Henk Penseel's Wittenborg Blog: on Money & Power
Money makes the world go round and money gives people power. Sometimes direct, sometimes indirect, or in the long term. How powerful was Holland in the 17th century with its VOC (United East Indian Company)? The word ethics was not in the vocabulary of the gentlemen running this enterprise for which you could already buy stocks on the Amsterdam stock exchange. But the money that came in, made Amsterdam more than a decade the centre of the world.
After Great Britain the United States of America became dominant in the world in the 20th century. On January 17th 1893 a group of American sugar cane planters subjected the kingdom of Hawaii, and removed queen Liliupkalani. Hawaii is now the 50th state of the USA and considered a nice holiday resort.
The US government paid 7 million dollars for Alaska, because Russian leaders thought the land was worthless. It is now an important supplier for America's gas and oil.
On behalf of the Dutch United Republic Peter Minuit bought Manhattan for 60 guilders (now worth around 1000 dollars), which we named New Amsterdam, but later swapped for Surinam. A square meter in New York city might cost even more than that.
Countries that possess raw materials become more and more important, because raw materials cost money. And the more scarce they are, the more expensive. If you have lots of it (oil in the Arabic nations, gas under the North sea for Norway), then you have money and power. With money you create power. The billionaires know that, bankers know that, multinationals know that. Therefore, apart from a few loose regurgitations, they are pulling the strings in the world.