Economic life in the early Empire did not differ essentially from that under the late Republic.1 Augustus neither introduced a new economic policy nor sought to establish State controls or monopolies: the old laissez-faire continued. Taxation was not used as a direct means of controlling trade or industry and its incidence was not heavy enough to hamper private enterprise. As earlier, there was little competition between the State and the individual, but rather competition was allowed to develop freely between all those who interested themselves in industry or trade. The essential difference was the establishment of the pax Romana: no longer were wars or civil strife to be allowed to strike crippling blows at the economic life of the community. By developing the political unity of the Mediterranean world, Augustus thereby created the conditions for its economic unification. Given peace, the economic prosperity of the Empire would take care of itself.