Capitalism: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Capitalism has brought enormous benefits to society. Millions have been lifted out of extreme poverty.

Yet it also has a dark side. A predatory side. This side is uncomfortable. This side is also revealed from time to time. For example, it was brought to light in the COVID-19 pandemic. It brought out the best in people; it brought out the worst in people. As Charles Dickens once said,

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

It seems like Dickens was writing about the times we live in. Paul Krugman a Nobel Prize winning economist was alert to the sinister effects of capitalism. This is what he said,

“Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on workers. The economy has plunged so quickly that official statistics can’t keep up, but the available data suggest that tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, with more job losses to come and full recovery probably years.

But Republicans adamantly oppose extending enhanced unemployment benefits — such an extension, says Senator Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican, will take place “over our dead bodies” (Actually, over other people’s dead bodies.)”

Is this what western democracy and capitalism has come down to? I will help the sick and poor only over my dead body!  Is this not predatory capitalism at its most ugly? Over our dead bodies…

What do the Senators have in mind? This is Krugman’s view:

“They apparently want to return to a situation in which most unemployed workers get no benefits at all, and even those collecting unemployment insurance get only a small fraction of their previous income.

Because most working-age Americans receive health insurance through their employers, job losses will cause a huge rise in the number of uninsured. The only mitigating factor is the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, which will allow many though by no means all of the newly uninsured to find alternative coverage.

But the Trump administration is still trying to have the Affordable Care Act ruled unconstitutional; “We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” declared Donald Trump, even though the administration has never offered a serious alternative.

Bear in mind that ending Obamacare would end protection for Americans with pre-existing conditions — and that insurers would probably refuse to cover anyone who had Covid-19.

Finally, the devastation caused by the coronavirus has left many in the world’s wealthiest major nation unable to put sufficient food on the table. Families with children under 12 are especially hard hit: According to one recent survey, 41 percent of these families are already unable to afford enough to eat. Food banks are overwhelmed, with lines sometimes a mile long.

But Republicans are still trying to make food stamps harder to get, and fiercely oppose proposals to temporarily make food aid more generous.”

 

How much more brutal do the Republicans, standing in for the corporate elites want things to get? I really don’t know how far they are willing to go. Are they really willing to let 41% of American families starve, as Graham seems to suggest? That seems to be a starting point. But where will it end?

Again here is Krugman:

But we’re only now starting to get a sense of the Republican Party’s cruelty toward the economic victims of the coronavirus. In the face of what amounts to a vast natural disaster, you might have expected conservatives to break, at least temporarily, with their traditional opposition to helping fellow citizens in need. But no; they’re as determined as ever to punish the poor and unlucky.”

In the past so-called Conservatives have claimed such draconian policies were necessary because otherwise the poor who received handout would lose their incentive to work. Why work when you get handouts? Forgetting first of all, that the reality is very few people prefer handouts to work. Forgetting that in America and Canada work is part of most people’s self-identity and sense of worth. People without work lose their sense of worth and even in many cases their sense of identity. They are also forgetting that currently with unemployment in the US standing at 14%, the highest rate since the Depression, there is no work to be had! Nonetheless, as Krugman said,

“What’s remarkable about this determination is that the usual arguments against helping the needy, which were weak even in normal times, have become completely unsustainable in the face of the pandemic. Yet those arguments, zombielike, just keep shambling on… There was never serious evidence for this claim, but right now — at a time when workers can’t work, because doing their normal jobs would kill lots of people — I find it hard to understand how anyone can make this argument without gagging.

Added to that there is a lot of hypocrisy among Conservatives who also claim that we can’t help the poor and sick any more than we do because it will increase the deficit and impair our ability to help the sick and poor in the future. First of all, letting them die will not help them in the future! Secondly, it is obvious that they don’t want to help any more than they are doing now and this attitude is not likely to change in the future.”

Finally, as Krugman pointed out,

you still hear complaints that spending on food stamps and unemployment benefits increases the deficit. Now, Republicans never really cared about budget deficits; they demonstrated their hypocrisy by cheerfully passing a huge tax cut in 2017, and saying nothing as deficits surged. But it’s just absurd to complain about the cost of food stamps even as we offer corporations hundreds of billions in loans and loan guarantees. 

Krugman sought an understanding of the motivation of Conservative parsimony. This is how he explained it:

“So what explains the G.O.P.’s extraordinary indifference to the plight of Americans impoverished by this national disaster?

One answer may be that much of America’s right has effectively decided that we should simply go back to business as usual and accept the resulting death toll. Those who want to take that route may view anything that reduces hardship, and therefore makes social distancing more tolerable, as an obstacle to their plans.

Also, conservatives may worry that if we help those in distress, even temporarily, many Americans might decide that a stronger social safety net is a good thing in general. If your political strategy depends on convincing people that government is always the problem, never the solution, you don’t want voters to see the government actually doing good, even in times of dire need.

Whatever the reasons, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Americans suffering from the economic consequences of Covid-19 will get far less help than they should. Having already condemned tens of thousands to unnecessary death, Trump and his allies are in the process of condemning tens of millions to unnecessary hardship.”

Grim words or grim reality? You decide.

Manitoba Crocus: A Spring gem of a wild flower

 

The first botany trip of the year in Manitoba is always a big deal. Today was no exception. My doctor  called me on the phone yesterday and confirmed I could go outside because the chances of passing on pneumonia were now “extremely low.” That was good enough for me.

 

This has been a crazy year. First, we were driven out of Arizona in mid-March because of the COVI-19 pandemic. This was before I had any chance to see cactuses in bloom in Arizona. In other words, this was a “dreadful pity,” to quote the Red Rose tea commercials.

 

Then when we got back to Manitoba we were basically quarantined. We are not supposed to go out at all except for important matters and then only if we stay a safe social distance from people, which basically means 2 metres or more. I felt Sandilands Provincial forest was a very safe place to go. In fact I only saw 3 groups of people. 2 were in cars that drove past me without stopping. The other was a small group of people cutting some trees for firewood and I drove past them in my car. So I felt no guilt at all about being out and about.

 

I drove to ta site near  Hadashville in Sandilands Provincial Forest and had no trouble finding the crocuses site but found no calypsos. These are Manitoba’s first orchids each year.  This was plenty late enough for them to be blooming but this year has been very cold in spring. Did I miss them? I tentatively concluded that they were late this year, but that might just be wishful thinking.

 

Since I could not photograph calypso orchids the first of the Manitoba orchids I spent the time photographing crocuses. I already have hundred of photographs of crocuses, but I always hope to capture a better image. The fun is in the chase. Crocuses were still in bloom.

Life is good.

Villages of the Dead

 

Historian Richard White told a remarkable story about John Work of the Hudson’s Bay Company and how he led a group of trappers into California in the summer of 1833. He described the villages of the Central Valley now one of the greatest agricultural areas in the world, as “populous and swarming with inhabitants.” But when he returned in the winter, only 5 months later, he described the villages as “almost deserted and having a desolate appearance. He called them “villages of the dead.” He found the “few wretched Indians who remain…are living apparently unable to move.” Without knowing it, Work and his men had brought malaria with them to the Central Valley They did not do it deliberately, but that illness had devastating effects on the inhabitants.

After that Work and his men continued on to Oregon. And of course malaria came with them again. Malaria virtually depopulated the Willamette and lower Columbia regions. As Professor White said, “Twenty thousand or more people died in California, untold thousands more in Oregon. It is almost unimaginable to consider what life in these villages that were turned into mausoleums must have been like. At the same time it is equally difficult to comprehend the indifference shown by some Europeans or Americans encountering these astonishing scenes of devastation.”

Historian Richard White described a scene at a trading post this way: “In 1837 Francis Chardon, in command of the American Fur Company post on the Missouri, witnessed the outbreak of smallpox among the Mandans. On a warm summer day in July a young Mandan died. And with that death, the journal that Chardon kept became one of the most chilling chronicles in American history because he watched so closely and cared so little. He tallied dead Indians: he tallied rats his men killed in the fort. For him they seemed part of the same equation.” Of rats and men I guess you might say. What’s the difference?

The Indians, as the Americans called them, were not so indifferent. They knew the whites had brought these diseases to their country and they blamed them for it. Sort of like Americans now blaming the Chinese and the Chinese returning the favour. But, as White said, “By August Indians were dying so fast Chardon stopped counting.” There was nothing they could do.

A Mandan Chief, Four Bears, who had long been a friend of the whites gave one last speech before he died in which he told how his trust in whites had been misplaced. The whites, he said, “I always considered as brothers, turned out to be my worst enemies.”

After this the suicides began. One Mandan woman killed her two children and then hung herself. Many others did the same. The Mandans of one region were ravaged. According to Chardon more than 800 died and only 42 were left. In total, of about 8,000 Mandans only 250 were left. Of course, after that, their culture was wiped out too.

The story of European settlement of the west was not entirely heroic.

Sad Debris of Tribes

 

What always amazes me was how fast the diseases travelled after Europeans arrived in North and South America. It is remarkable how that happened. It seemed impossible; it was not. We have all learned something similar  in 2019-2020 with the incredible speed of COVID—19 that shocked us all. But that was done with the aid of modern transportation that allows planeloads of people from Asia to arrive in North America in a day. Yet the speed of diseases after first contact between Europeans and indigenous people was even more amazing than that, without any such modern transportation. See my earlier post on the speed of European diseases.

As Professor White pointed out,

“The first wave of diseases often arrived ahead of Europeans: it seemed a disaster without immediate cause. Later epidemics came directly, spread by contact with the Europeans, and the infected went to their graves knowing the source of the pestilence that killed them.”

The effect on the “lucky ones” who survived was demoralizing. Their world was shattered. It was as if not just their lives but their cultures were obliterated! It is hardly surprising that the effects cascaded through the generations after that. The people were crushed. And all of us still feel the effects.

It is difficult for us to comprehend how diseases can destroy whole peoples. COVID-19 is a pipsqueak pandemic compared to what happened in North America after Europeans arrived and found people who had no natural immunities to the diseases they carried often without incident.

Professor White described the advance of diseases this way:

“They died in staggering numbers. In 1698 the French missionary Father St. Cosmé reported that in the villages of the Quapaws of the Mississippi there were now “nothing but graves.” In 1738 smallpox struck the Missouri, and where there had been “32 populous villages of Arikara” there were in 1803 but three formed from what the French-Canadian trader Pierre-Antoine Tabeau called the “sad debris” of tribes that had formed the larger Arikara confederation.

Remember this was long after the first arrival of Europeans in 1492. This was 300 years later and it was still going on! We who have recently experienced COVID-19 hope that it will go away after a couple of months! Diseases don’t always play by the rules. They certainly don’t play fair. As

White said,

“In the late 1700s and early 1800s the new epidemics were still sweeping over the Pacific Coast. To the early European explorers, it seemed that they had stumbled on a vast necropolis. When he sailed into Puget Sound in 1792, George Vancouver described deserted villages, the houses in collapse, the buildings and surrounding woods filled with human bones. Theodore Parker wrote similar descriptions of this trip down the Columbia River in 1835. In the 1840s John Sutter and other white travelers in the Sacramento Valley saw collapsed houses filled with skeletons and old village sites littered with skulls and bones.”

I don’t want to belabor the point, but I want it to sink in. This was nearly 350 years after Columbus arrived on the continent and about 100 years before I was born. This is not ancient history.

 

Sullen Madness

I have recently been struck by the fact that the current COVID-19 health pandemic we are facing resembles what happened to the Indigenous people of North and South America after the arrival of Europeans on their hemisphere. Only that was much more extreme!  It was even worse than the epic flu epidemic of 1918. We have a lot to learn from that  encounter.

The adaptation of indigenous people to the European invaders was remarkable, but they were fighting against the odds. As Professor Richard White said, “The ecological invasion that European contact had continued unleashed and  continued unabated. Diseases previously unknown to Indians, and to which they had no resistance, ravaged North America. Other diseases, such as syphilis and tuberculosis, which may or may not have been present earlier, spread to new areas.

 The new diseases were horrendous to people who had no natural immunities. Just like the current COVID-19 epidemic is proving a challenge to western nations even with their incredible wealth, science, experience, and expertise. the indigenous people of the Americas were not blessed with such advantages. One would have thought the modern western countries were in a good position to respond to the current threat. But they have not responded as well as we might have expected.

Non-indigenous people of the west, after epidemics and pandemics in recent years that have included: Ebola, SARS, MERS, swine flu, avian flu and COVID-19 are beginning to appreciate this, even though none of these came anywhere near matching the extraordinary effect of diseases on indigenous people of the Americas after contact that might have killed nearly 95% of the native population. There might have been 90 million people killed after the European invasion! But that was not the whole ugly story. There is more.

The new diseases of North America and South America ravaged some peoples and decimated others. Yet that was not all. As Professor White pointed out,

“But these new diseases did more than kill. They polluted the channels of everyday life. Smallpox disfigured those who survived. Rubella harmed the fetuses of pregnant women and marked the children for life. In the wake of epidemics, blind or scarred survivors or mourning relatives could become suicides, taking their lives in what the English trader James Adair called “sullen madness.” Venereal diseases turned love and pleasure into pestilence: they also took their toll on the generation to follow. Syphilis caused miscarriages and infected infants at birth. Tuberculosis made what once had been secure if dark longhouses and earth lodges into pest houses where the tuberculosis bacilli thrived. It made what had been the tasks of daily life—for example the chewing fibres to make baskets—into sources of contamination.”

Imagine living on continents or in nations or tribes where 95% of the people died! Think how the survivors must have been shell-shocked by that. Our current experience pales into significance in comparison. Even after all that, their misery it was just beginning! Life for “those who made it” became even worse—it was hell.

I will continue this discussion soon.

A Day of Adventure in the hospital

 

Frankly, I had an adventure on Thursday. On that day the COVID-19 pandemic got personal. Too personal. It was an exciting day. It was one of the most interesting days of my life, but not the most fun by a long shot.  Much too exciting for an old man who no longer looks for thrills.

The day started mildly. I spent a pleasant hour or two sitting in our lovely sunroom reading and occasionally peeking out at the birds at our bird feeder.  Nothing special.

Later, in the morning I noticed I was not feeling well. I was a developing what I thought was a mild fever. I kept quiet about it because I did not want Chris to worry about me. But the fever got worse. Around noon or slightly later, Chris noticed I didn’t look good. Worse than “normal” in other words. She suggested strongly I take a nap. I did not argue with her, as I thought that might make the fever go away.

I feared the fever meant I had COVID-19 because it is one of the common symptoms of it is the flu-like coughing, along with shortness of breath, or a runny nose. So I did not like that. I hoped after a nap I would feel better.

When Chris woke me up I did not feel better; I felt a lot worse! This was starting to get serious. While I had been shopping Chris did a little investigating and found out I should go the Emergency of the Hospital.

The most amazing thing happened next. I had such a strong fever that I became delusional! Again, even more delusional than “normal.” When Chris came to see if I was ready to drive with her she found me sitting on the bench seat by the shoe wrack and I was making strange movements with hands. “What are you doing?’ she asked. I replied, “I’m scrolling my computer.” When she challenged me I realized I was delusional. There was no computer near me. I had no idea what I was doing. Fever is a powerful force. My confusion was a powerful effect of fever. I had never experienced that in my life. I know people think I have often been delusional but this was big delusion.

I actually thought I could drive to the office where I wanted to have some work done while I was gone to the hospital for a test. I wonder what would have happened if a person who did not realize the difference a shoe rack and a computer was driving down Main Street? So Chris wisely drove me to the hospital.

In the hospital I got the COVID-19 test which felt like the technician stuck a pipe cleaner through my nostril right into the centre of my brain. Thankfully the extreme discomfort did not last long. They did a number of other tests as well.

In the hospital I was running a temperature (fever), my blood pressure was very low, and I was not getting enough oxygen. While I was waiting I heard an ugly word—“sepsis”. I had never heard of sepsis until my sister Diane contracted it after a ruptured appendix. She was virtually unconscious for 6 months, nearly died that night, and never lived independently again. And now the same word was used in relation to me. Now I was really worried. For the first time, the seriousness of my condition started to sink in.

In time they solved all the problems and determined my problem was pneumonia not COVID-19. The test results later confirmed this. So I am fine though still taking medication for the pneumonia.

I want to say one important thing however. I want to thank the hospital staff for the outstanding care I received. I asked everyone for their names, but don’t remember all of the staff the first day I was in. I remember some names like Maria, Mark, Shauna, Colleen, Melissa, Jimmy, Dr. Hof and Dr. Johwanda, if I spell their names correctly. Most of them are women. I just want to concentrate on Maria as an example. She was one of the most perky people I ever met. She said thank you to every single health worker who went through our unit. She was very upbeat yet very professional and never afraid to walk into my little room even if I was wearing my mask improperly.

These people who work in the emergency rooms put their lives on the line, often with inadequate protective gear and work on any and all patients. They are the genuine heroes of this pandemic along with food service workers and all kinds of service persons. They are not the highest paid people in our society by a long shot. Many of them are women and immigrants. I salute them. I thank these people from the bottom of my heart.

When I got back I heard Ken Burns, the producer of those wonderful PBS documentaries, interviewed on TV. This is what he said. “What could be a more noble position than a nurse right now. All of us are sheltering in place and building moats around us to protect ourselves and our families and that is understandable. And we have people, mostly women, who are moving toward the danger and that to me is ennobling.” Here, here.

 

When the world gives you lemons think tulips

 

I had a bit of an adventure and will blog about it as soon as I learn what happened. Ordinarily at this time of year I would be out and about photographing crocuses. The Canadian sign of spring. Since that was not possible I had to find an alternative. And there was one. Christiane had bought some beautiful tulips. The Dutch sign of spring.

 

If the world gives you lemons; make tulips.

I love tulips almost as much as orchids. I have been as far as the Keukenhop Gardens near Amsterdam to see their lovely garden of tulips. Probably the best place in the world to see tulips. The tulips were late in blooming that year and we were on time. Not a good combination. But we still saw lovely flowers.

 

Did you know that at one time tulips were so popular that the prices skyrocked to such insane prices that when they fell as inevitably they do, it created a recession? The original stock crash. Something we are learning about again. I have been to the annual tulip festival in Ottawa a few times. The best place to see tulips in Canada. Canadian tax dollars at work.

 

But today I was confined to my house and yard, so I photographed tulips in my backyard. They were not blooming, I dragged them outdoors for better light.

It was a fine day. I hope you had one too.

Resilience

 

For a while in the 18th century it looked as if the indigenous people of the Americas had weathered the storm of European devastation. There is no exaggerating how disastrous contact with Europeans was on the indigenous people. Yet, indigenous people were nothing if not resilient. Non-indigenous people often falsely accuse indigenous people of being too married to their traditions. Why don’t they change with the times they often ask. Well they did. Richard White a Professor of History at Washington University has shown how false this assumption was:

“If the Indian peoples of the eighteenth century had been wedded to tradition, then there would have been no horse nomads on the Great Plains, no Navajo sheepherders or silver workers or weavers. There would indeed be, no Navajos, no Lakotas, nor Muskogees, nor numerous other groups who first began to think of themselves as separate and distinct peoples in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

In a world of disaster, Indian peoples forged opportunities. In the midst of a population collapse that turned villages into funeral pyres, they created new peoples and new tribes and confederacies. In a world where old ideas seemed incapable of explaining so much change, so much misery, and such staggering possibilities, they spawned prophets, rebels, and saviors in a seemingly unending profusion. Since Europeans could not be banished, Indians sought to include them in a common world and pursued new ways and forms to control and contain them. And, for a while, it all seemed possible.”

All of these were adaptations of Indigenous people to the new reality of life with Europeans.

In many cases indigenous people after contacting Europeans, created new traditions, which they passed on to their youth. They adapted. In fact they had to be great adapters in order to survive an extraorindary onslaught more horrific than that faced by any other people, anywhere, ever.

 

Royal Charters and beautiful plague

One of the instruments used by the British crown to advance its imperial interests was the issuance of Royal Charters authorizing the creation of corporations to advance the perceived interests of the crown and their loyal supporters. The Hudson Bay Company was a good example in Canada.  The East Indian company was another example. These were used around the world. These corporations were often given monopolistic authority to exploit the people and resources of the new territories. Of course those authorities were always granted by the crown without consulting the wishes of the people who inhabited those territories. Rarely did the European monarchs acknowledge that the indigenous people had any rights to oppose their desire or to own the land or resources even though they had occupied the land for millennia.

The English crown relied entirely on the right of “discovery” in the early phases of their colonial exploitation of the new continent. This is based on the false assumption that the land was “empty” before Europeans arrived.   The doctrine refers to “savages having no knowledge of the Divine Being” and whose ancestral territories were “hitherto uncultivated.” The colonists were royally authorized to wage war against these “barbarians” if necessary and even “to pursue them beyond the limits of their province.” The King even said that if necessary the settlers could “If God grant it, to vanquish and captivate the Indians; and the captives to put to death, or, according to their discretion to save.”

The European colonists took this as a license to do what they felt was necessary—anything and everything—in the pursuit of their exploitation. It is hardly surprising that genocidal actions ensued by those engaged in hot-blooded exploitation. As historian Anthony Hall said,

“Many of those engaged in colonization interpreted the plagues and diseases that had dramatically thinned much of the Aboriginal populations along the eastern seaboard as divine sanction for the effective extinguishment of Indian rights and title in the early charters. In 1631, for instance, Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts explained, “God hath consumed the natives with miraculous plague, whereby the greater part of the country is left void of inhabitants.”

Some might call it beautiful plague.

Genocide in the Americas

 

Of course there were specific acts of genocide in North America and South America. Like the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 where the U.S. Army’s Seventh Cavalry committed an atrocity mainly against women and children. Brave army that was. They said it was done in retaliation for the slaughter at the Battle of Little Bighorn where Siouian warriors under the direction of Chief Crazy Horse defeated General George Custer and most of his soldiers. The Battle of Little Bighorn was seen by many as the final military attempted crushing of Aboriginal Independence in the United States, if not North America. As Anthony Hall mentioned in his wonderful book, The American Empire and the 4th World, “At the time of this massacre the Indian population in the area of the present-day United States had been reduced to 200,000 from an estimated pre-Columbian population of between 10 and 20 million.”

As I have said before many of those deaths resulted from hidden biological warfare launched by germs that the European invaders unknowingly carried with them, but others from specific acts like this battle.

Those battles led, in Canada to an oppressive regime of shackling Indigenous peoples, who were not released from them them until after World War II and even then only to some extent. The main instrument of that dominance in Canada was the Indian Act, an infamous federal statute that has been amended many times but is still with us today, which I will blog about soon. I think people who don’t know about the Indian Act will be shocked. Until that law was changed, the  indigenous people of Canada were not allowed to organize, for fear of repetition of the violence against the control by Europeans and their descendants.

Whether the word “genocide” or not is used, there is no doubt that the process of transforming indigenous societies by European colonization was a harsh disaster for the Indigenous peoples. As Hall described it,

“…the actual process of transforming some of the richest and most extensive Indian societies on the planet proved catastrophic for the Indigenous peoples. Thus began the world’s most ruthless and sustained episode of ethnic cleansing, one that many believe continues yet. From its earliest stages, this drive aimed to extinguish Aboriginal civilization of the Americas and to replace it with an expanded transatlantic domain for the culture of Europe and for Western civilization.”

If you look at the modern definition of “genocide” now embedded in international law, you will that this clearly qualifies as genocide.

At times the Aboriginals looked to the monarchs of the Old World to staunch the bleeding. At best that met with mixed success. For example in New Spain the Spanish monarch was seen as the only force capable of protecting any Aboriginal rights. However, as Hall said,

“While the Spanish sovereign sporadically placed some checks on the murderous excesses of the Spanish colonists, the interventions of the central authority were generally too weak to moderate significantly the acquisitive zeal that attracted fortune-seeking immigrants from Europe to the New World”

England hardly provided more protection than its Spanish rivals. As Hall said,

“While England’s early colonial enterprises in North America were shrouded in the language of Christian evangelization, a more pressing spur to join in Europe’s transatlantic expansion was the fear that, if action was not quickly taken, Roman Catholic powers, including Portugal and France, would soon monopolize and control the apparently vast wealth of the so-called New World.”

Whether we like it or not, or admit it or not, this history is still with us today. Our society in fact is built on that genocide.