We live in an era where the name Sackler can be removed from the British Museum, but the Parthenon Marbles are kept, along with many other spoils of Empire.
The next heir to the throne and his wife are rightly trounced on a tour of the Caribbean. But if there are reparations for slaves, should there then be reparations for miners and other entrapped cogs in the imperial machine ?
You can watch Downton Abbey, Bridgeton and Sanditon and long for those days where everyone ’knew their place’, but you then have to actually ask: ”where did all that wealth go” ? The billions, perhaps trillions, generated by Empire. Where did it go ? Some stately homes that are now National Trust or English Heritage ? Those royal palaces ? The Church of England ?
Certainly, the miners of South Wales or the cotton mill workers of the North of England were nearly enslaved and saw no benefit.
Churches and town halls were built, magnificently.
But where did that coin go ? All that money from selling slaves and heroin and tea and spices to the world at large ?
The UK was never a wealthy country and was utterly bankrupted by two world wars, to the degree that the war debt was only recently paid off and we maintain a debt at nearly 90% of GDP, despite having the largest empire the world has ever know at the time.
I ask again, where did all the money go ?
Today, we operate in a world barely removed from Victorian politics, where attendance at Eton and Oxford are the only pre-requisites for high office.
We know where the privilege comes from, but where did the money go ?
You cannot destroy matter and the amount of water on earth is always constant, no matter how many storms, ice, melts or rainfall. So what about wealth ?
We now mine wealth, wasting precious resources in an abstract model which is as absurd as currency, or gold, or diamonds or futures, or short positions…
Fragile URIs are contracted to sell for millions.
Wealth is created, then what ?