Charles H. Smith:
“Did the Roman Empire have corporations?”
Based on my admittedly incomplete reading of Gibbons and a survey of Pompeii I am currently reading, I believe the answer is no.
Yes, the Republic and later, the Empire, had ruling Elites and politically influential families who controlled immense wealth, but… Did the Empire flourish without accountability and personal responsibility?
In other words, were the Elites which controlled the Empire never held personally accountable? If so then, they may well have functioned as the equivalent of today’s corporations.
What the long history the Roman Empire suggests is that individuals who failed paid a price. In today’s Corporate Empire, the Elite individuals running the corporations can despoil, bribe, embezzle, cheat and collude and they completely evade accountability.
This is yet more evidence that the U.S. is a de facto Corporate State which benefits the Power Elites who have partnered private gain with global reach.