The Williams Thesis, Part I
Very good and useful! Some thoughts:
1. Someone should do a Fogel-No-Railroads study on No-Cotton. What if a disease had killed all the cotton in the world in 1500? People wouldn't have gone naked. They would have used flax and wool, the more expensive threads. How much would GDP have fallen? Would growth have been affected at all?
2. Similarly, how about No-Settlement? What if the Spanish had taken the entire New World and not allowed settlement north of Mexico? How much European GDP would be lost?
3. Similarly, No-Black-Slaves.
4. As many in the survey noted, the first-order effect of having a big slave economy in the New World is to hurt industrialization in Britain, not promote it. The Spanish having a lot of wealth in the New World from minerals didn't lead to Spanish industrialization; more the opposite. If Jamaica plantations ahve amazing profit rates, that means all the British capital would flow to Jamaica, not Yorkshire.
5. GOIng the other way, but small: When a Jamaican planter made his pile, he used it to buy an estate in England, to be sure. But that's just a transfer, to the extent it's land rather tahn mansions. The old squire, enriched by the Jamaican purchase money, would invest it, whether in cotton mills or back to Jamaica for slaves and expansion of the sugar plantations.
Gosh, much to ponder, much to consider. Thank you for this interesting take on a much misunderstood period.
> would have been smalle
You've got an extra 'e' at the end.
Very informative, ta. I presume at some stage that slavery did not do the same for France, Spain or Portugal becomes important. Or is British exceptionalism just presumed?