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No, I dunno

But I can imagine it is true:

He praises the diligence of the report’s research, carried out by the accountants Grant Thornton, on details of the Bounty’s investments, but raises the absence from its work of a different, crucial dimension which peer reviewers would have noticed.

This is the fact that, in 1723 – three years after the South Sea Bubble had burst – Parliament passed a statute splitting the South Sea Company in two. One was the trading company. The other was the company which sold what was in effect government debt, paying interest on annuities.

The Commissioners’ report says that “anyone investing in the Company before 1740 was consciously investing in these [slave-trading] voyages.” Prof Dale says the opposite was the case. Those buying the annuities were consciously not investing in slavery. The statute’s purpose was to make this possible by what is now called “ring-fencing”, preventing any financial or legal relationship between the trading and the annuities. This was done, it seems, because the trading (of which slaves formed a big part, but not the whole) was high-risk. The smash of 1720 had showed how toxic the mixture of government debt with high risk could be.

After the Act, Queen Anne’s Bounty put all its money into the annuities – just the sort of lower but safer return you would expect a sober ecclesiastical organisation to seek. Once the split had taken place, it bought no shares in anything connected with slavery.

Between 1720 and 1723, it is true, the Bounty did invest £14,000 (about £2.4 million today) in the unsplit company and so, for a time, could have profited from slavery. As it happened, however, it did not. When Parliament divided the South Sea Company in 1723, it split the Bounty’s shares equally, too. The Bounty sold off its trading company shares quite quickly but retained and greatly expanded its annuities.

I can imagine it is true because in all this research into those slavery times the economics – even accounting – ixs truly, grossly, awful.

In the 1619 project they get Matthew Desmond (? anyway, a sociologist) to do the economics and he thinks that GDP counts intermediate goods. Sigh. Just this week I’ve been told that bribe of £20 million to free the slaves was 50% of GDP – no, 5%.

People missing the split of the SS Company? Sure, I can believe that.

10 thoughts on “No, I dunno”

  1. Otto Bishop of Kring


    Let them pay what they want. If they are stupid enough to pay reparations for something that did not happen that is their own fault. They can afford it.

    The CofE has lost its way even more dramatically than the Tories and has made me religiously homeless.

  2. I still feel the reparations should come from the Africans to us. Dumping all those criminals, murderers, terrorists and no-hopers on the poor old whites was the real crime.

  3. It makes sense though. The South Sea Company was a wheeze to reduce the National Debt.

    I found an old history book on my shelves which mentions it. Describing the project ad an early attempt at ‘abstract commecialism’

    In the actual state of its affairs the project was insane.. But the public at large were ready to be gulled and the promoters set on foot wild rumours of the golden nature of the adventure..

  4. Bloke in Pictland

    My first reaction was to remember an American Roman Catholic remarking that the best feature of the Episcopalian Church was that it reminded RCs that things could be even worse.

  5. Bloke in Pictland

    And another thing. People used to argue that that ass Welby had an advantage over many god-botherers in that he had worked for a decade in the finance side of the oil biz.

    His financial expertise doesn’t seem to extend to applying a critical intelligence to bogus business history. What sort of chump would hire an accounting firm to write history without having a historian or two give it a once-over?

    Maybe the answer is “the sort of chump who very much wanted to believe the bogus history they had served up”.

  6. Welby had an advantage over many god-botherers in that he had worked for a decade in the finance side of the oil biz

    Advantage? He brought with him the managerialist corporate philosophy whereby the line functions are always subservient to the staff functions.

  7. How long before Murphy finds a black Caribbean in his family tree?

    If anyone has some spare time and a strong stomach, linking him to a slave owner would be very funny.

  8. The Meissen Bison

    Forget the Caribbean background. The name could be an anglicization of Murthy with anglo-indian antecedents that go back to a colonial coffee planter in Karnataka.

  9. BiW, Meh….. Everybody alive nowadays has a likelyhood bordering on certainty to be descended from both slave-owners and slaves.

    There is not a single civilisation in history where there wasn’t a period where slavery was a simple fact of life. Doubly so when you include “war brides”.
    We all are descended from a mix of the winners and losers of that ever-shifting rat race, especially since slavery status was by no means fixed in those days, nor was freemen/citizen status.
    So it’s next to impossible to not have slaves or slave owners in your ancestry.

    In fact.. you’d be worth countless billions if you could claim neither, because your lineage must have been so preserved that you’d be genetically similar to the very first european settlers..
    Oh wait… We know from modern DNA tracing they actually did the Warbride thing…
    So yeah…. impossible…

    As for the Spud…. Why bother? He’d ignore it as “irrelevant” , because then suddenly there’d be Reasons He Wouldn’t Be. You know how the slug is….

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