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- ISBN: 9780199944279 | 019994427X
- Cover: Hardcover
- Copyright: 1/2/2013
After 1688, Britain underwent a revolution in public finance, and the cost of borrowing declined sharply. Leading scholars have argued that easier credit for the government, made possible by better property-rights protection, lead to a rapid expansion of private credit, and see the Industrial Revolution as a result of the preceding revolution in public finance. InPrometheus Shackled, prominent economic historians Peter Temin and Hans-Joachim Voth examine this hypothesis using new, detailed archival data from 18th century banks. They conclude the opposite: the financial revolution led to an explosion of public debt, but it stifled private credit. This resulted in markedly slower growth in the English economy. Temin and Voth collected detailed data from several goldsmith banks-Child's, Gosling's, Freame and Gould, Hoare's, and Duncome and Kent. The authors look closely at Hoare's, founded by Sir Richard Hoare in 1672, because of its excellent records. Numerous entrants tried their hand at the new business of deposit banking; few survived and fewer thrived. Hoare's and a small group of competitors did both. Temin and Voth chart their growth in the face frequent wars and heavy-handed regulations. This new data allows insights into the interaction between financial and economic development. Government regulations such as setting a maximum interest rate caused severe misallocation of credit; a misguided attempt to lighten the nation's debt burden led directly to the South Sea Bubble in 1720--analyzed in detail here--and frequent wars caused banks to call in loans, leading to sharply slower economic growth rate. Wartime borrowing crowded out investment. Far from fostering economic development, England's financial revolution after 1688 did much to slow it down-the Hanoverian "warfare state" was a key reason for slow growth during Britain's Industrial Revolution.Prometheus Shackledis a revealing new take on one of the most important eras of financial development.