August 10

Ep. 0144: Rise of the Cane Kingdom, Part 2

Join CJ as he discusses:

  • An overview of American sugar politics since 1959.
  • A detailed look at the Fanjul family, who escaped Castro’s revolution, came to Florida, and (with a LOT of political entrepreneurship) built a sugar empire that eventually overtook even the U.S. Sugar Corporation
  • Big Sugar’s labor problems from the ’60s through the ’90s
  • Big Sugar & South Florida’s environment
  • The sugar industry’s impact on health & science
  • Big Sugar in recent years

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Category: American History, Economic History, Podcasts, Power Elite | Comments Off on Ep. 0144: Rise of the Cane Kingdom, Part 2
July 28

Ep. 0143: Rise of the Cane Kingdom, Part 1

Over the past century, large-scale sugar cane cultivation was developed in what became known as the Everglades Agricultural Area, the region just south of Lake Okeechobee, historically a part of the Everglades ecosystem which was drained in the early- to mid-twentieth century. However, making sugarcane cultivation in this area feasible & profitable has required massive amounts of government subsidization, including: draining the land in the first place & maintaining flood control infrastructure ever since; funding soil experiments; assisting sugar companies in finding cheap, controllable labor until the coming of mechanization in the 1990s; and keeping out foreign sugar & keeping the US sugar price artificially above the world price (usually 2-3x higher.) The sugar companies that receive all of this welfare often get to “profit” immensely, and up until a few decades ago were allowed to wreck havoc on South Florida’s ecosystem with impunity.

This is a fascinating story, and it’s also a very vivid real-world historical case study that illustrates a lot of concepts we’ve talked about on the DHP in the past, such as public choice economics, rent-seeking, the power elite, political entrepreneurship, etc.

Join CJ as he discusses:

  • Increasing US government policies designed to foster domestic sugar production (at the expense of consumers & taxpayers at large) in the late-nineteenth & early-twentieth century
  • Efforts by various people to create a ‘sugar bowl’ in South Florida during this time
  • The effects of the First World War on ‘the sugar question’
  • Renewed efforts to cultivate cane in South Florida in the 1920s & 30s, with increasing success
  • The creation of the United States Sugar Corporation (USSC) in the 1930s
  • The impact of World War II on sugar
  • Big Sugar’s shady labor practices, and their eventual turn towards highly controllable & exploitable foreign “H-2” laborers
  • The impact of the Cold War on Florida sugar, including the crucial impact of Fidel Castro’s 1959 Cuban Revolution

Support the Dangerous History Podcast via Patreon

CJ’s DHP Amazon Wish List

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The Dangerous History Podcast is covered by a BipCot NoGov license; learn more at BipCot.org

The Dangerous History Podcast is a member of the Dark Myths Podcast Group & LRN.fm’s podcast roster.

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Category: American History, Economic History, Podcasts | Comments Off on Ep. 0143: Rise of the Cane Kingdom, Part 1
November 5

Ep. 0084: DHP Villains: Robert Morris, Original Bankster

Robert Morris is one of the lesser-known “Founding Fathers” today, even though arguably he was one of the most important and influential.  He served as a virtual chief executive of the country in the latter years of the Revolutionary war and was the father of the American Federal Leviathan and the crony capitalist system that lives in symbiosis with it.

(BTW, I was a bit under the weather, but happy to get this one cranked out anyway!)

Join CJ as he discusses:

  • Robert Morris’ origins, rise in business, and entry into American politics
  • His role early in the war as a key member of the Secret Committee of Trade, and some of his questionable dealings in that capacity
  • Morris’ leaving of Congress in 1778 and return in 1781 as Superintendent of Finance, a post he held until 1784
  • Morris’ role as one of the most powerful members of what historians now refer to as the “Nationalists,” who pushed for a stronger central government, more taxes, a central bank, and a large, fully funded national debt, as means by which to create a system in America more to their liking
  • The eventual success the ‘Nationalists’ had several years after the war, when they became the ‘Federalists’ who wrote & implemented the Constitution
  • How Robert Morris’ handpicked man for Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, succeeded in implementing most of Morris’ wishlist during the Washington Administration, and the legacy that has passed onto American history ever since

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February 19

Ep. 0052: A History of the US Dollar Part 5: Ticking Timebomb of the Petrodollar

Finally, we conclude our non-consecutive series on the history of the history of the US dollar with part 5, looking at the story of the dollar following the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system.  (This podcast was actually recorded over the course of 2 commutes — the first half in the morning commute to work, and the second one in the afternoon commute home.)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How the ending the ‘gold window’ in 1972 led to high inflation, which led to negative consequences (including some not purely economic) for society
  • The approaches of the Ford and Carter administrations to dealing with inflation
  • How, under first Carter and then Reagan, Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker (appointed in 1979) used high interest rates to staunch (though not completely stop) the erosion of the US dollar’s value in the early-1980s
  • The reasons that the dollar still (mostly) operates as the world reserve currency despite its obvious flaws and vulnerabilities, including the meaning of the term ‘petrodollar’
  • How things will go wrong, sooner or later, with this system, and how the remedy used previously by Volcker (high interest rates) could not realistically be used today by the Fed, even if they wanted to do so
  • A few thoughts on ways to prepare for this eventuality

Links to Previous Episodes in this Series:

(“Business Graph with Dollar Stock Photo” courtesy jscreationzs at freedigitalphotos.net)

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October 9

Ep. 0035: A History of the US Dollar Part 4: Rise and Fall of Bretton Woods

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The Bretton Woods system, set up in 1944 as the framework for the international monetary order
  • The roots of the Great Inflation (c. mid-1960s-early-1980s) that would end Bretton Woods & any link between the US dollar and specie (gold & silver), including the rise of  the so-called “New Economists”, who pushed a Neo-Keynesian view that relied heavily on a model called the “Phillips Curve”  (BTW, the stagflation of the 1970s later proved that the Phillips Curve doesn’t always work)
  • How the Great Inflation came to be, looking across multiple decades & presidential administrations
  • The government’s responses to inflation, including de-monetizing silver in the mid-60s & ending the Bretton Woods ‘gold window’ in 1971
  • Some of the effects of inflation

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September 29

Ep. 0033: A History of the US Dollar Part 3: From Reconstruction Through the New Deal

Here it is, another installment in our non-consecutive mini-series on the tumultuous history of the United States Dollar.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How hard money was eventually restored after the Civil War
  • The Mint Act of 1873 (called the “Crime of ’73” by its opponents)
  • The Populists’ (unsuccessful) challenge against the Gold Standard
  • The establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 and its effect on US money
  • Inflation/devaluation during the First World War
  • The actions of Benjamin Strong (Head of the NY Fed) in the 1920s to help the British pound, moves which also caused the stock & real estate bubbles of the 1920s, which burst in 1929
  • The end of the gold standard, gold confiscation, and the devaluation of the US Dollar under FDR in the 1930s, and how this was actually one of the factors that led to the Second World War

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September 4

Ep. 0026: A History of the US Dollar Part 2

We continue with our non-consecutive mini-series on the history of the US dollar, which has changed repeatedly over the centuries.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How, in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War Continental Dollar inflation, most of the Founding Fathers were soured on paper money, and took the opportunity of writing a new Constitution to reinstate a hard money (specie) standard
  • The loopholes that remained within the system even after hard money was written into the Constitution that allowed the banksters to still inflate to their own advantage
  • The Coinage Act of 1792 and its effect on the definition of US money
  • How banks (especially central banks) still created some inflation thanks to the ‘magic’ of “fractional reserve banking”, and also sparked business cycles – though by today’s standards the US dollar’s value was remarkably stable overall
  • How the not-so-Civil War spelled changes in American money that were just as dramatic as the changes the war wrought in so many other arenas, with the Union experiencing high inflation, and the Confederacy experiencing hyperinflation

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August 14

Ep. 0021: A History of the US Dollar Part 1: Through the Revolution

Why cover this topic?  First off, because the history of money is a lot more interesting than you might  think, and it’s absolutely crucial to understanding the world, past, present, and future.

This will be part 1 of a multipart series (right now I estimate it will probably be around 4 parts) covering the history of the United States dollar.  The series will be non-contiguous — ie, interspersed with episodes on other, probably non-related topics.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • Why money matters to understanding the world
  • British money of the colonial era, bimetallism, and Gresham’s Law
  • Other things the colonists used as money when coinage wasn’t readily available
  • Some of the desirable qualities in a commodity that make it work better than others as money, and some of the reasons why gold and silver function so well as money historically
  • The origins of the dollar — originally a Spanish coin modeled on a Bohemian coin, actually
  • The first paper money inflation in the Western World — in colonial Massachusetts
  • How overprinting of paper money in MA (and later in other colonies) disrupted their economy, and reinstating of hard money revived it
  • The Revolutionary War Continental Dollars, and the hyperinflation that resulted
  • A few updates on the show, how it’s going, ways to support it, thank-yous to those who have, and a few remarks about the future of the show

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An excerpt from the TV show DuckTales which shows how increasing the money supply dilutes the value of the money (Uncle Scrooge has more economic sense than our leaders!)

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