Source: Over 2,000 Years of Economic History in One Chart


Two guys set out to do exactly this. One was the Portuguese Vasco da Gama, who actually did reach India, and loaded his boat full of spices back home. He proceeded to load up on black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg, setting up a couple of pirate stations,until he was driven out by the Spanish, the Dutch, and the British, who did the serious work of massacring entire islands worth of the local people to claim exclusive ownership of the spice. Nobody appeared to have thought about just buying a couple of seedlings and try to grow the plant themselves. It was some seriously messed way to get one’s hand on nutmeg, something that basically grows like weed in any tropical environment.

两个家伙正整装出发,就是为了这一目的。其中一个,就是葡萄牙人瓦斯科·达·伽马(Vasco da Gama),他成功抵达了印度,并满载香料而归。此后他更开始大量贩运黑胡椒、肉桂和肉豆蔻,并在航运线路上建立了好几个非法站点,直到他最终被西班牙人、荷兰人和英国人赶跑;而后面这几位更是非常“勤快”地屠戮了一座座岛屿,清洗了岛上居民,然后宣称独占这些香料产地!似乎他们当中就没人想过要买几颗香料树苗,带回去自己种……这真的是一种为得到这些香料的非常病态的手段,尤其是肉豆蔻——要知道它们在任何热带环境中都能像野草一样生长。

Source: Da Gama Discovers a Sea Route to India


Then there was Africa, with 30,000,000 square kilometers, the size of Europe, China, India, all combined, 60 times that of Spain. So this was the scale of things in early 1500. List of countries by population in 1500 They essentially stumbled on a world 150 times bigger, filled with awesome treasures and rather mild-tempered locals, living off the land. So forget about the petty squabbles of those handful of self-important dudes and their lame myth-making, look at the numbers! The numbers! This is the whole story, right here!


It was indubitably ugly and bloody because the locals in the Americas, in Asia, and in Africa got destroyed. The ancient civilizations such as the Mayans and the Aztecs in the Americas, the multitude of kingdoms in India, the Khmer empire in south east Asia, the Malis in Africa, and countless others, all gone up in smoke, with only the ruined stones on the ground, and the gold plating peeled off and shipped to Europe. Triangular trade - Wikipedia
But the concentration of wealth seeded the growth of middle class in Europe, which in turn permitted an army of young, bright minds to get an education and then engage in science and technology development, without the constant struggle for survival. Einstein, Madam Curie, Linus Pauling, … these were all educated by government-funded public colleges and universities, without which none of them would be anywhere. What, do you serious expect the Windsors or the Habsburgs to, eh, discover new laws of physics or chemistry? They are not that smart. Have NEVER been that smart. No. The backbone of scientific discovery is the army of middle-class kids. They formed the basis for the 400-year-long Scientific Revolution. The middle-class nerds made those happen, over a much longer time period, because science is very much sequential - meaning you absolutely can’t get to Z until you first get to A, then work hard to get to B, then work hard to get to C,… all the way to Z. Painstaking, frustrating, boring, long and hard! But that’s where MODERNIZATION truly comes from.


But after 500 years, this once-in-a-life-time disturbance is receding, and the rest of the globe is catching up, re-balancing. With a LOT LESS BLOODSHED than when the wealth was concentrated 500 years ago. It turned out that the children of those slaughtered natives are just as intelligent and capable as the Europeans.
Source: globalinequality
From the look of it, there aren’t a lot of time left for Generation Three to be pounding out these kinds of questions on the keyboard. Better hurry then!