Download War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, by Kwasi Kwarteng PDF

By Kwasi Kwarteng

The global was once wild for gold. After studying the Americas, and stressed to shield their tremendous dominion, the Habsburgs of Spain promoted gold and silver exploration within the New global with ruthless urgency. yet, the nice inflow of wealth introduced domestic via plundering conquistadors couldn’t atone for the Spanish government’s outstanding army spending, which might finally bankrupt the rustic a number of occasions over and result in the death of the good empire.

Gold grew to become synonymous with monetary dependability, and following the devastating chaos of global warfare I, the most advantageous got here to precise the order of the loose industry process. war in pursuit of wealth required borrowing—a quick compulsive dependency for lots of governments. And whilst humans misplaced self assurance within the promissory notes and paper currencies issued in the course of wartime, governments back became to gold.

In this beautiful ancient learn, Kwarteng exposes a trend of war-waging and fiscal debt—bedmates like April and taxes that return enormous quantities of years, from the French Revolution to the emergence of modern day China. His proof is as wealthy and colourful because it is sweeping. And it begins and ends with gold.

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Extra resources for War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt

Sample text

According to his own theory, outlined in his 1705 tract Money and Trade Considered, a scheme of ‘paper credit’, or what we would call paper money, could provide a remedy for the poor French state finances. In trying to convince the French, Law praised the benefits to England and Holland of the banks of London and Amsterdam. 16 The bank Law proposed would be secured on two types of assets. First, it would be a land bank, secured on the landed property of the whole kingdom. It would also be backed by the entire royal revenue.

38 One Spanish commentator remarked in 1551 that in Spain ‘in times when money was scarcer, sellable goods and labor were given for very much less than after the discovery of the Indies, which flooded the country with gold and silver’. Most importantly, it was noticed that the reason behind this development was that ‘money is worth more where and when it is scarce than where and when it is abundant’. 39 Yet, despite these Spanish observations, it was a contemporary Frenchman who has, perhaps unfairly, earned praise for being the first to identify the phenomenon of inflation caused by an increase in the supply of gold and silver.

He had intended to capture Pizarro and to take and breed the Spanish horses, which were what he admired most about the invaders. 19 The Inca Emperor was surprised by the sheer audacity and nerve of the Spanish. Armed with guns and artillery they set a brilliant trap for him. Having invited him for talks at dinner in Cajamarca, a town situated in the Andes mountains at an altitude of 9,500 feet, they prepared an ambush in which 7,000 Incas were killed. Atahualpa himself was captured. It was at this point that the Inca leader offered his notorious ransom.

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