I'm know there are anthropological ways to measure how much coinage was around, or farm land, but has there been a scholarly quantifiable way to broadly measure the level of corruption? In 2023 I feel like the West has a festering corruption problem but I suspect there is a bias there.

The hindsight bias makes us feel like the Roman problems are obvious while I feel there is a tendency to feel our current problems are complex and intractable. There is also the bias where we get the impression that the incoming generation is undisciplined and spoiled. Finally, I find there is quite a tendency to imagine all times are the End Times because mortality makes us imagine nothing interesting could happen after our own death.

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Good point. About corruption in the Roman Empire, we don't have quantitative data. We can only say that the Romans themselves complained a lot about it. Probably, Emperors were in large part an attempt to put an incorruptible figure at the head of the state. The Emperor had already everything, he couldn't be corrupted. Maybe we could think of something similar...

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Thank you for your comment. I think with increasing power or influence must come increasing mandated transparency but for now we have that upside down in a more Orwellian configuration.

I was wondering though if there is a way of knowing if the preception of rampant corruption is actually a continuous state of being for society or if we really can objectively assess its apparent rise and fall. Thinking in terms of complexity, graft or bureacracy feel like that unavoidable toll on a system like the concept of entropy in thermodynamics. In a crooked society, money is still flowing, just with decreased coherence.

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