115. Piece of history

June 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

This is fabulous. The passing of power to money is a major part of the human story.

in 1694 set up the Company of Scotland, which in 1695 was granted a monopoly of Scottish trade with Africa, Asia and the Americas. The Company then bet its shirt on a new colony in Darien – that’s Panama to us – and lost.[1] The resulting crash is estimated to have wiped out a quarter of the liquid assets in the country, and was a powerful force in impelling Scotland towards the 1707 Act of Union with its larger and better capitalised neighbour to the south. The Act of Union offered compensation to shareholders who had been cleaned out by the collapse of the Company; a body called the Equivalent Society was set up to look after their interests. It was the Equivalent Society, renamed the Equivalent Company, which a couple of decades later decided to move into banking, and was incorporated as the Royal Bank of Scotland. In other words, RBS had its origins in a failed speculation, a bail-out, and a financial crash so big it helped destroy Scotland’s status as a separate nation.

via LRB · John Lanchester: It’s Finished.

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You are currently reading 115. Piece of history at Reflections on GardenWorld Politics Douglass Carmichael.

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