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The fall of Spain, the first global superpower, and the fall of the US
http://www.americaneconomicalert.org/view_art.asp?Prod_ID=1086 ^

Posted on 02/09/2010 8:47:02 AM PST by GeorgeSaden

It may be hard for most people to imagine, but Spain was the first global Superpower. It gained this status as the defender of Europe against Muslim armies and by leading the West’s exploration of America. In 1492, the same year that Spanish-financed Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, the last Muslim stronghold of Granada was ceded to Ferdinand and Isabella to complete the Catholic Reconquest of the Iberian peninsula... It controlled rich parts of Italy through Naples and Milan, and Central Europe from the Netherlands through the Holy Roman Empire to Austria. In the 16th century it added the far distant Philippine islands to its empire. The Hapsburgs held off the Ottoman Turks, whose resurgent wave of Islamic conquest in the 16th century swept across the Balkans and nearly captured Vienna.

[snip]

Yet, Spanish leaders were deluded by a sense of false prosperity. This is testified by the statement of a prominent official, Alfonso Nunez de Castro in 1675: “Let London manufacture those fine fabrics of hers to her heart's content; let Holland her chambrays; Florence her cloth; the Indies their beaver and vicuna; Milan her brocade, Italy and Flanders their linens...so long as our capital can enjoy them; the only thing it proves is that all nations train their journeymen for Madrid, and that Madrid is the queen of Parliaments, for all the world serves her and she serves nobody.” A few years later, the Madrid government was bankrupt. The Spanish nobleman had foolishly elevated consumption, a use for wealth, above production, the creation of wealth.

(Excerpt) Read more at americaneconomicalert.org ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; History; Military/Veterans; Society
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; paxamericana; spain; superpower; worldhistory

1 posted on 02/09/2010 8:47:02 AM PST by GeorgeSaden
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To: GeorgeSaden

This is testified by the statement of a prominent official, Alfonso Nunez de Castro in 1675: “Let London manufacture those fine fabrics of hers to her heart’s content; let Holland her chambrays; Florence her cloth; the Indies their beaver and vicuna; Milan her brocade, Italy and Flanders their linens...so long as our capital can enjoy them; the only thing it proves is that all nations train their journeymen for Madrid, and that Madrid is the queen of Parliaments, for all the world serves her and she serves nobody.”
___________________________________________________________

Frighteningly similar to the free trade “who cares” attitude towards foreign manufacturing.

Wow.


2 posted on 02/09/2010 8:51:23 AM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: GeorgeSaden

bump


3 posted on 02/09/2010 8:52:19 AM PST by WashingtonSource
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To: GeorgeSaden
The irony of this is that Spain was ruled by a warrior aristocracy tempered by centuries of constant warfare against Islamic hordes and Christian heretics. These nobles looked down on merchants and manufacturers and disparaged their mundane professions only to find that without a strong domestic business class they could not afford the fleets and armies that guarded the empire they had built.

By the time of the Spanish-American war - the Spanish Army and Navy were a joke.

4 posted on 02/09/2010 8:52:42 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: GeorgeSaden
The U.S. trade deficit is nearing Spain’s nadir of imports being double exports.

__________________________________________

Another striking comment in this. Thanks for posting.
5 posted on 02/09/2010 8:57:06 AM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: GeorgeSaden

I have been listening to Empires of the Sea. I thought some of Spain’s issues sounded familiar.

At least we still pay our soldiers on time...


6 posted on 02/09/2010 8:57:51 AM PST by Little Ray (Madame President sounds really good to me...)
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To: GeorgeSaden
Today, the American “empire” is also trying to consume more than it produces. The U.S. trade deficit is nearing Spain’s nadir of imports being double exports. Both government spending and private consumption are financed heavily by debt. Washington is printing money, the modern equivalent of digging gold out of the ground, rather than earning the means to pay its bills. And the political and military elites are apparently indifferent to the fate of domestic business and industry. Americans must learn more from the Spanish experience than just the perils of appeasing terrorists—and take corrective action while they still can.

Too bad we didn't learn in time...

7 posted on 02/09/2010 9:02:39 AM PST by pgkdan (I miss Ronald Reagan!)
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To: GeorgeSaden
but it could not produce the goods it needed at home, which in the long-run proved fatal to its standing as a Great Power and as an advanced society.

Like the Romans before them,the Spanish made conquest and plunder - not industry, production, trade, and commerce - their economic goal

8 posted on 02/09/2010 9:03:09 AM PST by mjp (pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, independence, limited government, capitalism})
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To: Woebama
Frighteningly similar to the free trade “who cares” attitude towards foreign manufacturing.

That's your take-home message from this?

America is in trouble because it can't compete. Its industry is weighed down with taxation, over-regulation, unionization and an increasingly poorly educated or tax-demotivated workforce.

Forcing Americans to buy their stuff from feather-bedded internal suppliers would solve these problems how?

The only reason you guys have any standard of living at all is because other people make stuff well and cheaply.

Don't like it? Try reducing your internal barriers to wealth-production. Don't whine about the competition.

9 posted on 02/09/2010 9:09:36 AM PST by agere_contra
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To: mjp

Rome lasted 1,000 years. Spain’s time at the top was less than 200 years. Rome did have a thriving merchant class, as the US does today (a.k.a. the middle class). Spain never did. They remained feudal with two classes, the really really rich, and the really really poor. As this article points out, they shunned industrial development.
Their economy was smoke and mirrors, propped up by an inflow of gold and silver from somewhere else. The US has a bit more going on than that.


10 posted on 02/09/2010 9:12:36 AM PST by pepsi_junkie (Who is John Galt?)
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To: GeorgeSaden

Isabella was a Hapsburg herself so it could be argued just as easily that the Germans held that empire (it later fell into the hands of Charles V who was king of a lot of places and Holy Roam Emperor).

That said, there are striking similarities in the governing of Obama and Philip II of Spain, who squandered any power Spain had left in the Elizabethian Age.


11 posted on 02/09/2010 9:18:42 AM PST by wolfman23601
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To: GeorgeSaden

Not a fan of Spain or the Hapsburg empire due to their involvement in removing the templars, inquisitions against so-called heretics, jews, and moors. The dictatorship that destroyed Catalonia, Grenada, and Navarre introduced intolerance and a form of centralized economy into relatively free lands and free economies. Ancient Catalonia of Spain and France was the envy of Europe. Spain killed tolerance, killed freedom, killed free markets, and killed the brain trust that existed.

As far as I’m concerned, Spain is a glaring example of how not to form a government, a tolerant society of freedom, or a highly evolved capitalist economy that the framers of the US Constitution took note, and avoided installing. You’ll notice any lands controlled by Spain have had trouble with allowing freedom and their economies are systemically deeply troubled.


12 posted on 02/09/2010 9:33:22 AM PST by egannacht (Inalienable rights granted by...)
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To: agere_contra

Bang! That comment hit the 10 ring! Well said!


13 posted on 02/09/2010 9:39:21 AM PST by piytar (Ammo is hard to find! Bought some lately? Please share where at www.ammo-finder.com)
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To: agere_contra

You are British from the flag on your profile. Your nation was an economic leader as well once under a regime of promoting internal trade and discouraging imports from outside of the empire. In the USA it is sometimes refered to as a Hamiltonian trade policy. I’m afraid you’ve lost sight of the reality around you — when the US and the UK were successful they were more protectionist.


14 posted on 02/09/2010 9:42:25 AM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: mjp
"Like the Romans before them,the Spanish made conquest and plunder - not industry, production, trade, and commerce"

Lol, Rome had industry, production, trade and commerce in spades and the Roman Republic/Empire lasted almost 2,000 years 400 B.C.-1400 A.D. Or a 1,000 years if you just count the Western Empire.

15 posted on 02/09/2010 9:46:45 AM PST by jpsb
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To: GeorgeSaden

Everything old is new again. Thanks for the post.


16 posted on 02/09/2010 9:49:59 AM PST by rae4palin (islam is of the devil)
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To: agere_contra

It’s nice that someone occasionally reminds the protectionists here what the real problems are. I would add that the reduction of our productive capacity has been a goal long pursued by the left.


17 posted on 02/09/2010 9:58:28 AM PST by achilles2000 (Shouting "fire" in a burning building is doing everyone a favor...whether they like it or not)
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To: Woebama
"when the US and the UK were successful they were more protectionist."

Ah, yes, the Roaring Thirties.

18 posted on 02/09/2010 10:03:58 AM PST by TimSkalaBim
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To: TimSkalaBim

1792 on . . . we didn’t used to have any Federal taxes other than tarriffs and we were a lot more successful economically relative to the rest of the world than we are now. You can be flippant about it but we are seeing the end of an era now. This article points out that we are approaching the 2 to 1 mark, imports to exports.


19 posted on 02/09/2010 10:13:59 AM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: Woebama

Actually, the 19th century was a free-market century, more so than the 20th, which has to be considered the big government century.


20 posted on 02/09/2010 10:21:56 AM PST by TimSkalaBim
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To: TimSkalaBim

Actually, the 19th century was a free-market century, more so than the 20th, which has to be considered the big government century.
___________________________________________________________

Not when it comes to tarriff protection.


21 posted on 02/09/2010 10:35:40 AM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: mjp

Re: Like the Romans before them,the Spanish made conquest and plunder - not industry, production, trade, and commerce - their economic goal


Conquest and plunder precisely describes the history of the USA, not Spain. The American Indian was all but wipred off the face of the the USA.

According to USA standards of “color/race”, all of Central America, and almost all of South America is inhabited by Indians. The proof of “conquest and plunder” is there in the population, for those with eyes to see, to see. Spain was used by God as an instrument for spreading of the true faith to Indians of good will.


22 posted on 02/09/2010 10:42:13 AM PST by PPlains
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To: TimSkalaBim

http://internationalecon.com/Trade/Tch20/T20-3.php


23 posted on 02/09/2010 10:45:45 AM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: Woebama
Thanks for the link. Elsewhere in the source you provide is a note on the effect of government regulations and impediments to trade flows. The point is that tariffs alone don't capture the state of protectionism in an economy. I would argue the US economy was far freer in the 1800s (even with higher tariffs) than it is now, and that economic freedom is a key ingredient in whether we or any other nation is on the rise or in decline.

[T]ariffs are not the only trade policy used by countries. Countries also implement quotas, import licenses, voluntary export restraints, export taxes, export subsidies, government procurement policies, domestic content rules, and much more. In addition, there are a variety of domestic regulations which, for large economies at least, can and do have an impact on trade flows. None of these regulations, restrictions or impediments to trade, affecting both imports and exports, would be captured using any of the average tariff measures. Nevertheless these non-tariff barriers can have a much greater effect upon trade flows than tariffs themselves.

24 posted on 02/09/2010 11:29:58 AM PST by TimSkalaBim
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To: wolfman23601

Just to clarify. Isabella was not a Hapsburg; her family had a lot of English roots in it. The daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, Juana La Loca, married the Hapsburg scion Phillip the Fair. It was through this marriage and their son Charles V the Spainish Empire became part of the Hapsburg’s domains.


25 posted on 02/09/2010 11:34:05 AM PST by C19fan
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To: GeorgeSaden

The domestic Spanish economy at the time of their dominance was centered on wool production; the Mesta. This restrictive corporation prevented any other enterprises to rise. The Spanish crown favored this arrangement because of the short term taxes it was able to collect; levying tolls on the annual sheep migrations and selling rights to monopolies. As others mentioned the social stigma against trade was much stronger than in the North Atlantic countries. The analogy to the current situation would be US corporations instead of investing in “building the better mouse trap” using their allied in government to cement their privileged positions. One can add the continued growing hatred of private enterprise on the part of the Democratic elite.


26 posted on 02/09/2010 11:45:00 AM PST by C19fan
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To: TimSkalaBim

I agree with everything you wrote and your quote from the article as well. Questioning the low tariff regime that we’ve put in place since the 1950’s doesn’t mean that a person supports government regulations or anti-competitive measures beyond straight tariffs. I think that the theory of “free trade” has not been borne out with actual experience. We’ve lost ground relative to our economic competitors, not gained it, since we dropped our tariffs. So did Great Britain.

I think the “disconnect” between theory and reality is that economic theory looks at GDP, GNP, income, utility, all those absolute measures and ignores RELATIVE power. If you have 2 actors (A & B) who are geopolitical competitors and free trade makes everyone richer, but helps B twice as much as A, then if you care about relative power and live in A you would rationally be opposed to completely free trade. You would care if you didn’t trust that B, once they were more powerful than A, would continue to be fair and free. Say using the USA and China for example, once China is stronger militarily than we are, will we truly be better off?


27 posted on 02/09/2010 11:59:13 AM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: TimSkalaBim

More in line with the standard thinking, a key part of free trade theory is that the money you save on goods from other lands will go to more productive uses than buying inferior domestic goods, so you are better off with free trade. But what happens when you have such a messed up system that capital goes to a speculative bubble instead, or meaningless overconsumption through debt?

I also think that economic theory focuses on dollar measures — money — and when a system crashes it is only things (land, machinery, commodities) and people (skills) that really matter. All the paper chits people have built up through trade don’t matter except to the extent they are backed by real things or rights to real ongoing enterprises. You sell GM to the Chinese for 10 billion dollars and lets say it is a great deal for you, the seller. Then the 10 billion dollars lose all value through hyperinflation or lack of willingness to accept dollars. The Chinese still have the enterprise and you have . . . worthless dollars.


28 posted on 02/09/2010 12:07:35 PM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: PPlains

I don’t care who you are, THAT’s funny!

Excellent use of verbal irony/sarcasm.

DG


29 posted on 02/09/2010 12:23:17 PM PST by DoorGunner ("Rom 11: until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so, all Israel will be saved")
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To: Woebama
I don't think we'd be better off with a China that was militarily stronger than the US, but what's going to stop that, if the Chinese govt is determined to be so? Tariffs won't stop it. Maybe we should increase imports from India (just kidding).

Happy FReeper Anniversary, btw. :)

30 posted on 02/09/2010 12:31:35 PM PST by TimSkalaBim
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To: TimSkalaBim

If we didn’t open up our market to them, they wouldn’t have had the economic growth they’ve had. We were doing fine without free trade with China. They were not.


31 posted on 02/09/2010 12:47:50 PM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: TimSkalaBim

And thank you on the anniversary. I had another account before as well!


32 posted on 02/09/2010 12:48:24 PM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: GeorgeSaden

The Spanish Armada could have crushed England if not for British espionage and a cunning ambush. History would be very different today if Spain had won that war regardless of economic flaws.

Queen Elizabeth was wise in how she handled espionage and how she led her best tacticians. I’m not saying that the ambush with fire ships was her plan, but she put a good team together.

I believe that war had as much to do with the shifting of Spain to England as economics.


33 posted on 02/09/2010 12:53:21 PM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (2010 HOUSE RACES! Help everyone get the goods on their House Rats. See my profile.)
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To: TimSkalaBim

We need to remain strong so that China will continue economic pursuits rather than conquest. If China ever attacks some place and wins, the world is in for some serious pain.

Economics is important for a strong US military. We also need brilliant officers to lead them. Further, a strong alliance with Japan will fuel innovation, and India should be a close trading partner.

[Note that Palin already reached out to Japan — they think she’s like a rock star.]


34 posted on 02/09/2010 12:56:42 PM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (2010 HOUSE RACES! Help everyone get the goods on their House Rats. See my profile.)
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To: GeorgeSaden

The Spanish nobleman had foolishly elevated consumption, a use for wealth, above production, the creation of wealth.


How true this is.


35 posted on 02/09/2010 1:27:23 PM PST by Personal Responsibility ("In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act" - Orwell)
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To: Woebama

Perhaps, but the US has been pro-Free China since the days of Chiang Kai-Shek. To the extent trade can encourage more openness and freedom, that’s good for all of us, though trade is certainly no panacea — we’re all aware of China’s expansionist ambitions. But if the US is such an important market for China, then that is as much a consideration/problem for them as it is for us.


36 posted on 02/09/2010 2:04:38 PM PST by TimSkalaBim
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To: TimSkalaBim

I don’t think free trade encourages more political freedom. Germany was a trading powerhouse in the early 1900’s . . . China remains despotic today. Can you think of a connection between free trade and individual rights?


37 posted on 02/09/2010 2:10:14 PM PST by Woebama (Never, never, never quit)
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To: Woebama

No. The connection is more economic freedom leads to more trade. Political freedom is a choice the people of China (or Germany in the early 1900s) have to make.


38 posted on 02/09/2010 2:20:17 PM PST by TimSkalaBim
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To: Woebama; TimSkalaBim; agere_contra

You’re gtting warmer!

Come a little closer!

http://www.fairtax.org

An immediate 10% boost to GDP!

An immediate 20% drop in the cost of US exports!

http://www.fairtax.org !!!


39 posted on 02/09/2010 5:29:40 PM PST by Hostage
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To: indcons; Pharmboy

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Thanks GeorgeSaden.

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40 posted on 02/09/2010 6:58:31 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Happy New Year! Freedom is Priceless.)
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To: 2banana
In the last 200 years, the Spanish fleet has been rebuilt three times. Each one of them, the results exceeded the average for a nation of its size, thanks to the efforts of officers like Fernando Villaamil or Isaac Peral.

Villaamil participated in the invention of the Destroyer and died in Santiago on one of them. Isaac Peral developed the first military submarine, an invention so revolutionary that the British had to bribe Spanish politicians in order to suspend further advances.
41 posted on 02/11/2010 7:43:48 AM PST by J Aguilar (Fiat Justitia et ruat coelum)
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To: All
First of all. 3/11 was a copy of the Bologna railway station bombing and wasn't carried out by "alien thugs", but by a well-known national one.

Secondly, a commercial empire was a British invention, which happened almost 150 years after the Spaniards reached the New World. That is, the Spanish social and economical structures on the Indies were primitive in comparison to what was happening in the, let's say, 18th century.

Although primitive, or because of that, these structures lasted far more than the British ones, which at the first sign of tightening conditions just blew up into 13 pieces.

It is true that the Spanish elites were not used to industry, but fighting, as a consequence of eight centuries of battling the Moors. Since the 1300's and the opening of the Gibraltar strait, Genovese and other Italians based their commerce fleets in Seville, they lobbied to avoid any development in Spain.

Spain already had industry in the Low Countries since 1519. In fact, they also lobbied to keep privileges for producing goods to be sent to the New World. Carlos V and Felipe II both endorsed them in order to calm down the riots in that region. The privileges were extended in the succesive peace treaties.

That is not true that in the 17th century was a sense of prosperity in Spain. Anyone can read Quevedo's El Buscón, written in 1626, an acid view of those years. What happened is that the wealth of the previous century had made the Spanish elites lazy: it was easier to surrender an island to the British (there were a lot of them) and await the silver to arrive again than to plan a counter attack.
42 posted on 02/11/2010 8:11:56 AM PST by J Aguilar (Fiat Justitia et ruat coelum)
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