The book the article is inspired by is an alternate history set during the reign of Augustus. It takes as its point of departure the capture of Archimedes of Syracuse -- instead of being killed, he is brought back to Rome.
Note that this is the mid-Republic period, before the dynamics of conquest and slavery completely dominated the Roman economy.
The book is written by Helen Dale, who set out to write a legal alt-history, not an economics alt-history per se. She's got the background for it: she's an award-winning novelist, studied classics at Oxford and Roman law at Edinburgh. My gut feeling is that any objection you have, she's thought about already.
1. Helen Dale, a novelist, has written a novel, Kingdom of the Wicked, of which the first book has recently been released.
2. It's set in an alternative history, during the time of Augustus.
3. Helen Dale believes an author's intepretation of her work is more meaningful, in a critical or literary sense, than a critic's. So she included an "Author's Note" in her novel, explaining the background leading to its creation.
4. The Author's Note was republished by the Cato Institute on their libertarianism.org website.
5. This essay is a reply to the Author's Note.
I've been hosting Helen's website for more than a decade. She is very, very, very smart and a damn good writer. She's also the right person for the right story.
I think you're going to hear a lot about this book in the coming year.
 https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Wicked-Book-One-Rules/dp/0994... https://www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/authors-n...