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Re: [OM] In case you hadn't heard....

Subject: Re: [OM] In case you hadn't heard....
From: Bob Whitmire <bwhitmire@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 13:24:14 -0400
I’ll watch out for that one. Always enjoy a good history tome. Currently almost 
finished with Neil Oliver’s History of Scotland. It’s written with a rather 
populist flair, I suppose because it was born of a multi-part BBC series he 
hosted, but an excellent survey course nevertheless. I had no idea, for 
example, that  some Scots became fabulously wealthy by 1) buying ships, 2) 
sending them to Africa to pick up human cargo, 3) selling said cargo in the New 
World, 4) reloading same ships with tobacco, and 5) selling said tobacco in the 
UK at insanely inflated prices. (Repeat, repeat, repeat.) There was a 
discussion about how the Glasgow tobacco barons carefully trained their New 
World agents to drive down the price of the crop as far as possible so as to 
maximize profits. Methinks this might be the genesis of some of the less benign 
Scottish stereotypes.

At the same time as this naked avaricious behavior was going on, other Scots 
were arguing in favor of the joys of capitalism, but tempering it with cautions 
about the potential for the gap between haves and have-nots to grow to 
unsustainable proportions. Weren’t those Scots prescient? <g>

--Bob Whitmire
Certified Neanderthal

On Mar 20, 2014, at 1:01 PM, Ken Norton <ken@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Several months ago, I picked up a history textbook "Westward
> Expansion" by Ray Allen Billington. It's a pretty tough slog in
> places, and I can tell that it's written from a slightly
> northern-centric perspective, but it's very good. It certainly puts an
> interesting light on the good, bad and ugly of this country's history.
> Best $0.50 I've spent in a long time.
> Anyway, it's fascinating because it pretty well skewers the perception
> of "the good old days".

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