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Journal of the History of Economic Thought Preprints - Dreams of Order and Freedom: Debating Trade Management in Early-17th Century England

Carlos Suprinyak ()

No 3yu8g, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: The early 1620s trade crisis had a significant influence on the way public opinion in England regarded economic issues, and the pamphlets written during that period convey the impression that the supply of money was the undisputed primary concern of economic policy. However, monetary matters only occupied a prominent position in the political agenda of England during times of crisis, when the kingdom faced a perceived threat of demonetization. The paper argues that, during the first two decades of the 17th century, concern with a positive balance of trade was only of secondary importance, being normally overshadowed by a more fundamental goal: a well-ordered, stable, and properly managed trade. This opened the door for debates about the limits of free initiative and regulation in economic affairs, as evidenced most clearly by the debates about free trade and monopolies that permeated James I’s reign.

Date: 2017-08-10
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DOI: 10.31219/

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