13 Oct 2014

Christopher Columbus: Bankrupting An Empire

Stefan Molyneux: Happy Columbus Day! Millions of people throughout the world will commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World.

Media outlets generally don't shy away from exposing the truth about this American hero and most people who educate themselves outside the propaganda vacuum of public schools know that in the 21st century the man would be put on trial for crimes against humanity - well, unless he managed to reach the summit of political power.



There is, however, one aspect of Columbus' sins that gets ignored.

When he set sail for what turned out to be the American continent, he carried with him the commandment of King Ferdinand of Spain: "Get gold, humanely if possible, but at all hazards - get gold!"

In his lust for gold, Columbus robbed and forced the local population of the newly discovered land to work in his gold mines, slaughtered the opposition and became the progenitor of the transatlantic slave trade - girls as young as 9 years old were sold into sexual slavery.

The acts of genocide committed by Columbus and his successors filled up the coffers of the Spanish Crown with stolen gold, making the ruling class of the country fabulously wealthy.

As the stolen gold made its way into the Spanish economy, prices began to skyrocket. Inflation was rampant because the gold supply was radically expanded, yet the volume of produced goods didn't change. Prices in Spain went up by 250 percent in the 16th century alone.

The Spanish Empire slowly collapsed under its own greed, ultimately becoming the first country to default on its sovereign debt - Philip II of Spain declared bankruptcy four times in the span of less than 40 years. The economic destruction wasn't limited to Spain - it gradually spread throughout Europe as the Spanish began importing goods that their crippled economy couldn't produce.

The Spanish economic catastrophe brought about by the slaughterhouse import of American gold lasted for 400 years.

Historians termed this period of runaway inflation "the Price Revolution." As one scholar pointed out: "The influx of precious metals into Europe precipitated one of the greatest price revolutions occurring on a specie basis in modern times, if not in all history." He wrote this in 1929 so he didn't get to see what would become of the post-World-War-II world economy.

So next time a politician tells you that oil - the black gold - and other resources acquired through war are a good justification for violence, remember the lesson of 16th century Spain.

The gold that was supposed to make people rich ended up bankrupting everyone who touched it.

Violence always achieves the exact opposite of its stated goals.

Sources:
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/busines...
http://nativeamericanhistory.about.co...
http://www.efficientfrontier.com/file...
http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Price_revo...
http://eml.berkeley.edu/~webfac/crome...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereig...

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