First, what is a denarius? The denarius was a silver coin used for 200 years during the roman empire.
Second, what does debasement mean? In this context, debasement refers to the action of mixing precious metals coins with lower value metals such as copper or nickel.
So what happened to the denarius during its lifespan, and what can it tell us about our current economic situation?
The original denarius coins were nearly pure and contained 4.5 g of silver.
But this didn't last for long.
As soon as he became emperor, Nero started debasing the coin by reducing its silver purity to 90%. It was the first of a long and painful series of blows for the denarius.
The chart below shows the silver content of the denarius throughout its lifespan.
From the very beginning of humanity, it seems that rulers have had a tendency to use short-term solutions to long-term problems.
As we can see below, the currency debasement created rampant inflation and the wage of the Roman soldier had to be reevaluated year after year to maintain their purchasing power.
Looking back at the history of the denarius, it seems that humanity hasn't changed much since the Romans...