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Out of links, I will have to rely on scetchy recollection. As I was tought, the standard model was something like this:

  • Spain plunders America.
  • England and Netherlands gets a little from pirating Spains silver transports and a lot from producing stuff like wool and selling to wealthy Spainish.
  • Inflation unseats land-owning nobility in favor of new merchant/entrepreneur-class (in particular England, Netherlands was already merchant-dominated).
  • So money landing in England and Netherlands is re-invested in trade.
  • First Netherlands, then England takes over world trade and extracts rent from basically everything.


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by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 11th, 2011 at 05:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was the consensus and for all I know is still taught as the consensus.  But it's not quite, quite, accurate.

For example, the political leadership of England during most of this period was Monarchy supported by and supported land-based Aristocracy.  While the great merchants gained power during this period they never achieved Decision Making power.  An example of this, was a continuous un-met demand by the merchants for the King to do something about pirates infesting the English Channel.  It was only when the mayor of London fitted out a fleet, out of his own pocket, that piracy faded.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Apr 12th, 2011 at 12:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does omit the profits from gaining a share of the East and South Asian carry trade. After selling your fine woolens for silver, your big money comes from taking that silver to the East, where it can be used to buy into the trade among the most productive, highest income economies in the world. And you can reap your profits from that trade in the form of goods to send back to Europe to sell for more silver to finance further expansion.

There's a reason why it's "sailing the Seven Seas" rather than "sailing to the Seven Seas" ~ there was a lot of money to be made plying the waters of the Andaman, Java, Banda, Molucca, Celebes, Sulu and South China Seas.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Apr 12th, 2011 at 11:43:35 PM EST
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