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Dreams of order and freedom : debating trade management early 17th century England

Listed author(s):
  • Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak


The catharsis produced by the early 1620’s trade crisis had a significant impact on the way economic themes were regarded by public opinion in England. As a result, those who analyze the ideas put forward in the documents written during that period – be they printed pamphlets or official memoranda – are left with the impression that an adequate supply of money was the undisputed primary concern as regards economic administration. However, as already stressed by Barry Supple, monetary administration only occupied a prominent position in the political agenda of early 17th century England during times of crisis – that is, when the kingdom was faced with a perceived threat of demonetization. This paper tries to show that, during the first two decades of the 17th century, concern with an inflow of bullion and a positive balance of trade was only of secondary importance, being normally overshadowed by a more fundamental aim: promoting a well-ordered structure for the economic relations of the kingdom, according to specific views of what constituted proper trade management. This approach encompassed both foreign and domestic activities, and found its most evident manifestation in the debates about free trade and monopolies which permeated the whole of James I’s reign.

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Paper provided by Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in its series Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG with number 457.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Handle: RePEc:cdp:texdis:td457
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  1. Kindleberger, Charles P., 1991. "The Economic Crisis of 1619 to 1623," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(01), pages 149-175, March.
  2. Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak, 2011. "The role of experts in the public assessment of England´s trade crisis of the early 1620´s," Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG td421, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
  3. J. D. Gould, 1952. "The Royal Mint In The Early Seventeenth Century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 5(2), pages 240-248, December.
  4. Raymond de Roover, 1951. "Monopoly Theory Prior to Adam Smith: A Revision," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 492-524.
  5. Gould, J. D., 1955. "The Trade Crisis of the Early 1620's and English Economic Thought," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 121-133, June.
  6. Lawrence Stone, 1949. "Elizabethan Overseas Trade," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 2(1), pages 30-58, August.
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