Gl0balCD t1_j4cxwlu wrote

I agree. I just threw in an estimate from a source that has honestly no validity as a reliable source. I totally agree about the problems with using CPI, you should always use a variety of measures such as proportion to GDP or purchasing power. Any historical estimate is going to be questioned because all methods produce different results and each have both advantages and disadvantages. I've seen graphics that have put Mansa Musa or Julius Caesar as the richest person in history, but you can't ever make an apples to apples comparison


Gl0balCD t1_j3851yh wrote

It was equivalent to about $270 b USD today ( They had the ability to pay this, but the logistics were another thing. It was not easy to pay out quickly without crashing the German economy, thus the Dawes and Young plans were established.

The fact that they did pay it off after 70 years does indicate the abilities to pay, just not all at once. No one ever expected to receive reparations in one lump sum

The reparations were the same as Germany imposed on France in 1871, matched by inflation. The 1871 reparations were the same as the Napoleonic reparations, adjusted for inflation. You really can't understate the tit-for-tat of Franco-German relations during this time.


Gl0balCD t1_j37fby0 wrote

The Treaty of Versailles was meant to prevent the Germans from ever having the power to start another war of that scale again (mostly by the French). No one wanted the Weimar Republic to fail, as that would concentrate power with a few individuals.

The problem of reparations can be seen in two lights: willingness to pay, and ability to pay. Germany was one of the largest economies in the world, so the ability to pay shouldn't really be questioned. It was the willingness to pay that was the problem. Who are you going to tax to raise the reparation funds? No one was willing to pay a tax for the war that Germany had been winning right until the end. So they printed money and borrowed foreign currency in international markets.

It was in 1932 when the Americans called in those loans to Germany. This essentially crashed their economy again and made Hitler look like a prophet (he stated that the Americans were not their friends and would financially ruin Germany only months before). Hitler fully intended to do away with the republic if elected, and did it within weeks of becoming Chancellor. It wasn't a guaranteed failure, but it was an explicit goal of the Nazi party.


Gl0balCD t1_j0hbwdg wrote

When you pull samples and see that every tree had less growth x rings ago, you can determine aspects of weather.

Weather can have a huge impact on war. D-Day occured when it did because it was a clear day. Vikings spread from Scandinavia because there wasn't enough fertile land to go around. Napoleon in Russia. Similar theories exist for the bronze age collapse. The seas around Cape Horn meant that controlling the Cape of Good Hope was crucial for controlling global trade.


Gl0balCD t1_izfta83 wrote

During the period from 1492 to roughly 1800, the views of trade were different than today. Today economics classes focus on the mutual benefits of trade, in that each nation can buy goods for a lower cost than they can make them, and we can sell goods at a comparative advantage to make even more money.

At the time, trade was seen as mutually exclusive. This means that resources I import have now been lost as their potential to be imported by you. There was "trade", as in the transfer of goods and wealth from the colony to the homeland. However, each colonizing power essentially worked in autarky.

Enter the Dutch. The Netherlands were essentially a piece of the Spanish empire that broke away. It's a small, below sea level area that had little going for it. But access to the north sea allowed connections to be built overseas, and they realized they could profit from trade in both Europe and the world. They were one of the richest nations because they bought British wool and sold it to Europeans. Then their trade outposts (such as New Amsterdam, today NYC) continued to contribute.

The Spanish largely kept the transfer of goods internal to their empire. It's the modern equivalent of the cold war, little transfer of goods between the imperial powers. The Spanish didn't rely on other European nations for goods, and they believed that trading with them would only hurt their own ambitions within Europe.


Gl0balCD t1_iy0dlge wrote

Futures. Futures are a forward contract (sign a contract today for a transaction at a future date) that are standardized for stock exchanges. You can watch the expected future price change based on current market movements. Futures reflect the expectations of traders, and thus the market as a whole.

Commodity companies will trade these contracts to hedge against price falls (basically locking in a price for the gas before they actually refine the oil).