Monday, December 19, 2011

Same as it ever was

While we either resent or enjoy cheap Chinese imports, most of us think of them as a relatively recent phenomenon.

Check out this description of Chinese imports:

"much prettier articles than are made in XXXX and sometimes so cheap that I am ashamed to mention it" The trades "pursued by the XXXXers have all died out because people buy their clothes and shoes from the [Chinese]"

Hmmm, floods of cheap textiles and footwear that are killing domestic industries? Is XXXX the USA and 2011 the year?

No, XXXX is Spain and the time period is the 1580s!

The quotes are from Charles Mann's fascinating book 1493. (page 153)

At least the 16th century Chinese got paid in silver; their unlucky modern day disciples have to take green pieces of paper or electronic IOUs from Uncle Sam.

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