The Political Economy of the Dutch Republic

The Political Economy of the Dutch Republic

Language: English

Pages: 346

ISBN: 0754661598

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In the first half of the seventeenth century the Dutch Republic emerged as one of Europe's leading maritime powers. The political and military leadership of this small country was based on large-scale borrowing from an increasingly wealthy middle class of merchants, manufacturers and regents This volume presents the first comprehensive account of the political economy of the Dutch republic from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century. Building on earlier scholarship and extensive new evidence it tackles two main issues: the effect of political revolution on property rights and public finance, and the ability of the nation to renegotiate issues of taxation and government borrowing in changing political circumstances. The essays in this volume chart the Republic's rise during the seventeenth century, and its subsequent decline as other European nations adopted the Dutch financial model and warfare bankrupted the state in the eighteenth century. By following the United Provinces's financial ability to respond to the changing national and international circumstances across a three-hundred year period, much can be learned not only about the Dutch experience, but the wider European implications as well.

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Proto-industrialisation and the moderate nature of the late medieval crisis in Flanders and Holland, 1350–1550’, in: P. Hoppenbrouwers and J.L. van Zanden (eds.), Peasants into farmers?, pp. 85–101. Rural Development and Landownership in Holland, c.1400–1650 173 Elsewhere I have demonstrated how proto-industrial activities in Holland had already begun in the fourteenth century, and had radically changed the character of the rural economy and society over the subsequent two centuries. The

land in Holland had come into the possession of burghers. This, at least, represents the consensus view found in the relevant literature.51 Actual figures to support this assertion, though, are lacking. In order to fill this lacuna, we have reconstructed the distribution of land in Holland for the year 1560, for which considerable detailed and reliable fiscal records exist.52 The figures below are calculated from the transcriptions of records that were made for each village. In total, we

being the wealthiest. In the ‘quality of the people’, the Dutch score very high with early economists, but – most importantly in our view – the industriousness of the people is normally mentioned in connection with the scarcity of resources: the one is considered to be almost a result of the other. That necessity is the mother of inventions (and imitations) was obvious to most of the contemporary economic observers, including Montesquieu. A final theme touched upon by many mercantilists is the

thereunto. And from all this was prepared a consistent ordering on which basis, from that time onward, the schedule of bread prices has been governed. The baking trials represented efforts to “demystify” the baker’s craft – to turn an art into a science. The bakers, of course, could always protest that such conditions were artificial, unrepresentative, and unrealistic, and they often did so. But throughout the 250 years of the new system broodzetting the commissioners never ceased their reliance

district. This public official was responsible for the collection of taxes, the sales of annuities and bonds, and the payment of interest on these loans from their tax receipts. Following regular instructions from the States of Holland the receiver issued loans on the local capital market. Throughout the seventeenth century successive holders of the receiver’s office came from a single Amsterdam family with excellent connections to a large number of potential lenders. They used their contacts

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