||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
National debt killed the Maya
It costs money to field an army, to erect monuments, and to provide social services. The Maya states, under their ahawob god-kings, needed to do all these. So whenever the Maya ahaw needed capital, he had to make promises. But to whom?
We don't have the Maya accounting ledgers. Whatever the Mormons imagine, there were no Jews in Mesoamerica to lend the Maya their moneys. Once Teotihuacan had fallen there weren't any other outside literate civilisations worth the name, either. The only counterparties available were other wealthy Maya. Who mostly weren't kings.
Several books on the Maya collapse - I recall Forest of Kings, and you can also read this one - have noted that, at the end, Maya society was run more by the nobles than by the titular ahaw.
Today we have the example of present day America. This nation owes twenty trillion. This is mostly in the form of bonds; Americans own most of these. So when people say that the US is "in uncharted territory", owing more money than is in physical existence, this means - in practice - that the wealthiest people in the world, mostly wealthy Americans, have the power to call shenanigans on the entire American economy.
In which case, we are in very charted territory. It's the map of Yucatan and Guatemala circa 870 AD.
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