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The Dress that launched a thousand Slave Ships July 4, 2018

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Lifestyle, philosophy & politics.
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How an aristocratic fashion revolution in Paris brought about our Civil War. – the Law of Unintended Consequences

Marie Antoinette and her fellow fashion trendsetters made cotton desirable. Technology and slave labor made it affordable. It was the perfect storm. The affordability increased the desirability, resulting in an even higher demand, which in turn increased the mass production so that the price dropped even further. The cycle caused “King Cotton” and the institution of slavery which it stood upon to rule the South. Of course, we all know what happened from there. A simple dress launched an elaborate butterfly effect with far-reaching consequences that the young French queen never could have predicted when she took a step outside her lavish royal wardrobe.

The dress that launched thousands of slave ships

A Brief History of Debt May 2, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Religion.
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The emergence, in almost the exact times and places where one also sees the early spread of coinage, of what were to become modern world religions: prophetic Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, Taoism, and eventually, Islam. While the precise links are yet to be fully explored, in certain ways, these religions appear to have arisen in direct reaction to the logic of the market. To put the matter somewhat crudely: if one relegates a certain social space simply to the selfish acquisition of material things, it is almost inevitable that soon someone else will come to set aside another domain in which to preach that, from the perspective of ultimate values, material things are unimportant, and selfishness – or even the self – illusory.

With the advent of the great European empires – Iberian, then North Atlantic – the world saw both a reversion to mass enslavement, plunder, and wars of destruction, and the consequent rapid return of gold and silver bullion as the main form of currency.

One of the main factors of the movement back to bullion, for example, was the emergence of popular movements during the early Ming dynasty, in the 15th and 16th centuries, that ultimately forced the government to abandon not only paper money but any attempt to impose its own currency. This led to the reversion of the vast Chinese market to an uncoined silver standard. Since taxes were also gradually commuted into silver, it soon became the more or less official Chinese policy to try to bring as much silver into the country as possible, so as to keep taxes low and prevent new outbreaks of social unrest. The sudden enormous demand for silver had effects across the globe. Most of the precious metals looted by the conquistadors and later extracted by the Spanish from the mines of Mexico and Potosi (at almost unimaginable cost in human lives) ended up in China. Read the whole 5000 year history at this link.

via Debt: The first five thousand years

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