Comments on: How the Industrial Revolution created modern debt Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: Bonnedocks Fri, 10 Feb 2012 13:07:17 +0000 As with all systemic problems, when local banks got big enough to go national and then international greed and profit became more important than helping “store” local successes and make more by lending a portion to others.
Morals and intergrity were used to compare banks not profit, hence decay in the banking industry. Which gave rise to investment schemes with effective lobbying of government ruling bodies.

By: acebros Fri, 10 Feb 2012 02:26:53 +0000 Ian, it doesn’t even take a plague — just the perpetual optimism of youth. BTW the dramatic rise in real wages after 1350 was first demonstrated before WWI by an English husband-and-wife historian team whose names escape my decaying memory….In any case, Coggan has an interesting topic but he seems to have spun the book out of an evidently fertile mind with not so very much attention to the data. Too bad.

By: Ian_Kemmish Thu, 09 Feb 2012 22:24:33 +0000 Actually, all it takes for a _personal_ expectation of increased income in the future is a good plague or civil war to wipe out the competition. As a recent study at Warwick University showed, the Black Death and the English Civil War both coincided with some of the biggest leaps in per capita income in the whole millennium. No Industrial Revolution is necessary.

Or, since this is the US edition of Reuters, an ever-expanding frontier will do almost as well.

And in any case, there are other things that can cause people with money to start trying to lend it. Such as not having anything else to do with it. In the 15th Century a glut of financial products around Florence gave us the Renaissance. In the 21st, a glut of financial products around New York gave us the current mess. Heigh-ho.

I rather think that I shall not be buying this book.

By: acebros Thu, 09 Feb 2012 20:48:05 +0000 Wow. You have your economic history dead wrong, Mr. Coggan — principles more-or-less correct, facts simply wrong.

Fact: the accumulation of surpluses in agricultural economies started in the Neolithic; those surpluses financed, oh, Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the Mayan cities, the Trojan War — any class of non-agriculturalists, and any non-agricultural activity, was supported by surplus produced by agriculturists. How could it have been otherwise?

So the move from subsistence economies to economies which extract and re-allocate agricultural surpluses, which you associate with the 18th-19th centuries, actually happened some five thousand years earlier — not a trivial error.

As to individual households, as opposed to economies: systems which finance peasant production have been in existence since at least the late Roman Empire. All the various forms of sharecropping are a form of agricultural credit, as are the Indian village moneylenders and the parallel figures in other traditional societies.

What I believe you are trying to get at is the development of consumer credit for, broadly speaking, industrial workers. This has nothing to do with subsistence or surpluses or productivity — only with the joint expectation of lender and borrower that continued employment will enable continued debt service. That’s not particularly interesting.

There are plenty of interesting things to be said about the structural shift to an economy which is radically based on ever-increasing consumer consumption, but I don’t think that is your topic.

Anyway, the confusion of a subsistence household — one which eats everything it grows — with a subsistence economy, which by your definition could only be the aggregate of isolated Paleolithic hunter-gatherer bands, leads you into some unfortunate historical bloopers.