In 1995, an established journal of classical scholarship, Classics Ireland , published punk musician's Iggy Pop 's reflections on the applicability of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to the modern world in a short article, Caesar Lives , (Vol. 2, 1995) in which he noted "America is Rome. Of course, why shouldn't it be? We are all Roman children, for better or worse... I learn much about the way our society really works, because the system-origins - military, religious, political, colonial, agricultural, financial - are all there to be scrutinised in their infancy. I have gained perspective." 
Official cruelty, supporting extortion and corruption, may also have become more commonplace.  While the scale, complexity, and violence of government were unmatched,  the emperors lost control over their whole realm insofar as that control came increasingly to be wielded by anyone who paid for it .  Meanwhile, the richest senatorial families, immune from most taxation, engrossed more and more of the available wealth and income,  while also becoming divorced from any tradition of military excellence.  One scholar identifies a great increase in the purchasing power of gold, two and a half fold from 274 to the later fourth century, which may be an index of growing economic inequality between a gold-rich elite and a cash-poor peasantry.