A Free Nation Deep in Debt: The Financial Roots of Democracy by James Macdonald

By James Macdonald

These days, the concept the way in which a rustic borrows its cash is attached to what sort of govt it has comes as a shock to most folk. yet within the eighteenth century it used to be in general authorised that public debt and political liberty have been in detail similar. In A loose kingdom Deep in Debt, James Macdonald explores the relationship among public debt and democracy within the broadest attainable phrases. He begins with a few primary questions: Why do governments borrow? How can we clarify the life of democratic associations within the historical international? Why did bond markets come into life, and why did this ensue in Europe and never elsewhere?Macdonald unearths the solutions to those questions in a sweeping heritage that starts in biblical occasions, specializes in the foremost interval of the eighteenth century, and maintains right down to the current. He levels the realm, from Mesopotamia to China to France to the U.S., and reveals proof for the wedding of democracy and public credits from its earliest glimmerings to its swan track within the bond drives of worldwide struggle II. at the present time the 2 are, it kind of feels, divorced--but knowing their enormous quantities of years of cohabitation is important to appreciating the democracy that we now take without any consideration.

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D. 200), crop taxes were generally a modest one-fifteenth to one-thirtieth of production, and the peasants' main burden was the poll tax-not to mention compulsory unpaid labor of one month per year. The state's fiscal armory also included a comprehensive range of property taxes on all sectors of the population. 21 The ubiquitous direct taxes by no means exhausted the resources of the great empires. There were extensive revenues from crown lands and from state monopolies, which might include mining, forests, foreign trade, minting, and salt distribution.

Beyond the frontiers, the primitive tribes were often far from the pushovers that they seemed. A period of internal weakness might open the gates to these unwelcome visitors; but just as often, it was large-scale demographic movements quite beyond the control of the civilized empires that created pressure on their TRIBES AND EMPIRES 19 frontiers. Toward the end of the Bronze Age, from around 1600 B. , the ancient world was increasingly disrupted by waves of tribal migrations similar to those that would herald the end of the classical world after A • D.

37 Historians have objected that Aristotle's total of twenty thousand persons represented the large majority of the adult male citizenry, and that he was a biased observer. But other sources tend to confirm that the intention, at least, was as Aristotle suggested. ) TRIBES AND EMPIRES a5 The Peloponnesian War consumed the accumulated wealth of the Delian League. Athens, of course, merely "borrowed" the funds in the treasury; but even if the military outcome had been less disastrous, it is unlikely that they would have been repaid.

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