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Historian says Romans faced credit crunch

Nov. 28, 2008 at 1:05 PM

LONDON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The struggles associated with a credit crunch have been suffered by other societies in history -- just look at the Roman republic, a British historian says.

Oxford University historian Phillip Kay said the first-ever recorded credit crunch took place in 88 B.C., when a civil war decimated the Roman economy and credit system, The Guardian (Britain) said Friday.

Kay noted comparisons between the current credit crunch facing Britain and other parts of the world and such historical struggles.

"The essential similarity between what happened 21 centuries ago and what is happening in today's U.K. economy is that a massive increase in monetary liquidity culminated with problems in another country causing a credit crisis at home," he said.

While Kay has found a link between the historic crisis and today's current economic situation, he admits there is little to learn from the Roman debacle.

There's very little information about what happened over the next 20 years I'm afraid," Kay said, referring to how the Roman republic rebounded from its credit crunch. "We just don't know."

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