"I" for Inevitable
Just over 400-years ago today, a groupof 13 conspirators were caught trying to assassinate King James I of Englandand blow up the House of Lords in what became known as the Gunpowder Treason.
If you've ever seen the movie V forVendetta, you know the story. Guy Fawkes was found underneath the House ofLords with three dozen barrels of gunpowder... and to this day, his effigy isstill burned annually in commemoration of the event.
Fundamentally, the Gunpowder Treasonwas about freedom. The English monarchy at the time was controlling nearlyevery aspect of the economy and their subjects' lives-- from what they couldwear to how they could worship.
"Sumptuary laws" which regulated privatebehavior were commonplace. Elizabeth I, for example, re-introduced a beard taxon all facial hair grown in excess of two weeks.
She also published long lists,categorized by social class, dictating precisely what color and type of garmenther subjects were required to wear.
It turns out these sumptuary laws werejust an early form of state-sponsored corporate welfare; the English textileindustry had paid Elizabeth huge sums of money in exchange for royal decreesabout knitted caps and woolen socks.
As a consequence, a great deal ofEnglish labor and disposable income was misallocated towards silly garmentsinstead of being put to more productive uses... and the country was in analmost perpetual state of stagnation.
Not to mention, English financesdeteriorated under Elizabeth. By 1600, state expenditures were 23% greater thantax revenue, which would be the equivalent of a $550 billion budget deficit inthe US today. Not exactly a trivial figure.
James I, Elizabeth's successor,continued to spend extravagantly and indebt the English economy, oftenshowering taxpayer funds on a handful of favored nobles.
By the time James's successor CharlesI came to power, the monarchy's credit was running so thin that Charles had toforce people to loan him money; those who refused were imprisoned and had theirproperty confiscated.
Unsurprisingly, civil war broke out in1642. Charles I was executed in 1649, and the genocidal dictatorship of OliverCromwell dominated England for the next decade.
When you think about it, this collapsewas inevitable.
For decades prior, the entire Englisheconomy was under the control of a single individual who massively indebted thestate, impeded growth, and reduced people's individual freedoms. Not exactly arecipe for long-term success.
The Gunpowder Treason of November 5,1605 may have been a failure for the conspirators, but given enough time, asystem so screwed up, so unsustainable, was destined to collapse onitself.
We're not so different in the westtoday.
We have our own sumptuary laws,regulating everything from tobacco consumption to what foods we can/cannot eat.We have our own state-sponsored corporate welfare. We're comically indebted.
And just like the English monarchs, wehave a tiny elite that controls absolutely everything about our economy--taxation, regulation, and the supply of money.
Needless to say, this is alsounsustainable. And history shows that these types of unsustainable systems willalways collapse under their own weight.
Is it wise to think that this time isany different?
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com