Monday, December 20, 2021

What Are The Right Questions?

Why do we believe that the Pyramid of Giza and Mount Rushmore symbolize different kinds of political ideals? The purpose of both monuments was deification of the ruling elite—the ancient Egyptians wanted to venerate their pharaohs; the Americans wanted to venerate their presidents. The Americans have not mummified their founders but it can be argued that in a spiritual sense, they have—they have spent a massive amount of financial and intellectual resources on deifying the founders and transforming them into a modern counterpart of the ancient pharaohs. 

Why do we believe that the West, which came into being when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Americas, is founded on Ancient Greek philosophy? There is no connection between Greek philosophy and the West. The idea that the two are connected was developed in the eighteenth century (the so-called Age of Enlightenment) by French philosophers who were embarrassed by the barbarity with which the conquistadors, imperialists, slavers, colonizers, and settlers had won the Western empire. So these philosophers started claiming that the West had nothing to do with colonization and was founded on Ancient Greek philosophy. This was their rationalization, their propaganda, their myth—this has nothing to do with reality. 

Why do we believe that the philosophy of Ancient Athens is unique—that this kind of philosophical argumentation did not happen anywhere else? The German philosopher Karl Jaspers has written that all the major schools of philosophy and politics seem to have sprouted, apparently independently, in Persia, India, China, and Greece in the same period. He called this period the Axial Age (from 800 BC to 300 AD). During this period there was the rise of Zoroaster in Persia; the Vedic sages, the Buddha, and other thinkers in India; Confucius and Lao-Tse in China; and Pythagoras in Greece. All the important questions of philosophy and politics that we are deliberating to this day were conceived in this period. 

Why do we believe that the West, which venerates its political elites like Egyptians venerated their pharaohs, would be devoted to liberty, individualism, and property rights? In the last 500 years, the West has been the biggest violator of human rights and property rights. The notion that the West is founded on Ancient Greek philosophy enables the Western leaders to justify their destructive foreign policy. The Western elites are able to argue that since their way of life is more than 2000 years old, it is the best. In the twentieth century, America has repeatedly used its military power to impose Western culture on other nations. The choice that the Americans gave to the Middle Easterners, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Koreans, Africans, and South Americans was simple—become like us, hand over your natural resources to us, or we will destroy you.

Why do we believe that the European conquistadors and imperialists who committed genocides, plunder, rapes, and slavery on an world-historical scale, and wiped out several ancient cultures, were from an “enlightened” civilization which was motivated by the ideals of liberty, peace, human rights, and individualism? Between 1519 and 1526, Hernan Cortes wrote five letters (the English translation of these letters have been published in the book Five Letters of Relation) to the Spanish monarchs. Cortes has described his journey through the valley of Puebla where he interacted with several Native Indian city-states. About the city-state called Tlaxcala, Cortes said: It had a population of 150,000; in its markets, more than 30,000 people were involved in buying and selling; it had farms which measured thirty leagues in circumference. 

The Tlaxcala army was on the verge of wiping out Cortes and his band of conquistadors. But Cortes managed to convince the Tlaxcala that they should grant him an audience. The Tlaxcala did not have a European style monarchy—they were being governed by a group of elders. In his letters, Cortes seems to be amazed that such a large community, with extensive agricultural and manufacturing economy, could function smoothly without a monarch. The Tlaxcala held public debates (in the style of Athenian democracy) to take their political decisions. Cortes has described the debates which happened before the Tlaxcala agreed to accept the help of the conquistadors for defeating their ancient enemy, the Aztecs. 1000 Spaniards did not defeat the Aztecs—the Tlaxcala army of more than 20,000 native warriors was there to do the fighting. 

The Native Indian city-states of the Americas had much more liberty and individualism than the European nations from which the conquistadors and imperialists had arrived. The case can be made that the Europeans learned about liberty and individualism through their interaction with the native American tribes. It is the Western lies and propaganda which prevent us from seeing the truth that the Western culture is tyrannical, violent, and nihilistic—it is antithetical to rationality, liberty, morality, and individualism. To have the right answers we have to begin by asking the right questions.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

On the Dark Ages, Slavery, and Work Ethic

The institution of slavery vanished from Europe during the Dark Ages, which followed the fall of the Roman Empire. Why did slavery come to an end in the Dark Ages? 

Some historians have credited Christianity for the end of slavery in the Dark Ages. This could be the case but the Christian thinkers were not explicitly against slavery. After the fifteenth century, the conquistadors (who were Catholic), and the imperialists (who were Catholic and Protestant) practiced slavery on a world-historical scale in the Americas and other colonies. 

It seems that feudalism had a much bigger role to play in the abolition of slavery in Europe than Christianity. The European feudal lords were opposed to the idea of having slaves. Instead of slaves, the feudal lords used local labor to manage the agriculture work of their vast land holdings. 

But the end of slavery led to Dark Ages in Europe. It is possible that the Europeans are not capable of creating a powerful empire unless they have access to cheap slave labor. Europe’s history shows that whenever there is large-scale opposition to slavery, there is decline in the continent’s economy and culture, and a new Dark Age begins.

After the fifteenth century, the rise of Europe as a global power has coincided with the rise of slavery. Around 1850, when European power was at its peak, the institution of slavery was also at a peak. The European slavers had transported between 12 to 18 million people from Africa to work as slaves in the Americas and in other colonies. The plantations, which were almost entirely dependent on African labor, were the backbone of the European economy in the Americas. 

Before the Africans arrived, the European settler population in the Americas was starving—the average life expectancy of the settlers was just 25 years. Most settlers used to die within five years of arrival in the Americas due to disease, bad living conditions, and starvation. The irony is that the Africans, with their capacity for hard work, saved the European population in the Americas and made the colonization of North America possible.

We read in history books that the West has won in the last 300 years because of the “Western work ethic.” The German philosopher Max Weber has talked about the “Protestant work ethic” being the cause of the success of Western capitalism. If the Europeans had a better work ethic, then why did they need millions of slaves in their colonies? Perhaps Max Weber was wrong. Perhaps he had overestimated the role played by the Protestant work ethic.

In the twentieth century, the USA and Europe had to transfer much of their agriculture production to South America and Africa, and their major industries to China, Japan, and other Asian countries. Perhaps this was because the work ethic in the non-European parts of the world was better than the European work ethic. If Weber had been exposed to the culture of Asia, he would have praised the Asian work ethic.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Europe’s Four World Conquests in 300 Years

In the last 300 years, the Europeans have conquered the world four times:

—the first time through their conquistadors, imperialists, slavers, and settlers. These groups committed plunder, rapine, and genocides on an unprecedented world-historical scale. They wiped out ancient tribes, nations, and civilizations, and colonized entire continents. 

—the second time through their utopian ideologies—religious fundamentalism (crusades and other movements), monarchism, communism, capitalism, nazism, racism, and fascism. These ideologies have caused (and are still causing) wars, insurgencies, revolutions, coups, massacres, social dislocations, and cultural alienations. 

—the third time by spreading European languages—primarily English, French, and Spanish—and European cultural and political norms. 

—the fourth time through powerful Western bureaucracies. These bureaucracies include military coalitions which are armed with weapons of mass destruction (including nuclear weapons), financial institutions (banking, insurance, and currency related entities), legal institutions (the UNO, the WHO, the IMF, and the World Bank), intellectual institutions (academia, mainstream media, movie industry, and think tanks), and the digital and electronics behemoths. 

Till the seventeenth century, Europe was the world’s backwater—so for the Europeans to conquer the world four times in the last 300 years is a remarkable turnaround. However, it would be foolish to claim that in all the four instances, Europeans did everything on their own. The other civilizations have contributed massively—especially in the second, third, and fourth instances. 

The question is: Where does European civilization go from here? Their four methods of world domination have by now been exposed, countered, compromised, and captured by other civilizations. Either the Europeans will come up with a fifth way of domination or they will lose their pole position in the world.

Friday, December 17, 2021

The Failing Bureaucrat: James Bond

James Bond is loyal to the state; he has charisma; he has access to secrets; he is an expert; he has the license to kill. These qualities and powers make James Bond the ultimate Western bureaucrat. He is the mythical symbol of Western power. 

Max Weber has defined the state as an institution which claims monopoly on the use of legitimate violence within a given territory. After winning the Second World War in 1945, America inherited the legacy of the British empire. The American establishment was convinced that it was their manifest destiny to Westernize and dominate the world, through trade and diplomacy if possible, and through violent means if necessary. 

James Bond was qualified to be the hatchet man for the American and British establishments. He possessed the necessary bureaucratic and militaristic skills. Since 1945, the James Bond type of operatives have been trying to further Western geopolitical interests through such techniques: coups, revolutions, insurgencies, assassinations, political blackmail, torture, mass terror, kidnappings, and stolen elections. 

The rule of history is—no matter how badass you are, you will at some point of time encounter someone who will be nastier and tougher. In the twenty-first century, the non-Western powers have developed their own bureaucracies that are as secretive and lethal as the Western ones. The Western strategists are proving incapable of countering the rising power of the rival bureaucracies. James Bond is now a failing bureaucrat.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Empires Versus the Colonies

It has been the fate of every great empire of the past to be subjugated and destroyed by powers which were once its vassals or colonies. 

The Persian Empire was captured by its former vassals, the Macedonians (led by Alexander the Great). The Roman Empire was captured by its former vassals, a coalition of Central Asian and European barbarian tribes led by the Visigoths. The last traces of the Byzantine Empire were captured by the Ottomans, who were once the vassals of the Byzantine Emperors. The Arab movements, which ruled Southwestern Europe (the Iberian Peninsula—Spain and Portugal) for almost six hundred years (711 to 1492), were initially being supported by the Byzantine Emperors and the political establishment in Italy. The Zengid Empire was replaced by Saladin’s Ayyubid dynasty (the Zengid ruler Nur ad-Din was responsible for the rise of Saladin). Ayyubid dynasty was replaced by the forces led by their former slaves, the Mamluks, who established the powerful Mamluk dynasty. The Mongol Empire was captured by the powers that arose in their former colonies of Russia and China. The Ottoman Empire was dismembered, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, by a series of coalitions in which its former vassals and colonies played an outsized role.

In the next 50 years, the colonial powers could get colonized by the people from their former colonies. Spain, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy could be captured by the forces from North and South Africa, the Middle East, China, Russia, and even South Asia. The American Empire, which has been dominating the world since 1945, could be captured by the forces belonging to South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

A Tale of Three Currencies: Ruble, Pound, Dollar

Soon after the 1917 Revolution, which brought the Bolsheviks to power in Russia, the Ruble collapsed. For ideological reasons, Lenin and Trotsky had sabotaged the Ruble by flooding the Russian economy with a massive amount of newly printed Rubles. They believed that once the Ruble became a worthless currency, due to inflation, they would have the power to create a communist society that was free of the taint of money. They planned to replace money with a rationing system based on coupons. Every citizen would get a certain number of coupons which they could use to procure their essential needs: food, housing, clothing, education, and other things. By 1921, it became clear that a nation without money could not function, and the Bolshevik government was forced to institute a new currency system.

The British were watching the Bolshevik experiment with interest. They decided to do away with the gold standard which had hitherto governed the monetary system of the Bank of England. The Bank of England had come into being in 1694 (four years after Britain’s defeat in the Battle of Beachy Head) when a consortium of English bankers gave a loan of 1.2 million pounds to the British Monarch at 8 percent interest. In return for the loan, the bankers were granted the monopoly on issuing banknotes. The bankers now had the right to monetize and circulate the royal debt. Thus, the British pound, which was based on the gold standard, was born. It went on to become the most stable currency in the world. In 1931, the British government stopped using the gold standard, and in 1946 the Bank of England was nationalized. 

The Americans were inspired by the Soviet and British experiments with paper currency. In 1933, they partially unpegged the dollar from the gold standard. In 1971, they unpegged the dollar fully. Since then all currencies of the world have become part of the global floating fiat currency regime. The greedy British and American establishments had thought that by unpegging their currencies from the gold standard, they would be able to transfer their inflation to other countries. They had underestimated the political and financial acumen of the Asian countries. While accepting massive tranches of American and European inflation (through their paper currency), the Asian nations managed to pull in a large number of American businesses. The result was that America lost most of its industries and the Asian nations became an industrial powerhouse. 

In the third decade of the twenty-first century, the endgame of the currency wars is being played. At the center of the battle is the American dollar. Since the dollar is the world’s most heavily traded currency, the American government has little control over its value in comparison to other currencies. Since 1933, the dollar has been fluctuating freely but its long-term trend is of continuous decline. Any geopolitical or economic crisis could lead to a stampede from the dollar. The American government will not be able to stabilize their currency. The dollar will die (so will many other paper currencies), and this will mark the end of America and the West. In the last twenty years, most major economies in Asia (and even the large multinational corporations) have been making extensive preparations for a post-dollar and post-America world.

The fall of America (and the West) will create new opportunities for mankind.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The False Terminology of History and Philosophy

What is the common feature in these terms which we often encounter in history and philosophy books: “State of Nature,” “Primitive Barter Society,” “Noble Savages,” “Primitive Cannibal Society,” “Aryan Invasion,” “the Fertile Crescent,” “the Classical Age,” “the Renaissance,” “the Scientific Revolution,” “the Enlightenment,” “the Dark Continent,” “Aryan Race,” “Classical Liberal Society,” and “Capitalist Free Market.”

Answer: Each of these terms represents a myth—they represent intellectual hoaxes and geopolitical propaganda. No historian or explorer has discovered the kind of people, societies, or movements that these terms seem to represent. There is no evidence that such people, societies, or movements ever existed. In many cases, the nature of the society, movement, or cultural system is fundamentally different from the impression that the term attributed to it creates. 

When you come across such terms in any text, the questions that you ought to be asking are: Who created these terms? When did they create these terms? What was their political ideology? What was their political agenda? Why did they select this particular term? Why not some other term? Is it possible that they selected a particular term because they wanted to prejudice the reader by planting a certain kind of impression in his mind?  

Exposition of history and philosophy is not the true purpose of these terms. These terms are aimed at establishing European supremacy. European scholars created rates terms in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, because they wanted people in all parts of the world to believe that Europe was the ultimate cradle of civilization, that the Europeans were mankind’s apex achievers, and that they were fit to rule all of humanity.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Locke’s Philosophy and the Eviction of the Natives

Why did the American founders use Locke’s philosophy to develop their system of property rights? Because by using Locke’s philosophy they could make the argument that only the European population was eligible for property rights, and that the native Indians were savages who did not deserve such rights. In his Second Treatise of Government (1690), Locke has argued that property rights are derived from labor. Those who work on the land—by farming, building infrastructure, and setting up industry—have rights, and those who are living in a State of Nature have no rights. 

Here’s a line from Locke’s Second Treatise of Government: "Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labor with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property.” 

The founding fathers of America asserted that the native Indians were living in a State of Nature, since they got their essential needs through activities like forging, hunting, fishing, herding, and they were not radically transforming the landscape by building large plantations, towns, and industries. The Americans claimed that activities like forging, hunting, fishing, and herding did not amount to “mixing one’s labor with the land.” The lazy natives, the Americans argued, were not “improving landlords” who would make optimal use of the land, so they had no legal claims to own the land. Thus, the land in which the natives had lived for thousands of years was deemed vacant, and was opened up for the settlement of the rising European population.  

It was not true that the natives were lazy or were not working on the land. They were operating successful farms and fisheries for centuries before the Europeans arrived. They had built several cities the ruins of which exist till this day. They were responsible for clearing forests and building dams. All this was ignored by the American political elite—they continued to insist that the “merciless Indian savages,” who lived in a State of Nature, must be thrown out of North America and their land should be given to the European farmers and industrialists. Between 1776 to 1900 a significant part of the native population in the USA was either killed or evicted.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

The Battleground of History and Philosophy

Why is European history and philosophy so rich? Because the European governments were very rich in the last 500 years. Much of the wealth that the conquistadors and imperialists plundered from the colonies was wasted by the European governments on fighting wars, building palaces and cathedrals, and enabling a lavish and dissolute political culture. A small part of plundered booty went into building new universities and learned societies which started pursuing historical and philosophical research. The history and philosophy that these institutions pursued was intended to propagate the supremacy of the European people and their culture. 

During the age of colonialism, the European intellectuals were promoting their own history and philosophy as mankind’s apex achievement because they wanted to represent the European population as the master race. They wanted the world to believe that the Europeans had the right to rule all cultures because their past was glorious. 

25,000 years ago, the Indian subcontinent became the world’s most crowded region—about 80 precent of humanity was living here. How can anyone believe that the region where 80 percent of humanity has thrived for thousands of years had no history and culture? Such a huge population could not have survived in this region unless there was political stability. Till 1450, India and China were the world’s biggest economies. In the 17th century, the Indian economy was about 25 percent of the world economy. The legendary riches of India made it a target for invaders from the Middle East and Europe.

Much of Ancient Greek philosophy that is available today is a modernist interpretation—it was written after the seventeenth century. Greek philosophy, we are told, stands for liberty and individualism. But Ancient Greece was a slave society. In Ancient Athens 70 percent of the population was slaves and 10 percent were metics. The quality of life was so bad in Ancient Greece that there were more Greeks living in the Persian Empire than the population of Athens, Sparta, and Corinth. 

In the colonial age, the conquistadors and imperialists were not liberty-minded; they were not individualists. They were united under the banner of “One God and One Monarch.” They committed brutal genocides in several continents. They enslaved millions of people, mainly from Africa. 

Freedom and individualism have never been European values—they are non-European values. Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and all the empires of the European Middle Ages were hierarchical, tyrannical, and warlike. There was much more liberty and individualism in the native tribes of the Americas than in Europe. Most tribes of the Americas did not have a hereditary ruling class and a powerful priestly class; the tribal chiefs had little control over the tribal population. The Europeans were victorious because they were totally united, while the natives of the Americas were disunited. The natives were wild, free, and individualistic. No tribal chief could bring them together to fight the European invaders. 

In the middle of the twentieth century European colonialism came to an end and other cultures became free to pursue their own history and philosophy. The Europeans have had a 500-year head start in the area of history and philosophy. But the scholarship of other cultures has started catching up and it is becoming clear that the past of places like North Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, China, and some parts of the Americas was very complex—more complex than the history and philosophy of Europe.

Friday, December 10, 2021

The Fake Empire of Paper Currency

“The history of paper money issued by a government belongs indubitably to the Americans.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith in Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went.  

For thousands of years, money used to be “hard” (i.e., linked to gold or silver). Till the early decades of the twentieth century most nations were using some kind of hard currency. The credit for making money “soft” (i.e., fiat) goes to America. In the 1970s, American president Nixon passed a series of orders which transformed the dollar into a fiat currency. The fait dollar (the paper dollar) had the potential to accommodate unlimited borrowing at low rates and prevent corporations from going bankrupt. 

The rise of the paper dollar led to an unprecedented debt-financed boom in America and Western Europe. Some Asian and South American countries also benefited from the boom. But this boom was not based on a rise in economic productivity—it was a fake boom. It was based on massive debt that had become possible with paper currency. This debt should have led to high inflation in America, but the Americans were able to take advantage of the dollar’s status as the Global Reserve Currency to transfer a significant part of their own inflation into other economies.

In the post-gold standard world, the dollar became America’s most lucrative export. The Americans were making money by printing money. Making money by minting or printing money is the world’s oldest scam, and American capitalism prospered from this scam. While paper currency can fuel the domestic economy for a few decades, it has a pernicious impact on the nation’s values and culture.

By the end of the twentieth century it was clear that the debt culture fueled by paper currency had led to a decline in America’s work ethic and moral values. Why should the Americans work hard, take risks, and live morally, when they could make money by printing dollars and using them to raise debt from every part of the globe?  Instead of productivity, debt became the fuel of American capitalism. The Americans started believing that they could keep borrowing and spending and that the rain of paper dollars would never end.

The decline in work ethic and moral values had an impact on American wars and industry. Since 1973, the Americans have not won a single war. Their economic competitiveness has declined. The Asian countries—Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and India—have made economic progress, often at the cost of the American economy. American manufacturing and research has moved into Asian countries, and since 2008, the paper dollar has been showing signs of strain. America’s paper currency empire could collapse in 10 years.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Thatcher’s False Slogan: “There is No Alternative”

In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher popularized the slogan: “There is no alternative” (TINA). She was not the first Western politician to promulgate her own worldview as the only possible way for all of mankind. For 500 years, the West has been veritably obsessed with brainwashing people in all parts of the world to make them believe that there is no alternative to the Western way. 

When Columbus, Cortés, Pizarro, and other European conquistadors and imperialists were rampaging in the Americas, they were telling the natives something similar to what Thatcher was telling the world in the 1980s: There is no alternative to European religion and European power. When the Europeans were dragging millions of Africans across the Atlantic to labor as slaves in the American colonies, they were telling the Africans: Accept your fate because there is no alternative to slavery. When the British were expanding their dominion in India, during the eighteenth century, they were telling the Indians: There is no alternative to British rule. In the nineteenth century, the British were telling the Chinese: There is no alternative to British opium. In the 1950s, the Americans were telling the world: There is no alternative to American global bureaucracies—UNO, IMF, World Bank, GATT (WTO),  and other institutions. From 1960 till this day, the Americans have been massacring people in wars after wars to hammer home the message: There is no alternative to American capitalism. In the 1970s, when Nixon abolished the gold standard, he told the world: There is no alternative to America’s paper currency, the dollar. In the 1980s, Reagan joined Thatcher in declaring: There is no alternative to the Western way. In 1991, when the Soviet Union fell, the Western ideologues declared that the “end of history” had arrived and that henceforth there would be no alternative to Western rule.

“There is no alternative”: this Western slogan is bullshit. This slogan is totalitarian and genocidal, and it amounts to a war on imagination. The Western establishment does not want people in non-Western countries to put their imagination to work and think of a way of life that is better than the Western way. They want people everywhere to believe that the non-Western ideas just don’t work; only the Western ideas work. The truth is that the Western way is terrible and a better way is possible. There is always a better way. Once America falls, and Western power comes to an end, I am hopeful that the human imagination will become freed once again and we will be able to imagine hundreds of new systems which could be better than the Western way.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

America Versus Germany

The history of the twentieth century is generally read as a battle between America and the Soviet Union. But the greatest battle of the twentieth century was between America and Germany. By 1900, it was clear that the British Empire was dying—both America and Germany were in a race to capture the legacy and power of the British. During the Second World War, the American Machiavellians delayed allied advance through Western and Central Europe. This gave the Soviet troops the time to race through Eastern Europe and capture almost half of Germany. With Eastern Germany going under Soviet control, Western Germany was too enfeebled to challenge American hegemony. Thus, America became the sole inheritor of the British Empire—it became the leader of the West and a superpower.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

A Tale of Two Debtors: America and Haiti

“If you owe the bank a hundred thousand dollars, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank a hundred million dollars, you own the bank.” ~ the core principle of American banking. 

If we take the world as a giant bank, then America is the largest debtor of this bank. Total national debt of America is close to $27 trillion. With such a massive debt, America owns the world. When the American economy goes down the drain, which is likely to happen soon, the $27 trillion debt will be worthless and there will be an unprecedented global financial crisis. $22 trillion of the American debt is held by the public; $6 trillion is held by foreign governments. Japan holds $1.3 trillion in American debt. China holds $1.1 trillion.  

When the public and the nations buy American debt, they know that they will never get their money back. They treat the amount that they give to America as a “tribute.” The powerful empires always manage to extract tribute. The Roman Empire, the Hun Empire, the Mongol Empire—they used to demand gold and silver from their subjects and foreign governments as tribute. The only reason the foreign governments do not ask the Americans to honor their debt is because they treat these payments as “tribute” and not “debt.” 

The world is unfair. There is one law for America and another law for countries like Haiti. Haiti was founded by plantation slaves who fought for their independence against the colonial power France. They even managed to defeat the army sent by the European strongman Napoleon. Infuriated by the loss of Haiti, the French government insisted that the new republic owed it 150 million Francs for the plantations that had been expropriated from the French owners. 

The French and other European colonial powers were responsible for kidnapping millions of Africans and bringing them to Haiti and other places in the Americas to work as slaves. So many kidnapped slaves had been brought to Haiti that in 1804, when the country won its independence, about 90 percent of its population consisted of former slaves. These slaves were treated with great brutality—they were not given any legal recourse for gaining freedom. 

The sum of $150 million Francs that the French were demanding from Haiti was ten times the amount that the Americans had paid for the Louisiana purchase. The USA supported the French demand. President Jefferson was horrified by the news of slaves fighting for independence and taking control of Haiti. He feared that this kind of slave rebellion could happen in the American colonies. He worked to isolate Haiti diplomatically and politically. American ships collaborated with European ships in placing an embargo on Haiti. 

In July 1825, French King Charles X, sent warships to force Haiti to pay the amount. The American navy supported the French. To save its independence, Haiti’s fledgling government was forced to take a loan at a massive interest from a French bank. In today’s dollars, the Haitians have paid the French close to $30 billion. This was a mafia-type extortion by the French, and their European and American allies. 

Since the USA possesses a mighty military, no nation dares to send warships to American shores for placing an embargo on this country and forcing it to clear its $27 trillion debt. If any other country had borrowed trillions of dollars and wasted it on pointless wars, inflated bureaucracy, and madcap social sector schemes, as the Americans have done, by now its economy would have collapsed. Colonial imperialism came to an end in the 1940s, but financial imperialism through America continues till this day.

There is one way of ending financial imperialism: the gold standard. The biggest roadblock in the way of the gold standard is America. The Americans don’t want the gold standard because paper currency allows them to pile up debt and transfer their inflation to other countries. When there is decline in America’s military power, the world will have a chance to move towards the gold standard.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Western Warfare and Western Trade

“Trade cannot be maintained without war, nor war without trade.” ~ In this line, Jan Pieterszoon Coen, the most ruthless and successful conqueror of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the seventeenth century, has correctly identified the two pillars of Western success in the last 500 years. The two pillars are: warfare and trade. 

Since the fifteenth century, Western trade and warfare have marched together. Without genocides, enslavements, rapes, mass murders, mass evictions, drug smuggling, and destruction of whole societies—orchestrated by the European powers—the West would not have raced ahead of all other civilizations. History of the West in the last 500 years is not just a fairytale of progress; it is also a tale of barbarity and violence.   

The ideals of freedom, equality, and democracy are not the outcome of the Western philosophical tradition. Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, and Smith are not the fountainhead of Western success—ruthless imperialists like Jan Pieterszoon Coen are. Before Thomas Jefferson and other founders could announce their Declaration of Independence in 1776, the land of North America had to be conquered and tamed. Who did that? Answer: The conquistadors, enslavers, and imperialists. 

In their book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, David Graeber and David Wengrow have convincingly argued that the Europeans learned about the ideals of freedom, equality, and democracy from the colonies that they had conquered. Some of the colonies had a far better political, religious, and industrial culture than most places in Europe. The Industrial Revolution would not have happened in Britain in the eighteenth century if the British had not colonized a significant part of India.

The Age of Imperialism was over by 1950, but America continued to wage wars to preserve Western hegemony. By the 1960s, American troops were stationed in 64 countries. Between 1946 to 2015, the Americans used military force overseas more than 370 times. They were involved in coups to install puppet regimes in many countries. The American wars and coups were not for propagating democracy and free markets; they were for for cheap petroleum and for safeguarding trade interests.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Civilization Versus the Noble Savages

The words “polite,” “politics,” and “police” are derived from the Greek word “polis,” which means city-state. This implies that a polite society stands on two legs: a good political establishment and an efficient law enforcement (policing) system. The Latin equivalent of “polis” is “civitas,” from which the words “civic,” “civility,” and “civilization” are derived. 

The suppression of base instincts and freedoms is a necessary condition for the creation of a powerful society or civilization. The civilized men, those who live in a powerful society, can never be free. They must live within the framework of laws passed by the political establishment and enforced by the system of policing. The bigger or more powerful the society or civilization, the more numerous are the regulations and restrictions, the more efficient is the policing system, and greater are the constraints imposed on the citizens. 

The notion that our ideal of liberty is the product of the “people of the polis,” or the civilized people, would have surprised the Enlightenment thinkers like Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau—they believed that the savages (the noble savages) enjoyed the greatest liberty.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Spanish and the Treasures of the Americas

It took the Spanish 30 years, after Columbus arrived in the Americas in 1492, to discover the major hoards of gold and silver that the native Americans had accumulated. In 1521, the Spanish looted Tenochtitlan, the great capital city of the Aztec Empire. After that they stormed into Central America and plundered the treasures of the Chibcha of Columbia (this was probably the original El Dorado). In 1530, they arrived in Peru and captured the Inca Empire. When the major centers of population in South America had been plundered, the Spanish turned their attention to North America. 

The gold and silver that the Spanish plundered in the Americas was immediately melted and transformed into ingots, which were easier to transport by ship to Europe. They saved a few of the unusual pieces to provide the Spanish Monarchs with a view of the culture of the Americas. The chroniclers in Europe have written about the giant sun made out of gold, and the gold and silver plants, which had been taken from the garden of the Inca emperor. These and many other artifacts were melted to mint coins after they had been exhibited in front of the Spanish elite. 

The Spanish (and other European powers) took steps to keep the wealth that they were getting from the colonies a secret. But a lot of information can be gleaned from Spain’s financial records of this period. Based on these records, historians have estimated that from 1492 to 1800, between 145,000 to 165,000 tons of silver was shipped. The amount of gold shipped was between 2,739 and 2,846 tons. When the Spanish ran out of rich Indian nations to conquer, they started their mining operations. From 1500 to 1800, the mines in the Americas were providing 70 percent of the world's gold output and 85 percent of silver.

Those were the times when paper money was not introduced—so the financial impact of such massive quantities of gold and silver on the European economy was several times their monetary value. The European powers became flush with wealth which they could spend on creating new infrastructure and on improving their military and naval might.

Friday, December 3, 2021

The Fall of the West and a New Age for Mankind

“High office teaches decision making, not substance. It consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.” ~ Henry Kissinger in his book White House Years

Kissinger’s saying is true not only for individuals but also for nations. When a nation has raced past every other nation in the world, and has become a superpower, it acquires the capacity to take quick decisions on geopolitical issues but it becomes bereft of the capacity to create new intellectual capital. It loses the capacity to learn from past mistakes and its political culture becomes ossified. 

The more powerful the nation, the greater is the decline in its intellectual capabilities. Absolute power not only corrupts absolutely, it dumbs absolutely. 

A few decades as a superpower is enough to make a nation corrupt, insecure, and intellectually feeble. What kind of decisions can we expect from a superpower that is at the zenith of its power? These decisions will be of the calibre of the inept decisions that Emperor Caligula made for the Roman Empire during his reign of four years (16 March 37 – 24 January 41).

After the Second World War in 1945, America became the world’s superpower. In the same period, the country lost its capacity to create intellectual capital. The quality of American decision making has been declining since 1945. America was the architect of the worst political, economic, environmental, and medical disasters which struck the world after 1970. Instead of creating peace and prosperity, America’s decisions have led to new conflicts and tyrannies. 

The biggest nightmare for the Americans is not communism or terrorism. What they truly fear is that some non-Western nation will become more developed than the West. What they are truly after is global power. They intend to maintain Western hegemony perpetually. The foreign policy decisions that America has made after 1970 have led to disastrous outcomes, especially in the non-Western nations.

For the American establishment power is an aphrodisiac. (Kissinger has famously observed, “Power is an aphrodisiac”). While the Americans relish their aphrodisiac, their bad decisions destroy the lives of the folks in poor and developing countries.