Wednesday, July 22, 2015

History: The Year is 1609

I've uploaded year 1609 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Free Coinage and Managing the Amsterdam Money Monster -- The Amsterdam currency is out of control. To control it they establish the first central bank. I talk a little about the Federal Reserve.

Admit You Are a Witch and Get a Pardon for Free! -- 7,000 Basques, mostly children, are put on trial for being witches. Most will be pardoned... most.

The Law of 'the Freedom of the Seas' -- It's an important principle of the modern day which had its beginnings here. I also talk about the USS Liberty Incident.

Free Coinage and Managing the Amsterdam Money Monster

Amsterdam has a problem with success. Years ago, King Charles the 5th of Spain manipulated the money supply to increase the value of his gold-based treasury by 50%... and totally hosed the Spanish Netherlands which used silver coins for its commerce. This may have sparked the Dutch Revolution because the first thing the rebels did was to institute free coinage laws. In essence, any person can show up with his bullion and the mint turns it into coins for a small percentage or even free. No questions asked. Naturally, that turned the Netherlands into a sinkhole for all the "don't ask me where I got it" precious metal in the world. Dutch law compels their banks to accept foreign coins as legal tender, and as Gresham's Law suggests, good money pushes out bad. Whenever new coins are minted, they disappear and every crap foreign coin is used in its place. Amsterdam needs to control its legal tender, so the Bank of Amsterdam is born. It's primary mission is to pull foreign coins out of circulation and to issue notes on deposits based on the actual metal content of coins and bullion. With the metal content certain and safe in the vault, suddenly bank notes are more valuable than coins. The Bank of Amsterdam is one of the first central banks ever established (if not the very first). [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There are good reasons to establish a central bank such as maintaining the currency standards and easing government spending fluctuations that disrupt the market. If that was all a central bank did, I would have very few complaints, but there are ways for bankers and government officials to abuse such a system, just as King Charles did. Was the Bank of Amsterdam like the US Federal Reserve System? Well... it didn't start off that way. It was a deposit bank. You deposited your gold or silver for a fee and received a receipt. Bank money represented actual deposits: real bullion or coins IN THE VAULT, no fractional banking. That is a far cry from what the US Federal Reserve does today. For a good explanation on what the Federal Reserve is doing, read, "The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve" by G. Edward Griffin. While the creation of the Federal Reserve was a conspiracy in the real sense of the word, at one point the author takes a ride into "Federal Conspiracy Disneyland". Nevertheless, I can recommend this book because he labels clearly when he goes beyond analysis into hair-raising speculation. I appreciated that. [4] [5] [6]

Admit You Are a Witch and Get a Pardon for Free!

7,000 people are charged by the Spanish Inquisition with practicing witchcraft. This is the largest group of witch trials that have every happened before or ever will. The vast majority of those on trial are children who have willingly admitted to witchcraft... often under torture... but willing. Most will be pardoned. A few will die under torture and a few will actually get burned at the stake. These are the Basque Witch Trials. The Basque area had a reputation for the occult long before this time but even the Christian priests are getting a little nervous. They weren't expecting this many accused. The Inquisition will give up on this witch hunt after a few years. The Protestants are having their own witch hunt in the north and they will stay with it a little longer. No one is covered in glory here but a few good Christians will risk their lives to put a stop to it. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The system went like this. (Try not to shiver.) If you were willing to admit you were a witch, you were pardoned, but you had to point out other people who were practicing witchcraft. (This sounds a lot like hunting for Communists in the 1950s.) Surprisingly, to the Inquisition, mostly children came forth to admit their witchery. I don't know why, but the children had a strong fear of being possessed and misled by Satan. There is one story about 40 children who were so fearful of Satan that they would sleep at the Rectory and be blessed by the priest for protection. One night, the priest forgot to bless them and they were taken by Satan to endure a terrible ritual. Is it true? The hysteria is certainly true. Children can really work themselves up into a frenzy so that things seem real, but no. I don't think Satan grabbed the children or anyone else. I have a difficult enough time figuring out what happened in the Book of Job.

The Law of 'the Freedom of the Seas'

The law book "Freedom of the Seas" is published by the Dutch jurist, Hugo de Groot. He makes a natural law argument that travel through the seas is free to all without interference. It begins with the idea that a nation with no ill-intent is free to travel to another nation to engage in trade. Since that occurs over land, how much more natural would it be to travel over the sea to engage in trade? And since the sea is like the air in that it is common to all, therefore, travel through the sea without ill-intent should be free to all. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Freedom of the Seas is one of the fundamental principles that we defend today as if it has been obvious and true since the beginning of time. In fact, it was not always obvious which is why so many countries engaged in privateering at the time (which was government-sanctioned piracy). This book spelled the beginning of the end of privateering. It is also the reason why ships are 'flagged' by a specific nation. The Freedom of the Seas applies primarily to merchant craft but during a war, even merchant craft of warring nations can be targeted. Thus, there is an advantage to be flagged from a nation that is NOT at war. It is no guarantee but it can be helpful to merchants. A flag provides less protection to warships. Warships in a war zone might find themselves targets even if they are flagged from a neutral nation. Warships make other nations nervous even when they are not at war with each other and mistakes can happen. A good example is when Israeli planes hit the USS Liberty in international waters in 1967 during the Six-Day War. Israel said it mistook the ship for Egyptian. People are still arguing about that one. Let the meltdown begin. [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1609, Wikipedia.

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