The role of experts in the public assessment of England´s trade crisis of the early 1620´s
Economic pamphleteering in England during the early 17th century has often been described as an attempt to influence the course of public policy with the aim of either protecting vested interests or else promoting in earnest the adoption of a few mercantilist doctrines. However, these judgments pass over a more basic question: to what extent, if any, could members of the English business community influence public opinion and the policy decision-making process? Special consultations over pressing economic issues offered an opportunity for their voices to be heard, but the growing financial difficulties which the English crown faced at that time opened the main path available for their active engagement with public administration. Lionel Cranfield was by far the most successful of such cases during the period at hand, playing a leading role throughout the public debates which surrounded the trade crisis of the early 1620’s – over which the pamphlet literature, in contrast, seems to have exerted a much more limited impact.
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