Capitalism has always been an economic system that operated on an international scale. The capture and sale of Africans was an important source of the original accumulation of capital in the early stages of capitalism. Forceful conquest in the Americas and Africa was a major source of the inflow of precious metals into Europe. These precious metals made possible the monetization of much of the European economy-a necessary precondition for commodity production. And forced subjugation of innumerable colonial peoples created many privileged sanctuaries of profiteering for the many government-created or government-protected European trading companies during the early stages of capitalism.