Free Trade and the Golden Age

“The Return to Amsterdam of the Second Expedition to the East Indies,” painted by Hendrik Cornelisz Vroom, 1599.

“The Return to Amsterdam of the Second Expedition to the East Indies,” painted by Hendrik Cornelisz Vroom, 1599.

The Golden Age, spectacular as it was, was based largely on the success of Dutch trade in the ‘Spice Islands’. However romantic that may sound, the spice trade actually tarnished the Golden Age deeply. In the pursuit of that trade, colonial powers contested on remote Indonesian islands, subjugating local populations, enslaving and even massacring them in the process. Traditional trading patterns were severely disrupted as the west imposed itself on the east, seeking monopolies on commerce. The following article from the New York Times touches on how this thoughtless desire for global trade still drives our world view today. Visit, What Nutmeg can tell us about NAFTA to see what we can learn from history and how our worship of growth economies not only disrupts lives but also drives climate change and global warming.

 

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