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Pilgrim lesson: Spreading wealth leads to pooled poverty
OneNewsNow ^ | 11/23/2011 | John Aman

Posted on 11/24/2011 7:50:43 PM PST by ReformationFan

Those who still think that it's a good idea for government to "spread the wealth around" must think they're "wiser than God."

That's what Plymouth Governor William Bradford concluded nearly 400 years ago after one of America's first socialist experiments led not to shared wealth, but pooled poverty.

The Pilgrims, whom we remember at Thanksgiving, started life in the New World with a system of common ownership forced on them by Plymouth colony investors. That quasi-socialist arrangement proved disastrous, and had to be scrapped for one which gave these first Americans the right to keep the fruits of their labor -- and incentive to produce more.

The 104 people who arrived at Plymouth Rock on December 21, 1620, were organized under a charter which imposed a seven-year period of joint ownership. Thus, from the day they arrived in the new world, all clothing, houses, lands, crops, and cash were jointly owned. No matter how hard a man might work, he had little hope of personal gain for his effort.

Unless changed, the charter was an iron-clad guarantee of seven very lean years.

It led to a social order at odds with the dictates of human nature and what 19th century historian James Eggleston called a "sinking of personal interest ..., in dissensions and insubordination, in unthrift and famine."

The communal arrangement also ill-fitted the Pilgrims for the demands of life on the edge of a "howling wilderness." The Pilgrims buried 44 people within the first three months, and a total of 50 poor wretches succumbed within the first year.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: History; Miscellaneous; Religion
KEYWORDS: 1620; 1621; aman; americanhistory; bradford; capitalism; collectivism; colonists; communism; djameskennedy; history; johnaman; massachusetts; pilgrimcapitalism; pilgrims; plymouth; plymouthcolony; plymouthrock; puritans; socialism; thanksgiving; williambradford
I thought this was an appropriate lesson for Thanksgiving.
1 posted on 11/24/2011 7:50:46 PM PST by ReformationFan
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To: ReformationFan

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

2 posted on 11/24/2011 8:00:14 PM PST by Ciexyz
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To: ReformationFan

Obama has no problem with everyone being equally miserable and poor. As long as it is not him.

3 posted on 11/24/2011 8:03:24 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

“Obama has no problem with everyone being equally miserable and poor. As long as it is not him.”

And therein lies the answer as to why Socialism always fails.

George Orwell-Animal Farm

4 posted on 11/24/2011 8:05:50 PM PST by tcrlaf (Election 2012: THE RAPTURE OF THE DEMOCRATS)
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To: ReformationFan

The Great Thanksgiving Hoax

Mises Daily: Saturday, November 20, 1999 by Richard J. Maybury

Each year at this time school children all over America are taught the official Thanksgiving story, and newspapers, radio, TV, and magazines devote vast amounts of time and space to it. It is all very colorful and fascinating.

It is also very deceiving. This official story is nothing like what really happened. It is a fairy tale, a whitewashed and sanitized collection of half-truths which divert attention away from Thanksgiving’s real meaning.

The official story has the pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620-21. This first winter is hard, and half the colonists die. But the survivors are hard working and tenacious, and they learn new farming techniques from the Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful. The Pilgrims hold a celebration, and give thanks to God. They are grateful for the wonderful new abundant land He has given them.

The official story then has the Pilgrims living more or less happily ever after, each year repeating the first Thanksgiving. Other early colonies also have hard times at first, but they soon prosper and adopt the annual tradition of giving thanks for this prosperous new land called America.

The problem with this official story is that the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, nor were the colonists hardworking or tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and many of the colonists were lazy thieves.

In his ‘History of Plymouth Plantation,’ the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with “corruption,” and with “confusion and discontent.” The crops were small because “much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable.”

In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, “all had their hungry bellies filled,” but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims, it was famine and death. The first “Thanksgiving” was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.

But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.

What happened?

After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism.

He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit.

In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first twelve months in America.

Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609-10, called “The Starving Time,” the population fell from five-hundred to sixty.

Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. In 1614, Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote that after the switch there was “plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure.” He said that when the socialist system had prevailed, “we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty men as three men have done for themselves now.”

Before these free markets were established, the colonists had nothing for which to be thankful. They were in the same situation as Ethiopians are today, and for the same reasons. But after free markets were established, the resulting abundance was so dramatic that the annual Thanksgiving celebrations became common throughout the colonies, and in 1863, Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

Thus the real reason for Thanksgiving, deleted from the official story, is: Socialism does not work; the one and only source of abundance is free markets, and we thank God we live in a country where we can have them.

5 posted on 11/24/2011 8:13:20 PM PST by LucyT (We lived in the best of times, in the best place, in all of Human History.)
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To: tcrlaf

Socialism fails because it awards sloth and hard work equally. Why should I work my butt off when Joe down the road has a house just as nice and he shows up for work drunk?

6 posted on 11/24/2011 8:16:25 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.)
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To: tcrlaf

Socialism fails because it rewards sloth and hard work equally. Why should I work my butt off when Joe down the road has a house just as nice and he shows up for work drunk?

7 posted on 11/24/2011 8:16:34 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks ReformationFan.
8 posted on 11/24/2011 8:26:29 PM PST by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link --
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To: ReformationFan

Thank you for the history lesson. Something Obozo will never understand, because he only knows communism, anti-captilism, and islam. In his case I have the perfect verse for him and his kind: Mat 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. RSV

9 posted on 11/24/2011 8:44:58 PM PST by Colorado Cowgirl (God bless America!)
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To: ReformationFan

Actually, the lesson from the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s experiment with communism is more subtle.

There have been examples of successful communism (note the small c, I am using the word with the meaning it had before Marx): the Amana Colonies, the Oneida Community, monasteries both Christian and Buddhist, and Israeli kibbutzes. All had four features in common:

1. They were small-scale.
2. Participation in the communal arrangement was voluntary: one could quit.
3. They had a religious basis.
4. They were able to engage in trade with a surrounding market economy.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony failed because it lacked 4, and arguably 2.

Oddly, the first two in my list of successes eventually shut down as communes and turned into notable corporations making refrigerators and flatware, respectively. (Another virtue to having 4. besides longevity as a commune is the ability to bag communism in favor of capitalism when the former finally stops working because 3. is undermined by a waning for piety, or too many people take advantage of 2.)

10 posted on 11/24/2011 8:51:20 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: LucyT

The lesson is clear: Socialism/Communism leads to death; Capitalism leads to freedom and wealth.

11 posted on 11/25/2011 9:49:21 AM PST by Repeal 16-17 (Let me know when the Shooting starts.)
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