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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14761/a-tale-of-two-colonies/

A Tale of Two Colonies

November 25, 2010 by

At Thanksgiving, Americans recall their blessings around bountiful meals, with imagery going back to the Pilgrims. But little attention is paid to what allows that bounty to be created — capitalism — though Jamestown and Plymouth both illustrate that lesson. FULL ARTICLE by Gary Galles


Alan Burton November 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm

The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 according to William Bradford in his “Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647″, page 90, not 1623 as the article states.

Brent Williams November 25, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I would aslo submit that the date is 1621. (Thanksgiving: An American History, Diana K. Applebaum).

Dave Albin November 25, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I actually had the same date in mind

Nicodemus November 26, 2010 at 8:51 am

I really enjoyed reading this. I visited Shipton Anglican Church recently in the uK from whence came four young children on the Mayflower sailing.

It would be good to have more evidence of the linkage, and to see what other determining factors there might have been to bring even more credibility to the argument such as, for instance, was it also because they had learnt how to have enough fuel for the winter, or their immune systems were more resistant, or they had a bit of good providence, etc!!

billwald November 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

‘In Jamestown, each man was given three acres of land, in exchange for a lump-sum tax of two and a half barrels of corn, and communal work was limited to one month (not during planting or harvest). In addition to creating private property, this made the marginal tax rate on most of colonists’ efforts zero, turning indolence into industry. Rather than starving, they became exporters of corn to the Indians.’

This requires the existence of decent farming land for the white capitalists to steal from the Indian People and enough Indian People with enough assets to trade to the white capitalists. The white capitalist’s problem gegan after Lincoln’s War and the fencing of the western lands. The White capitalists had to start stealing from the locals in Central and South America, Africa, India and China being already taken by the Brits, French, Dutch . . . .

Capt Mike November 26, 2010 at 10:19 pm

It’s my understanding that in the EARLY days of colonization (Eastern U.S.), the land was purchased from the locals…….

Inquisitor November 27, 2010 at 6:47 am

He likes to make things up. As if the Indians were blameless little creatures themselves.

P.M.Lawrence November 28, 2010 at 1:16 am

- The eastern U.S. didn’t exist in the early days of colonisation.

- Early colonisation on the North American east coast took great advantage of an accident of history, that many populations had been decimated by new (to them) diseases which left much land only lightly defended or even empty without owners. (Something similar happened in southern Africa in the 19th century, only it wasn’t disease but a religious cult that did it.)

Jim November 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

While I also agree with the premise, it’s absurd to discount things such as the several year learning curve the new colonists would have needed in order to discover the most efficient means of raising the new crops they were encountering, in a new climate, with new microorganism, and a sometimes-hostile sometimes-not native population.

King George November 27, 2010 at 7:33 pm

The author was lazy with this post, although the gist is correct. This one on Bloomberg goes into much more detail: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-24/gop-puts-the-lame-back-in-lame-duck-session-commentary-by-caroline-baum.html on

Matthew Swaringen November 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm

The author of a snide comment was a little lazy with his comment, he simply presented a link to another site without providing any detail as to what actual problems he had with the author of the article.

Charlie December 1, 2010 at 9:23 am

I enjoyed the history lesson. I have celebrated Thanksgiving for more years than I like to think, but this is the first economics lesson I’ve learned regarding this day and also the Jamestown settlement.

I have always assumed the free market system and personal ownership of property was in effect in America. Since communal Utopias sound so good I should have realized it would have been tried here first. It achieved the same results we have seen in Cuba, USSR, Eastearn Europe, China and the rest.

A pity that we seem to want to return to a way of life that brought starvation with it.

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