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Old 01-26-2020, 09:06 AM
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Empire equals theft, how?


This motif crops up from time to time in discussions I read and it got me wondering, whilst there are instances of theft from native populations due to unequal treaties, how is it theft if the empire in question was the government body and was responsible for the area it controlled?
Also, it's not as if the resources of that area would not have been exploited by people in said country for the same purpose, so how is it any worse?
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:18 AM
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"the government body and was responsible for the area it controlled?"

By what authority does it control the area?
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:19 AM
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1. Who appointed/elected them as government in the first place?

2. Who should decide what is the best use of resources in any given area, to whose benefit?

3. What happens to the value extracted from this resources, and who should decide that?

4. Who should decide on future development of the economy and public services in any given area?
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:25 AM
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"the government body and was responsible for the area it controlled?"

By what authority does it control the area?
It depends on the context and circumstances, you get places which are outright conquered, and others where they're invited to set up shop as long as the native ruling class gets its dues.
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:34 AM
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PatrickLondon
1. Who appointed/elected them as government in the first place?
Native governments can be worse than the imperial one which replaces it.

Quote:
2. Who should decide what is the best use of resources in any given area, to whose benefit?
What if that resource is only available due to imperial financing of research into extracting it?

Quote:
3. What happens to the value extracted from this resources, and who should decide that?
The people who put in the capital and labour to extract the resources should be compensated for the effort they put in, and the decision again, is based on the premise an elite in the society wouldn't do the same thing as an empire based company.

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4. Who should decide on future development of the economy and public services in any given area?
All highly dependent on circumstance
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:41 AM
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Well do you consider the Viking raids or that of the Huns to be just lawful gathering, I'm sure they did. Sure we can legalize forms of what is obviously theft, even if we legally exclude that activity as theft (as a piece of turd by any other name would smell as sweet).

As for if the natives would do the same, I think we have some evidence that it would not. Some gold rich countries have denied other countries mining privileges even though the country stands to get a substantial income from it while it lasts. But the local population pans for gold by hand, and has no desire to do any modern mining as that is also for future generations.
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Old 01-26-2020, 10:09 AM
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Ryan,

The argument - extortion of my neighbors' property creates an entitlement to recover my costs - is not relevant to the OP.

The OP poses two issues - is it theft and a value judgement of the quality of government.

Were the governments of central America worse than that of Spain? I don't see much difference between them. Both engaged in war, torture and religious human sacrifice. Both were orderly, god fearing societies. The only difference is that the Spanish deported resources while the Aztecs used them locally.

By what authority did Spain control central America?
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Old 01-26-2020, 10:19 AM
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Upon Consideration


The Spanish decimated the population with small pox then enslaved the remainder to remove all the silver and gold thus impoverishing the country for centuries.

Perhaps Spain is now entitled to recover it's costs.
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:03 PM
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The Spanish decimated the population with small pox then enslaved the remainder to remove all the silver and gold thus impoverishing the country for centuries.
But smallpox wasn't by design, that was merely by contact.
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:40 PM
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Hello uncivilized native person, we have decided that it is in your best interest to be part of our empire, and we hope that our large numbers or ships and guns, and most importantly our flag will convince you that we are correct in our belief. As superior beings it is our solemn duty to turn you unwashed heathens into civilized laborers. In exchange for saving your souls and enlightening you to the greatness of our culture, is all of your mineral and ecological wealth, which you weren't using anyway, and as a measure of our benevolence we have allowed you to extract for us. Do we have a deal? Yes? Good. Now bring me a cool drink, this white man's burden does raise a frightful thirst.

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Old 01-26-2020, 03:06 PM
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... Also, it's not as if the resources of that area would not have been exploited by people in said country for the same purpose, so how is it any worse?
I often invest several minutes to Google out articles that will refute an erroneous view like this.

But in this case, your claim is too absurd to waste a Google. Read about the British deliberately turning the Chinese into opium addicts so the Brits could profit with opium sales. Read about the Belgian Congo.

Recall the Spanish galleons in the Atlantic loaded with gold and silver: Were they sailing westward or eastward? Closer to the 20th century U.S., read about the United Fruit Company.

If I were to waste a Google I might link you to a paper showing that most of the Indian subcontinent was held to a food level just enough to prevent starvation while Britons profited.

Does any of this help?
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Old 01-26-2020, 03:45 PM
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Ryan,

Oh, small pox was just a spill over cost. Like the remnants of uranium mining on the Navajo reservation.

"how is it theft if the empire in question was the government body and was responsible for the area it controlled?"

Sorry to be repetitious, but by what authority did your 'empire' become responsible for the area? Spain/Mexico? Certainly not by discovery - the Mexicans had already discovered it.

It was obviously theft for the Cherokee to be removed from their privately owned houses, farms and stores. Not naked savages. Just folks like us.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:20 PM
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Ryan,

Oh, small pox was just a spill over cost. Like the remnants of uranium mining on the Navajo reservation.
But smallpox would have happened anyway if it was just limited to contact and trading and not colonisation.

Quote:
Sorry to be repetitious, but by what authority did your 'empire' become responsible for the area? Spain/Mexico? Certainly not by discovery - the Mexicans had already discovered it.
They conquered the other empires in the area and therefore became responsible for the areas they previously governed, with the added situation of the area being depopulated due to no immunity against diseases from the old world.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:29 PM
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Hello uncivilized native person, we have decided that it is in your best interest to be part of our empire, and we hope that our large numbers or ships and guns, and most importantly our flag will convince you that we are correct in our belief. As superior beings it is our solemn duty to turn you unwashed heathens into civilized laborers. In exchange for saving your souls and enlightening you to the greatness of our culture, is all of your mineral and ecological wealth, which you weren't using anyway, and as a measure of our benevolence we have allowed you to extract for us. Do we have a deal? Yes? Good. Now bring me a cool drink, this white man's burden does raise a frightful thirst.
Made me think of this:

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"The usual example given to illustrate an Outside Context Problem was imagining you were a tribe on a largish, fertile island; you'd tamed the land, invented the wheel or writing or whatever, the neighbors were cooperative or enslaved but at any rate peaceful and you were busy raising temples to yourself with all the excess productive capacity you had, you were in a position of near-absolute power and control which your hallowed ancestors could hardly have dreamed of and the whole situation was just running along nicely like a canoe on wet grass... when suddenly this bristling lump of iron appears sailless and trailing steam in the bay and these guys carrying long funny-looking sticks come ashore and announce you've just been discovered, you're all subjects of the Emperor now, he's keen on presents called tax and these bright-eyed holy men would like a word with your priests."
Of course there were many types of empires. If the empire is taking resources from the absorbed or conquered areas and using it for themselves, it sounds a lot like theft.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:36 PM
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The Spanish decimated the population with small pox then enslaved the remainder to remove all the silver and gold thus impoverishing the country for centuries.

Perhaps Spain is now entitled to recover it's costs.
The Spanish government actually made this argument. (Not about the smallpox, which as noted was seen as unconnected with the Spanish arrival.) Their reasoning was that they were delivering Christianity to the Native Americans. The gold, silver, and forced labor which the Spanish collected was worth far less than the eternal salvation which they were giving.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:55 PM
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Native governments can be worse than the imperial one which replaces it.

What if that resource is only available due to imperial financing of research into extracting it?

The people who put in the capital and labour to extract the resources should be compensated for the effort they put in, and the decision again, is based on the premise an elite in the society wouldn't do the same thing as an empire based company.

All highly dependent on circumstance
I basically agree it depends. The assumed example is European empires, which introduces a personal/emotional aspect for many people of European descent who feel strong pressure in their social circles to condemn their culture's past by and large.

Let's eliminate that by sticking to non European (or 'non-white') empires as examples. In which case I think it would indeed depend. Empires could indeed bring more advanced knowledge and forms of organization. Also the ability to protect and enforce order. I don't think you can say as a hard rule than no subject people was ever better off under an empire.

And talking about 'whose legal right' to the resources and 'theft' is kind of silly over history in general. One primitive people that controlled a given area with valuable resources might just as easily have driven off/bumped off another primitive but perhaps less warlike people who lived in the same area quite recently before the empire arrived.

Obviously there were many cases where empires were heavy on coercion and light on providing any real benefit to subject peoples. Some largely eliminated subject peoples (either deliberately or through less deliberate spread of disease). But I don't think you can say that no empire was ever beneficial for a subject people compared to the real alternatives at the time.
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:36 PM
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The question of the OP is: how is empire theft.

Answer: It is taking of property without legal title.

That is why I'm asking by whose authority did the empire gain control? If by invasion, it was theft. If by legal documents made outside of the country involved, it is theft. If by arbitrary exercise of authority (Jackson) it is theft. Maybe that's OK, but it is still theft.
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryan_Liam View Post
Native governments can be worse than the imperial one which replaces it.
Does that in some way intersect with the definition of "theft"? No, it does not


Quote:
What if that resource is only available due to imperial financing of research into extracting it?
Well, if you don't want to be thieves you make them a business offer.

Last edited by CarnalK; 01-26-2020 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 01-26-2020, 07:17 PM
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Yesterday was Australia Day here. It celebrates the white settlement of the country on that date in 1788.

However descendants of the people living here at the time see it slightly differently - Invasion Day protests held across nation and in London to challenge Australia Day date.
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Old 01-26-2020, 07:27 PM
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The legal argument seems weak in cases like this. As the OP noted, a government has the power to make any act legal just by declaring it so.

I feel a more useful standard for deciding what is right and wrong is reversibility. If a government is deciding whether an act directed at another country is right or wrong it should ask itself what its response would be if some hypothetical third country was directing the same act against them.

So if a country is thinking about taking over another country and is telling itself, "We're not doing anything so bad. Sure, we'll be running things in that country and taking out their raw materials but we're going to be helping them to develop into a better place. They'll actually benefit from us taking over." they should ask themselves if they would be okay with more advanced country taking over their country for the same reasons.
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Old 01-26-2020, 07:34 PM
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Yesterday was Australia Day here. It celebrates the white settlement of the country on that date in 1788.
Under the legal theory of "terra nullius" - i.e. "We took this land because there were no people here - those natives don't count as people."
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:37 PM
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The Spanish decimated the population with small pox then enslaved the remainder to remove all the silver and gold thus impoverishing the country for centuries.

Perhaps Spain is now entitled to recover it's costs.
Was the empire they took it from any better? The Aztecs, for example, weren't squeamish about conquering, enslaving, and murdering members of other tribes and city-states, many of which had themselves grown rich by conquering, enslaving, and murdering members of other tribes and city-states ... it may be turtles all the way down. Who really owned the silver and gold? (The Spanish exported the minerals across the ocean, but the Aztecs didn't necessarily "use them locally" either; the Aztecs' reach was less, but they were still exporting the gold from places such as Oaxaca to the Valley of Mexico.)
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:54 PM
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The Spanish decimated the population with small pox then .....
Well, not on purpose.

Pretty much every square inch of populated land has been stolen over & over and over.


Note that the Aztecs were a slaver empire, based about stealing land, people and gold from their neighbors. So were the Incans. Both also committing massive acts of human sacrifice, often with children .
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Old 01-26-2020, 10:19 PM
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slash2k,

Cortes describes Tenochititlan as a beautiful orderly city, full of art and commerce. They did engage in the same militarism as Europeans and they liked their human sacrifice by cutting out hearts, while the Spanish preferred burning at the stake. I don't see Spain as politically superior. Spain walked away with all the gold, silver and squandered it in less than a hundred years.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:13 AM
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slash2k,

Cortes describes Tenochititlan as a beautiful orderly city, full of art and commerce. They did engage in the same militarism as Europeans and they liked their human sacrifice by cutting out hearts, while the Spanish preferred burning at the stake. I don't see Spain as politically superior. Spain walked away with all the gold, silver and squandered it in less than a hundred years.
Were the Aztecs politically (or morally) superior to the Spaniards, however, or otherwise "deserved" to have gold and silver and gems taken from other groups?

As to "squandering" gold, what did it do to/for the Aztec economy when they sacrificed a wolf cub, adorned the body with pendants and pectoral armor, and then buried it all?
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:19 AM
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The question of the OP is: how is empire theft.

Answer: It is taking of property without legal title.

That is why I'm asking by whose authority did the empire gain control? If by invasion, it was theft. If by legal documents made outside of the country involved, it is theft. If by arbitrary exercise of authority (Jackson) it is theft. Maybe that's OK, but it is still theft.
This, all of this.
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:21 AM
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Was the empire they took it from any better? The Aztecs, for example, weren't squeamish about conquering, enslaving, and murdering members of other tribes and city-states, many of which had themselves grown rich by conquering, enslaving, and murdering members of other tribes and city-states ... it may be turtles all the way down. Who really owned the silver and gold? (The Spanish exported the minerals across the ocean, but the Aztecs didn't necessarily "use them locally" either; the Aztecs' reach was less, but they were still exporting the gold from places such as Oaxaca to the Valley of Mexico.)
The Spanish didn't just conquer the Aztecs. They conquered all those other peoples too. So that doesn't make them any better.
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:50 AM
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how is it theft if the empire in question was the government body and was responsible for the area it controlled?
As others have pointed out - only the governing body because they say so...
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Also, it's not as if the resources of that area would not have been exploited by people in said country for the same purpose, so how is it any worse?
Read about the metropole vs hinterland, and then come back if you still have this question as to why it's worse.

Personally, I've never come across any justification for imperialism that wasn't grounded in some racist theory like environmental determinism, Orientalism, Manifest Destiny, mission civilisatrice, The White Man's Burden, etc. Even Rome used this line of thinking. Maybe some of the Classical empires didn't - Persia, Egypt - but if they did, it wouldn't surprise me.
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:34 AM
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Well, I think the answer is "depends" on a number of factors:
What is the geographic nature of the region? A contiguous province of the main empire? Some far-flung distant colony?
For the specific region in question, how much say did they have in being annexed into the Empire? Ranging from a political union entered into willingly to a conquered and occupied state.
What is the relationship with the indigenous inhabitants? Were they displaced or wiped out? Are they considered second class citizens? Full citizens of the Empire with all the rights and privileges that entails?
How much representation does that region have in overall governance? Are they autonomous? A vassal state, dictated to by some central authority?
How much financial benefit do they receive from the Empire, relative to their economic contribution?

To a great extent, the empires of Alexander the Great, Rome, Britain, China and others did provide benefits such as roads and other infrastructure, trade, and political stability. Although it was usually under the terms of the empire.
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Old 01-27-2020, 05:00 AM
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Hello uncivilized native person, we have decided that it is in your best interest to be part of our empire, and we hope that our large numbers or ships and guns, and most importantly our flag will convince you that we are correct in our belief. As superior beings it is our solemn duty to turn you unwashed heathens into civilized laborers. In exchange for saving your souls and enlightening you to the greatness of our culture, is all of your mineral and ecological wealth, which you weren't using anyway, and as a measure of our benevolence we have allowed you to extract for us. Do we have a deal? Yes? Good. Now bring me a cool drink, this white man's burden does raise a frightful thirst.
and that was the attitude of the old world to the new in a nutshell espically the British towards africa and india
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:29 AM
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To a great extent, the empires of Alexander the Great, Rome, Britain, China and others did provide benefits such as roads and other infrastructure, trade, and political stability. Although it was usually under the terms of the empire.
...and serves primarily to better remove goods from the periphery to the core. So not just the terms, but to the benefit of...

If aliens came along yesterday and cured all disease and world hunger, but their only reason for doing so was that they didn't want to eat diseased or underweight meat, would you say "well, at least they cured disease and hunger" as the alien chefs seasoned and basted you? No, you would not.

The "benefits" of Empire serve the core. Always.
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:12 AM
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Were the Aztecs politically (or morally) superior to the Spaniards, however, or otherwise "deserved" to have gold and silver and gems taken from other groups?

As to "squandering" gold, what did it do to/for the Aztec economy when they sacrificed a wolf cub, adorned the body with pendants and pectoral armor, and then buried it all?
Well, someone had to mine the gold and get paid for it. Someone got paid to either capture the wolf or raise it.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:01 AM
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I’m confused; Ryan_Liam, are you arguing that if a conquering group improves the lives of the conquered, then the seizure of power and property is not theft?
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:12 AM
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It depends on the context and circumstances, you get places which are outright conquered, and others where they're invited to set up shop as long as the native ruling class gets its dues.
What the actual fuck?

You're asking how it's theft for a country to conquer an area and then take all their natural resources for the benefit of the home populace? You're arguing it isn't theft because the invading country has the right to the resources because they're the government in the area (because they killed those that resisted)?
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:25 AM
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Well, someone had to mine the gold and get paid for it. Someone got paid to either capture the wolf or raise it.
No, actually, a lot of that kind of work in the Aztec empire was done by slaves, same as in the empire that followed. I guess their "payment" was being allowed to live another day.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:09 PM
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Was the empire they took it from any better? The Aztecs, for example, weren't squeamish about conquering, enslaving, and murdering members of other tribes and city-states, many of which had themselves grown rich by conquering, enslaving, and murdering members of other tribes and city-states ... it may be turtles all the way down. Who really owned the silver and gold? (The Spanish exported the minerals across the ocean, but the Aztecs didn't necessarily "use them locally" either; the Aztecs' reach was less, but they were still exporting the gold from places such as Oaxaca to the Valley of Mexico.)
But that's a different question than the OP. If I hold up a mob boss's poker game at gunpoint, I may be taking ill gotten gains, but I'm still stealing.

It isn't as if after the Spaniards overthrew they Aztecs, they liberated the people the Aztecs had conquered.
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Old 01-27-2020, 01:05 PM
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The Spanish didn't just conquer the Aztecs. They conquered all those other peoples too. So that doesn't make them any better.
Not any better, no. But no worse, either.

If you steal from a thief are you a thief?
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:05 PM
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If you steal from a thief are you a thief?
Yes. The big clue there is the word "steal".
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:34 PM
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Here are some numbers to put the theft in context :

1. “ In 1600, when the East India Company was established, Britain was producing just 1.8% of the world’s GDP, while India was generating some 23% (27% by 1700). By 1940, after nearly two centuries of the Raj, Britain accounted for nearly 10% of world GDP, while India had been reduced to a poor “third-world” country, destitute and starving, a global poster child of poverty and famine.”

Cite : https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ys-myths-gifts

2. “ How much money did Britain take away from India? About $45 trillion in 173 years, says top economist”

Cite : https://m.businesstoday.in/story/thi.../1/292352.html

And that’s just the British. Let’s not forget the French, the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Spanish ...... pillaging
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:22 PM
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am77494 1. “ In 1600, when the East India Company was established, Britain was producing just 1.8% of the world’s GDP, while India was generating some 23% (27% by 1700). By 1940, after nearly two centuries of the Raj, Britain accounted for nearly 10% of world GDP
That's more to do with the Industrial revolution than anything else.

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Eonwe
I’m confused; Ryan_Liam, are you arguing that if a conquering group improves the lives of the conquered, then the seizure of power and property is not theft?
No, I'm saying how if the empire, which is the government and has responsibility of the territory, stealing resources when a hypothetical ruling class native to that area would have done exactly the same thing, or the hypothetical ruling class would not have discovered the resources or lacked the capital or know how to exploit them themselves in the first place.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:37 PM
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Seems like a lot of text for "might makes right".
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:01 PM
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1. "In 1600, when the East India Company was established, Britain was producing just 1.8% of the world’s GDP, while India was generating some 23% (27% by 1700). By 1940, after nearly two centuries of the Raj, Britain accounted for nearly 10% of world GDP, while India had been reduced to a poor “third-world” country, destitute and starving, a global poster child of poverty and famine."
How much of that increase in Britain's GDP was due to the Industrial Revolution, and would India have had a comparable Industrial Revolution during the same timeframe if the British had never come?

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Originally Posted by am77494 View Post
2. “ How much money did Britain take away from India? About $45 trillion in 173 years, says top economist”

Cite : https://m.businesstoday.in/story/thi.../1/292352.html
That top economist goes on to say:

Quote:
"Between 1765 and 1938, the drain amounted to 9.2 trillion pounds ($45 trillion), taking India's export surplus earnings as the measure, and compounding it at a 5 per cent rate of interest," Patnaik said during an interview with Mint.
Currently, 9.2 trillion pounds is not even close to $45 trillion (it's about a quarter of that), and it hasn't been in many years. How is she assigning value, and what rates of exchange is she using? Why did she choose 5%, instead of 4 or 6 or any other arbitrary value? Is it 9.2 trillion as of 1938, or 2018, or some other date?

Last edited by slash2k; 01-27-2020 at 09:01 PM. Reason: fixed quoting
  #43  
Old 01-27-2020, 09:12 PM
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No, I'm saying how if the empire, which is the government and has responsibility of the territory, stealing resources when a hypothetical ruling class native to that area would have done exactly the same thing, or the hypothetical ruling class would not have discovered the resources or lacked the capital or know how to exploit them themselves in the first place.
I don't think that's the case with an empire. Empires are when a region is ruled by some outside country. So the imperial regime has no incentive to spend resources in the colony; they just want to ship wealth out of the colony and back to the home country.

A native regime doesn't have any reason to ship wealth away; it's already there in the native regime's home country. Even if the native regime is greedy and collects a lot of wealth from their population, they're going to spend that wealth locally and essentially recycle it back into the local economy.

And a native regime is going to have some concern for the country they're ruling; the survival of the regime is tied to the country it's ruling. So there are practical limits to how badly they can abuse the country.

An outside imperial regime doesn't face that concern. They can trash the colony with the knowledge that their power base is safe and secure back in their home country.
  #44  
Old 01-28-2020, 01:07 AM
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That's more to do with the Industrial revolution than anything else.
There wouldn't have been an Industrial Revolution centred on England without Indian cotton. You have cause and effect mixed up.
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Old 01-28-2020, 02:05 AM
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There wouldn't have been an Industrial Revolution centred on England without Indian cotton. You have cause and effect mixed up.
No, Indian raw cotton didn't hit the English market in quantity until later into the 19th century. When the Industrial Revolution began in the 1760s and 70s, three-quarters of the raw cotton imported into England came from the West Indies; later in the century, Brazil and, by 1800, the United States overtook them.
  #46  
Old 01-28-2020, 02:25 AM
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No, Indian raw cotton didn't hit the English market in quantity until later into the 19th century.
Not the raw cotton. The quality manufactured cotton the English worked to replace.
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Old 01-28-2020, 03:10 AM
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Not the raw cotton. The quality manufactured cotton the English worked to replace.
I don't think I understand your argument. There wouldn't have been an Industrial Revolution if England wasn't working to replace Indian cotton? Then why didn't India have an Industrial Revolution even earlier, to produce the cotton in the first place?
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Old 01-28-2020, 03:44 AM
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I don't think I understand your argument. There wouldn't have been an Industrial Revolution if England wasn't working to replace Indian cotton? Then why didn't India have an Industrial Revolution even earlier, to produce the cotton in the first place?
Have you ever wondered why the British went first to East India and called them the East India Company ? The spices were in South India but the best cotton and fabrics were in East India viz-a-viz Bengal.

I reproduce part of a page from: A Quiet Violence: View from a Bangladesh Village, By Betsy Hartmann (BA Yale and PhD from LSE) and James K. Boyce (Economist from U of Mass, Amherst) : (Bolding mine).

"European traders — first the Portuguese in the 16th Century, and later the Dutch, French and English — were lured to eastern Bengal above all by its legendary cotton textile industry, which ranked among the greatest industries of the world. After the British East India Company wrested control of Bengal from its Muslim rulers in 1757, the line between trade and outright plunder faded. In the words of an English merchant, 'Various and innumerable are the methods of oppressing the poor weavers . such as by fines, imprisonments, floggings, forcing bonds from them, etc. '6 By means of 'every conceivable form of roguery', the Company's merchants acquired the weavers' cloth for a fraction of its value.

Ironically, the profits from the lucrative trade in Bengali textiles helped to finance Britain's industrial revolution. As their own mechanized textile industry developed, the British eliminated competition from Bengali textiles through an elaborate network of restrictions and prohibitive duties. Not only were Indian textiles effectively shut out of the British market, but even within India, taxes discriminated against local cloth. According to popular legend, the British cut off the thumbs of the weavers in order to destroy their craft. The decimation of local industry brought great hardship to the Bengali people. In 1835 the Governor- General of the East India Company reported to London: 'The misery hardly finds a parallel in the history of commerce. The bones of the cotton-weavers are bleaching the plains of India.

The population of eastern Bengal's cities declined as the weavers were thrown back to the land. Sir Charles Trevelyan of the East India Com- pany filed this report in 1840:

The peculiar kind of silky cotton formerly grown in Bengal, from which the fine Dacca muslins used to be made, is hardly ever seen; the population of the town Of Dacca has fallen from 150,000 to 30,000 or 40,000, and the jungle and malaria are fast encroaching upon the town . . Dacca, which used to be the Manchester of India, has fallen off from a flourishing town to a very poor and small one.

Last edited by am77494; 01-28-2020 at 03:47 AM.
  #49  
Old 01-28-2020, 05:51 AM
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am77494
Ironically, the profits from the lucrative trade in Bengali textiles helped to finance Britain's industrial revolution. As their own mechanized textile industry developed, the British eliminated competition from Bengali textiles through an elaborate network of restrictions and prohibitive duties. Not only were Indian textiles effectively shut out of the British market, but even within India, taxes discriminated against local cloth. According to popular legend, the British cut off the thumbs of the weavers in order to destroy their craft. The decimation of local industry brought great hardship to the Bengali people. In 1835 the Governor- General of the East India Company reported to London: 'The misery hardly finds a parallel in the history of commerce. The bones of the cotton-weavers are bleaching the plains of India.
So an early example of technological unemployment making people jobless and mercantilism, this wasn't restricted to India. Helped to finance isn't the same as creating the industrial revolution.
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  #50  
Old 01-28-2020, 05:54 AM
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I don't think that's the case with an empire. Empires are when a region is ruled by some outside country. So the imperial regime has no incentive to spend resources in the colony; they just want to ship wealth out of the colony and back to the home country.

A native regime doesn't have any reason to ship wealth away; it's already there in the native regime's home country. Even if the native regime is greedy and collects a lot of wealth from their population, they're going to spend that wealth locally and essentially recycle it back into the local economy.

And a native regime is going to have some concern for the country they're ruling; the survival of the regime is tied to the country it's ruling. So there are practical limits to how badly they can abuse the country.

An outside imperial regime doesn't face that concern. They can trash the colony with the knowledge that their power base is safe and secure back in their home country.
So how do you account for places like Canada and Australia and New Zealand. There has to be a consideration that these places may be controlled in perpetuity, or that them having some measure of responsible self government would assauge local antagonisms whilst still exporting the good which the empire needs, so again, how is that theft?
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