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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser


Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans



[In times of economic hardship a friction is forming between the poor and rich, with the senate in support of the rich.] "The chief spokesman was Menenius Agrippa, and after much entreaty of the people and much plain speaking in behalf of the senate, he concluded his discourse with a celebrated fable. He said, namely, that all the other members of man's body once revolted against the belly, and accused it of being the only member to sit idly down in its place and make no contribution to the common welfare, while the rest underwent great hardships and performed great public services only to minister to its appetites ; but that the belly laughed at their simplicity in not knowing that it received into itself all the body's nourishment only to send it back again and duly distribute it among the other members. " Such, then," said Agrippa," is the relation of the senate, my fellow-citizens, to you ; the matters for deliberation which there receive the necessary attention and disposition bring to you all and severally what is useful and helpful." - Parallel Lives, Plutarch

Sounds a bit like the Roman version of trickle-down economics.