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Saturday, Jun. 23, 2001 at 4:04 PM
A review of past practices and explotation of 17th C., and other institutions. A bit light on the technology issue, but perhaps the book itself is more informative.
The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic -- by
Peter Linebaugh, Marcus Rediker
This recently published book discusses the mulitnational corportations of the past and how they ruthlessly used new technology to create vast wealth for themselves.
The book discusses the mulitnational corportations of the past and how they ruthlessly used new technology to create vast wealth for themselves and to some extent to their host nations. The main key was the sugar industry in
the West Indies. This was why slavery was inseperable from the rise of Europe. Aside from the slave trade the sugar industry also created the rum trafficing/smuggling that made New England traders very wealthy. The book does not discuss other multinational corporations such as the Dutch and
British East India Tea Companies which robbed India and the spice islands
of Indonesia resulting in among other things in the great famine in Bengal
of 1770 in which by the most conservative
estimates, over a million people died. It should be mentioned that before
the British came India was one of the wealthiest nations in the world.
The are clear parallels to modern times with a few days back the rise of a new trade conglomerate involving China, Russia and other Muslim nations ofthe former Soviet Union.
Then as now there was massive corruption in the practices of these corportations. Nowadays most MNCs are able to control their employees better so as to make sure that they do not end up pocketing the profits.
Moreover MNC's have legalized their stranglehold over the economy through the various free trade agreements just as the 18th century ones did. What this caused in the past (as well as in the present) was a complete erosion
of whatever rights laborers, craftsmen, and peasants had acquired up to that time.
A clear analogy for rum smuggling can be found in the modern drug smuggling. While this smuggling was fiercly condemned by the government in fact the smugglers worked hand in hand with the British government. Just as
since the 60's the C.I.A has been working hand in hand with drug smugglers throughout the world. When a nation and
smuggling ring tries to become an independent business, they are subjected to a propaganda campaign in which
they are for the first time labelled as a rogue nation after which they are invaded and then silenced. This has
happened in Panama and is happening now in Colombia. For more detail one can see the site www.copvcia.com
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