A bunch of virtually free gold and mercantile policies didn’t help 16th Century Spain much. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:
SALTA, ARGENTINA – Yesterday, we visited the museum in the center of Salta.
It is a museum of the history of the city and the province, set in the repurposed town hall in the main square.
We had begun the day by going to mass in the old cathedral across the square – an ornate and opulent example of Spanish colonial architecture.
The cathedral is magnificent. It is a classic cruciform building with barrel-vaulted ceilings and a large cupula in the center.
Behind its altar, in the apse, is one of the most spectacular, over-the-top sanctuary adornments we have ever seen.
There is so much gold leaf over so many decorative elements, sparkling, shining, reflecting light in every direction; it takes your breath away.
Salta had never seemed like an attractive city.
But yesterday, we were surprised. After mass, we stopped for coffee at one of the outdoor cafes on the plaza.
The arcaded square – with the cathedral on one side and the town hall on the other – was splendid. In the center was a park with palm trees, green grass, and a huge granite monument.
Couples necked on the benches and families with young children strolled by. Nearby, a blind accordion player gave us fine renditions of tango favorites. The weather was perfect.
The museum is large with collections focused on three periods.
There is the pre-Hispanic period, with clay pots, arrowheads, and petroglyphs, some thousands of years old. Then there is a display of the colonial period followed by one of the War of Independence.
It was the colonial period we found most interesting. In particular, one room showed us samples of money used in the colonies and explained a bit about how the economy of the era worked.
We learned two things that may be of interest.
First, phony money always causes problems.
Second, “Spain First” didn’t work well back then, either.
To continue reading: The Problem With Phony Money