By Michael Bruno
This paper was once first awarded as my tackle, as president, to the 1995 Congress of the foreign fiscal organization in Tunis.
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Extra info for Deep Crises and Reform: What Have We Learned? (Directions in Development)
Nine boxes, collected by the Contaduría Mayor de Cuentas, contain a copy of every asiento issued between 1566 and 1600, among several other papers. While earlier scholars have analyzed these documents, they mostly relied on the summary description found on the first page of every contract. As we began our research, no scholar had yet attempted a comprehensive coding of the loan documents, which in many cases run to twenty or more pages. In an effort that spanned six years, we codified almost five thousand manuscript pages, clause by clause.
These were immensely costly; a British ship of the line in the eighteenth century cost more than the capital of the world’s biggest iron works (Brewer 1988). Warfare was not only frequent after 1500; it became a near-permanent feature of the political landscape. Tilly (1990) calculates that for every hundred years in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, there was a great power war under way in ninety-five of them; the rate for the eighteenth century is only marginally lower. At the height of intensive warfare, during the Thirty Years’ War, close to half of the European population was affected by military conflict in a given year, as table 1 portrays.
This process of consolidation interacted with centralization and military developments. States that lagged in developing an effective fiscal system and competent army were eventually absorbed by more successful powers. The costs of war were not limited to the pressures they put on the public purse. War could cause massive population losses and severe economic disruption. Borrowing diverted funds from civilian to military uses. In Britain, “crowding out”—the substitution of public expenditure for private investment—likely occurred (Williamson 1987; Temin and Voth 2005).
Deep Crises and Reform: What Have We Learned? (Directions in Development) by Michael Bruno