Christopher Columbus did not know know the Mongolian Empire was no more. All he knew was that Eurasia had lost the safe and prosperous trade routes the Mongols had once provided, and he wanted to resurrect this lost source of trade. So when we set his sails westward, he wasn't looking for India (contrary to what you learned in school), he was looking for the Mongol Court.
Indeed, no emperor valued free trade more highly than Genghis Kahn. His descendants and military ensured merchants safe travel. Shelters were erected with provisions every thirty miles, and in some areas, guide to lead merchants entering new territory. Passports and credit cards were created, as well as paper money.
Perhaps most importantly, he abolished taxes and tolls that increased transportation costs without increasing the value of the goods traded.
(This is something America's founders understood well, when in an amalgamation of fiercely independent states, they prohibited states from charging fees to merchants transporting goods across state lines. Facts like these are causing me to rethink the idea that decentralized power is always a more desirable power.)
It should be noted that this free-trade ideology was not just an ideology based on gains from trade, but the manner in which Mongol tribes instituted shares, where each ruler of one area of the empire shared some of his tribute with all other Mongolian warriors, requiring a safe and convenient transportation system. The shares helped reinforce Mongolian cohesiveness.
However, it is not like the U.S. has a free trade policy due to ideology alone. Lobbying by exporters plays a vital role in ensuring free trade.
Whatever you think about Genghis Kahn, when it comes to trade, he is an economist's ideal ruler.
Genghis Kahn and the Making of the Modern World.
Three Rivers Press.
- Understanding Social Interactions is Difficult
- Somewhat defending Barney Frank
- Libertarian Paternalism
- Econophysics is a joke
- Bailey's Radio Interview
- Sometimes they actually say it...
- Sustainability means activism
- and the pope knows not how to respond...
- Christopher Columbus Loves Genghis Kahn
- What little I know about taxes and income inequality
- About the rich and the taxes they pay
- Podcast interview on farm animal welfare
- A Pulitzer winner talks about writing and liberty
- The power of Atlas Shrugged
- So awesome a quote
- Writing For The Public About Ethical Issues
- Prepared Remarks About "Gasland" Documentary
- Reasons to love Genghis Kahn
- Low unemployment rates for agricultural economics ...
- Great Hobhouse Quotes
- This blog posting is not accurate
- Integrity in Macroeconomics
- Rational Economic Man?
- Food Safety: Who Regulates the Regulators?
- Small farms are all we need
- Don't hate the merchant, hate the game
- Overrated Universities
- Galbraith on Keynes
- Galbraith on lecturing
- Galbraith on Tenure
- Piquo and Welfare Economics
- ▼ November (31)
- ► 2009 (71)