Scythians, although it is believed that Greek settlements survived for longer.
My Take by David Verne
Alexander was a brilliant commander and created a massive empire, but he didn't do much to make an easy transition of power.
His empire was divided up into several kingdoms, each ruled by one of his generals. His empire didn't last long, but his legacy has lasted through the ages, no small part due to his team of historians he took with him on campaign. He did have some good insights on life. One of my favorite quotes from him is, "I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep, I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion." This is startlingly true in this day and age, where the sheep are led about by lions.