By James Macdonald

These days, the concept that the way in which a rustic borrows its cash is attached to what sort of executive it has comes as a shock to most folks. yet within the eighteenth century it used to be mostly permitted that public debt and political liberty have been in detail comparable. In A loose country Deep in Debt, James Macdonald explores the relationship among public debt and democracy within the broadest attainable phrases. He starts off with a few basic questions: Why do governments borrow? How can we clarify the life of democratic associations within the old international? Why did bond markets come into lifestyles, and why did this take place in Europe and never elsewhere?Macdonald reveals the solutions to those questions in a sweeping background that starts off in biblical occasions, specializes in the main interval of the eighteenth century, and keeps all the way down to the current. He levels the area, from Mesopotamia to China to France to the USA, and reveals facts for the wedding of democracy and public credits from its earliest glimmerings to its swan tune within the bond drives of global struggle II. this day the 2 are, it kind of feels, divorced--but figuring out their 1000's of years of cohabitation is important to appreciating the democracy that we now take with no consideration.

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Extra info for A Free Nation Deep in Debt: The Financial Roots of Democracy

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When the democrats subsequently returned to power in Athens, there was a public debate as to whether the city as a whole should repay the loan-the first recorded discussion of the duty of successor (most often revolutionary) governments to honor the debts of their ousted predecessors. In the event the assembly voted to honor the obligation even though it meant levying another of the unpopular eisphorai. TRIBES AND EMPIRES 37 Athenians never tired of boasting of this fine example of civic responsibility, although one might validly suspect that fear of antagonizing the thendominant Sparta played a major part in the decision-making process.

His building projects were so grandiose that they required labor levies to complete. His riches were legendary, and his palace was decorated with gold. The Persians, who established the largest empire that the world had yet seen, started out on their road to imperial grandeur quite uneducated in the principles of government. Herodotus tells a wonderful tale about Cyrus the Great's education on the principles of treasure formation at the hands of King Croesus of Lydia, the contents of whose treasuries were already the stuff of legend.

Their powers of economic management encouraged increased agricultural production via irrigation and thereby permitted greater population density. The size of these empires and the ample revenues of their rulers allowed them to maintain armies that no primitive tribe could rival. The extensive public treasuries and storehouses not only mitigated the vicissitudes of the weather but also provided ample reserves for military emergencies. It seemed that there were only two paths open to the surrounding tribes: to emulate or to be conquered.

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