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cashinmattress

Uks 300 Year Reign Of Resource And Wealth Extraction Terror Coming To An End?

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For 300 years Britain has outsourced mayhem. Finally it's coming home

Why now? It's not as if this is the first time Britain's representatives have been caught out. The history of governments in all countries is the history of scandal, as those who rise to the top are generally the most ambitious, ruthless and unscrupulous people politics can produce. Pushing their own interests to the limit, they teeter perennially on the brink of disgrace, except when they fly clean over the edge. So why does the current ballyhoo threaten to destroy not only the government but also our antediluvian political system?

The past 15 years have produced the cash-for-questions racket, the Hinduja and Ecclestone affairs, the lies and fabrications that led to the invasion of Iraq, the forced abandonment of the BAE corruption probe, the cash-for-honours caper and the cash-for-amendments scandal. By comparison to the outright subversion of the functions of government in some of these cases, the is small beer. Any one of them should have prompted the sweeping political reforms we are now debating. But they didn't.

The expenses scandal, by contrast, could kill the Labour party. It might also force politicians of all parties to address our unjust voting system, the unelected Lords, the excessive power of the executive, the legalised blackmail used by the whips, and a score of further anachronisms and injustices. Why is it different?

I believe that the current political crisis has little to do with the expenses scandal, still less with Gordon Brown's leadership. It arises because our economic system can no longer extract wealth from other nations. For the past 300 years, the revolutions and reforms experienced by almost all other developed countries have been averted in Britain by foreign remittances.

The social unrest that might have transformed our politics was instead outsourced to our colonies and unwilling trading partners. The rebellions in Ireland, India, China, the Caribbean, Egypt, South Africa, Malaya, Kenya, Iran and other places we subjugated were the price of political peace in Britain. After decolonisation, our plunder of other nations was sustained by the banks. Now, for the first time in three centuries, they can no longer deliver, and we must at last confront our problems.

There will probably never be a full account of the robbery this country organised, but there are a few snapshots. In his book Capitalism and Colonial Production, Hamza Alavi estimates that the resource flow from India to Britain between 1793 and 1803 was in the order of £2m a year, the equivalent of many billions today. The economic drain from India, he notes, "has not only been a major factor in India's impoverishment … it has also been a very significant factor in the industrial revolution in Britain". As Ralph Davis observes in The Industrial Revolution and British Overseas Trade, from the 1760s onwards India's wealth "bought the national debt back from the Dutch and others … leaving Britain nearly free from overseas indebtedness when it came to face the great French wars from 1793".

In France by contrast, as Eric Hobsbawm notes in The Age of Revolution, "the financial troubles of the monarchy brought matters to a head". In 1788 half of France's national expenditure was used to service its debt: the "American War and its debt broke the back of the monarchy".

Even as the French were overthrowing the ancien regime, Britain's landed classes were able to strengthen their economic power, seizing common property from the country's poor by means of enclosure. Partly as a result of remittances from India and the Caribbean, the economy was booming and the state had the funds to ride out political crises. Later, after smashing India's own industrial capacity, Britain forced that country to become a major export market for our manufactured goods, sustaining industrial employment here (and avoiding social unrest) long after our products and processes became uncompetitive.

Colonial plunder permitted the British state to balance its resource deficits as well. For some 200 years a river of food flowed into this country from such places as Ireland, India and the Caribbean. In The Blood Never Dried, John Newsinger reveals that in 1748 Jamaica alone sent 17,400 tons of sugar to Britain; by 1815 this had risen to 73,800. It was all produced by stolen labour.

Just as grain was sucked out of Ireland at the height of its great famine, so Britain continued to drain India of food during its catastrophic hungers. In Late Victorian Holocausts, Mike Davis shows that between 1876 and 1877 wheat exports to the UK from India doubled as subsistence there collapsed, and several million died of starvation. In the North-Western provinces famine was wholly engineered by British policy, as good harvests were exported to offset poor English production in 1876 and 1877.

Britain, in other words, outsourced famine as well as social unrest. There was terrible poverty in this country in the second half of the 19th century, but not mass starvation. The bad harvest of 1788 helped precipitate the French revolution, but the British state avoided such hazards. Others died on our behalf.

In the late 19th century, Davis shows, Britain's vast deficits with the United States, Germany and its white dominions were balanced by huge annual surpluses with India and (as a result of the opium trade) China. For a generation "the starving Indian and Chinese peasantries … braced the entire system of international settlements, allowing England's continued financial supremacy to temporarily co-exist with its relative industrial decline". Britain's trade surpluses with India allowed the City to become the world's financial capital.

Its role in British colonisation was not a passive one. The bankruptcy, and subsequent British takeover, of Egypt in 1882 was hastened by a loan from Roths­child's bank whose execution, Newsinger records, amounted to "fraud on a massive scale". ­Jardine Matheson, once the biggest narco-trafficking outfit in history (it dominated the Chinese opium trade), later formed a major investment bank, Jardine Fleming. It was taken over by JP Morgan Chase in 2000.

We lost our colonies, but the plunder has continued by other means. As Joseph Stiglitz shows in Globalisation and its Discontents, the capital liberalisation forced on Asian economies by the IMF permitted northern traders to loot hundreds of billions of dollars, precipitating the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Poorer nations have also been strong-armed into a series of amazingly one-sided treaties and commitments, such as trade-related investment measures, bilateral investment agreements and the EU's economic partnership agreements. If you have ever wondered how a small, densely populated country which produces very little supports itself, I would urge you to study these asymmetric arrangements.

But now, as John Lanchester demonstrates in a fascinating essay in the London Review of Books, the City could be fatally wounded. The nation that relied on financial services may take generations to recover from their collapse. The great British adventure – three centuries spent pillaging the labour, wealth and resources of other countries – is over. We cannot accept this, and seek gleeful revenge on a government that can no longer insulate us from reality.

Comments?

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Viva la revolution!

(can anybody in the UK be bothered with it?)

Edited by wise_eagle

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While the drain of capital from India to Britain in c18th happened, wasn't it also the case that the city invested huge sums in India, dwarfing investment in UK industry? Outsourcing didnt start in 1997.

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Good article albeit very linear, not entirely sure the masses of the UK have been the beneficiaries of such actions or that rebellions have been a success in other nations. There is a also a strong sense of socialist moralistic hegemonics in this article as if the world is somehow equally created and would be unified and happy if the "Anglo American" cartels were smashed. Completely ignoring the actions in other nations histories and the suppression and enslavement of their own peoples, including those using the same ideologue espoused by the author. Take slavery for instance, much more complex than simply white man takes black man. I do get fed up with this moral crusading using the truth, they are the same as the people they criticize and its crap like this that keeps the whole thing alive. Facts mixed with selective ideologics is still not the truth. :unsure:

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Its by Monbiot, a man whose self loathing, and loathing of the British generally, is well known. I would therefore be disinclined to believe a word of it.

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Bankers

link

The charade/con-game actually began in 1694 when the Bank of England was granted the

right to issue England’s coinage in the form of paper money. This paper money was

declared to be as good as gold or silver coins. Of course, it wasn’t; but in the beginning it

was much better than it was to be later.

Previous to 1694 the bankers were known as goldsmiths who profited by charging

interest on the loaning of gold and silver coins. After 1694, the goldsmiths, now called

bankers, profited by charging interest on the loaning of paper money, and thus the true

alchemy of modern finance was born.

The substitution of paper “money†for gold and the charging of interest on such “moneyâ€

is the secret of the banker’s wealth. It is also the secret of capitalism as it is the process

whereby bankers’ indebt others (businesses, consumers, governments, etc.) through the

loaning of paper “money†created by central banks resulting in paper IOUs, IOUs which

are then resold as investments to savers, savers being all who need to protect the value of

their paper “money†from eroding because of the constant inflation of the paper money

supply by bankers.

That such a system has lasted over three hundred years is extraordinary; but it was not

until the 20th century when the linkage between paper money and gold began to fail that

the problems inherent in paper money systems became more apparent.

England, the major recipient and beneficiary of the banker’s paper money for the

previous two hundred years, had been very careful to maintain the fiction that paper

money was as good as gold or silver. But in the next century, the 20th, the US the

surrogate successor to England, was to be far less considerate of the considerable and

questionable “gift†bequeathed to it by England’s bankers.

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Its by Monbiot, a man whose self loathing, and loathing of the British generally, is well known. I would therefore be disinclined to believe a word of it.

Quite. This is Moonbat Monbiot. In fact soon as I read the first paragraph I knew its author without having to go to the grauniad to find out.

I mean, he's quoting unbacked assertions by Eric Hobsbawm of all people to support his argument, tantamount to saying what Leon Trotsky wrote is unassailable fact. If I wrote an article and said "Gregor Strasser the Nazi theorists said this" would you give my argument the time of day? Why treat this moonbattery any differently.

He's a complete prat. It was known even to the 19th century imperialists themselves that the Empire cost more than it brought in. Hence why Benjamin Disraeli said "Empire for Empires sake", and Kaiser Bill wanted "Our place in the sun". It was about prestige, not cash.

And now he's twittering on about how we're continuing to impoverish the third world? Really. So is India circa 1950 worse or better than it is now? Is Hong Kong? Is China?

:rolleyes:

He's a loon.

Edited by EUBanana

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comments?

er - the strong take from the weak?

evolution in action?

survival of the fittest?

All of the above. Might is right, in the end.

Strength and power are what gets you ahead.

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I can't see anything wrong with the article - he hits the nail on the head over and over and over again. Britain's record in the colonies is one of pure criminality, with episodes of genocide for good measure. Sickening.

Edited by gruffydd

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I can't see anything wrong with the article - he hits the nail on the head over and over and over again. Britain's record in the colonies is one of pure criminality, with episodes of genocide for good measure. Sickening.

Please provide your sources for checking.

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The great British adventure – three centuries spent pillaging the labour, wealth and resources of other countries – is over. We cannot accept this, and seek gleeful revenge on a government that can no longer insulate us from reality.

So the government don't run the country after all.

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The logical error in the original article is that countries that don't have 300 years of resource exploitation through colonialism, such as Iceland, Hungary, Ireland and the Baltic States, are also seeing their banking sectors collapsing.

It's just tacking a contemporary phenomenon onto one of your favourite hobby horses.

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there are links at the bottom to wars of Great Britain and wars of United Kingdom.

knock yourself out.

So why didn't you post those then?

And whilst we're at it, it's "cite documentary evidence for "Britain's record in the colonies is one of pure criminality, with episodes of genocide for good measure."" we're after here, not a wikipedia page on wars.

I fully accept that dreadful things have happened in the past, far too many of them, even more so when looked at through a retrospect-a-scope. I am not, however, convinced that Britain behaved in a systematically criminal and genocidal manner throughout the empire, and no one has yet been able to demonstrate to me that this country did when I have challenged them to.

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So why didn't you post those then?

And whilst we're at it, it's "cite documentary evidence for "Britain's record in the colonies is one of pure criminality, with episodes of genocide for good measure."" we're after here, not a wikipedia page on wars.

I fully accept that dreadful things have happened in the past, far too many of them, even more so when looked at through a retrospect-a-scope. I am not, however, convinced that Britain behaved in a systematically criminal and genocidal manner throughout the empire, and no one has yet been able to demonstrate to me that this country did when I have challenged them to.

apr400 has a very powerful tactic in arguments.

He asks questions you cant be bothered to answer. The answers would be so long and so boring, you are beaten into submission or silence or even both. I use the same tactic with my Wife.

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So why didn't you post those then?

And whilst we're at it, it's "cite documentary evidence for "Britain's record in the colonies is one of pure criminality, with episodes of genocide for good measure."" we're after here, not a wikipedia page on wars.

I fully accept that dreadful things have happened in the past, far too many of them, even more so when looked at through a retrospect-a-scope. I am not, however, convinced that Britain behaved in a systematically criminal and genocidal manner throughout the empire, and no one has yet been able to demonstrate to me that this country did when I have challenged them to.

Hmm, colonialism isn't pretty when practised by anyone.

However if the anti-Brits put away their bigotry they will note that ex-Brit colonies have generally fared better than ex-colonies of other powers. There are some very nasty exceptions I agree, mostly created by ignorant mapmakers.

People seem to think that the choice was between being a Brit colony and living a happy independent peaceful idyll ever after - it wasn't.

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killing people is a crime

theft is a crime.

It depends.

At the time, we were simply superior to most of the parts of the world that we colonised, therefore we had the right to colonise them.

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