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

By James Macdonald

These days, the concept the best way a rustic borrows its cash is hooked up to what sort of executive it has comes as a shock to most folk. yet within the eighteenth century it used to be usually authorized that public debt and political liberty have been in detail comparable. In A loose state 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 lifestyles of democratic associations within the old global? 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 heritage that starts in biblical occasions, specializes in the most important 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 us, 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. this day the 2 are, it sort of feels, divorced--but figuring out their hundreds and hundreds of years of cohabitation is essential to appreciating the democracy that we now take without any consideration.

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C. 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.

During the second century, the property qualification was lowered to 4,000 asses and then to 1,500 asses before being ended entirely under Marius around 100 B. c. The city-states of Greece and Rome were "military" democracies. And increasingly their democratic credentials came to depend on military successes that generated ever larger numbers of chattel slaves. Slaves rendered the agricultural labor of the free peasants unnecessary and simultaneously gave them more time to concentrate on war and politics.

Military service was viewed as much as a privilege as an obligation, and those with assets of less than 11,000 asses (the as was the principal monetary unit, originally one pound of copper) were excluded from the army. As the strains of ruling a growing empire challenged the social and military basis of republican society in Rome, one of the first symptoms of its decay was the proletarianization of the army. During the second century, the property qualification was lowered to 4,000 asses and then to 1,500 asses before being ended entirely under Marius around 100 B.

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