Alpha, in investment terms, is the return achieved by the elite few who attempt to beat the contemporaneous market. This folly notion relies on lottery-style dynamics where there are few winners. Ancient Romans participated in these investments in the form of sprawling agri-/aqua-cultural villas. Strategically placed around the empire, their consumption of resources and perpetual one-upmanship may have cost the Roman empire its very stability.
Supported by the Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize @ American Academy in Rome.