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A Free Nation Deep in Debt: The Financial Roots of Democracy
Nowadays, the idea that the way a country borrows its money is connected to what kind of government it has comes as a surprise to most people. But in the eighteenth century it was commonly accepted that public debt and political liberty were intimately related. In A Free Nation Deep in Debt, James Macdonald explores the connection between public debt and democracy in the ...more
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published January 15th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
(first published January 8th 2003)
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Historian MacDonald delves deeply into the roots of modern debt-based mechanisms of public finance to tell a tale about the development of democracy. He suggests that high per capita incomes are at best only a partial explanation for the rise of democratic institutions. More important, he argues, was the war-driven need of the leadership of tribes, pre-modern societies, and modern states to mobilize their societies in the face of external threats, particularly threats to collective security. As ...more