India’s March into the light and the great lie of the golden bird

Why Human Capital and where it comes from

But back to the original point of human capital. In a fundamental sense, there is more money in what we can do with things than there is in those things themselves. This has not always been true. For much of history, we could do little from what providence provided us. We took from the earth, consumed, and discarded. Sometimes reused but that was the limit. Metal raised from the earth was at best refined and forged into a sword or a farm implement or armor. Fairly valuable an addition in value, but unlikely to be too much more valuable than the steel in the sword itself. In the right hands, a hunk of steel could do a solid fraction of the damage that the sword could cause on its own. Maybe doubling in the forging the value of materials therein. Maybe more, depending on the nature of supply and demand. But the actual use-value has not risen much. But the Industrial Revolution changed everything. If ever there was an event that we owe the most to, for all the wealth of the world we live in, it is the Industrial revolution. The Industrial Revolution changed the rules. No more was the money in the extraction of metals but in their utility. A car is worth tens of times the value of the materials put into it. The entire modern world order of stability is borne from this fundamental truth. No more must the deprived hordes of Mongolia, join together to launch a grand conquest of the world to fuel their great ambitions of great wealth. There is no wealth in pillaging great towns. What money could you gain from pillaging an oil field. You don’t know how to run it. Moreover there is more wealth in processing the oil in Iran than actually pulling it out of the earth or owning it outright. The value chain, as it is called, is now longer. And there are more places you can tap into. You can make pens from the plastic made from that oil, you can make cars that run off of that oil, you can also make pipelines for the oil. Why waste precious young blood on a conquest, when it could be working in the factories making you money. As long as this fundamental truth remains true, the larger world will remain at peace. The second world war was the last war of the old kind we will have fought for a long time. The Germans don’t need more land to feed their starving populace as they did at the outbreak of WW2. The Haber process and modern agriculture fixed that. The amount you can squeeze from the soil is now far more dependent on how you squeeze it than how much soil you have in the first place. The great plains of the Ganga in India, that hold some of the finest soil on the planet can’t compare in productivity to European farms that once struggled to maintain yield. And the how of things is far better thought of in peaceful conditions. The value of a car is vastly greater than the thunk of metal it was cleaved from. Wealth is no longer hard-capped as it once was.

The Founding of the Indian Myth

Much is made of the great glorious land of India, that India was pre-British arrival. And that is true to an extent. We were sort of rich. As a portion of GDP, India commanded a quarter of the world’s wealth under the much-hated Aurangzeb. Alexander would have cowered before the great might of the Nanda’s that faced him a few miles deeper into India. But make no mistake we held a comparable number of people. We always have. India has always been populous, because of the Ganga delta being so conducive to farming, a large population could be supported. And that meant more total wealth. But a man can only be as rich as the wealth he can yield. He can only make as much money as he provides to the world in value. And that remains constant across the world. So a farmer in India was about as rich as a farmer in Italia under the auspices of the Roman Republic. So was every place equally rich? Not precisely. A farmer in Londonium at the edges of the Roman Empire was likely to struggle. The soil was simply not as productive there. And so the wealth was in what the world gave us. It was in the soil, the rivers, the livestock, and the metals. And we revered them and we prayed to them and treated them as gods. That was what they were to us. The source of all sustenance. The source and essence of wealth. We fought over them, and that was what conquest was fundamentally about. When the British arrived we had a lot of the raw materials they needed. India was wealthy, so to say. But nowhere as rich as we are today. But to the British that sailed from their wretched frozen lands, it was paradise. And so we thought. That we were the stronger one in that bond. The British bent and jostled before the Mughal Emperor, and begged for trades rights. They had no idea. Unbeknownst to all involved, the rules were about to change.

The Crack of the whip, and where it came from

The Industrial Revolution had arrived and Britannia was the factory of the world. All the Cotton we could raise we could do little with. Weave it with effort into quality clothing as in Bengal. It was called the proto-industrialization. It was impressive and it made Bengal one of the Richest provinces in the world for a while. The Mughals were rich off it. But the British factories could do so much more with the cotton. And more importantly so much faster. Their clothing was cheaper if a little worse in quality. The coffee had cooked and no one was awake to smell it.

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