It is true that ancient society was very different from modern society. The socioeconomic problems facing the Gracchi [c. 133 B.C. – 122 B.C.] were nevertheless essentially the same as those we face today. Then as now, the fortunes of the rich were hurling into the stratosphere while the middle classes were crashing into the ground. Then as now, the people were growing dependent on subsidies while the proletariat was growing larger in size. Then as now, democracy was being entrenched, even if an oligarchy ruled in fact. Then as now, traditional laws and customs were coming to be seen more as obstructions than as institutions of justice. Then as now, ambitious demagogues, vying for the affections of the multitude, grew increasingly brazen. Then as now, popular government was warped into an instrument of patronage. Then as now, the spirit of moderation was being frayed.