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The Rise of Financial Capitalism


  • 46 b/w illus. 37 tables
  • Page extent: 288 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.513 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 332.63/2/0941
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: HG5432 .N43 1990
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Capital market--Great Britain--History
    • Capital market--Netherlands--History
    • International finance--History

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521382052 | ISBN-10: 052138205X)

Replaced by 9780521457385


This work establishes the existence of a sophisticated and smoothly functioning system of financial markets in the mercantile states of northwestern Europe throughout the 1700s. Based on computer analysis of thousands of price quotes from the financial press of the eighteenth century, the results should force both historians and economists to reevaluate their understanding of the evolution of financial markets and their importance for the economic developments of that era.


1. Historical background for the rise of financial capitalism: commercial revolution, rise of nation states, and capital markets; 2. The development of an information network and the international capital markets of London and Amsterdam; 3. The early capital markets of London and Amsterdam; 4. The Banque Royale and the South Sea Company: how the bubbles began; 4. Appendix: were the Mississippi and south sea bubbles rational? 5. The Bank of England and the South Sea Company: how the bubbles ended; 6. The English and Dutch East India Companies: how the west was won; 7. The integration of the English and Dutch capital markets in peace and war; 8. The English and Dutch capital markets in panics; 9. The capital markets during revolutions, war and peace; 10. A tale of two revolutions: international capital flows 1792–1819; 11. The London and Amsterdam stock markets, 1800–1825.


" original and provocative book that breaks new ground in the quantitative history of eighteenth and early nineteenth century financial markets, and it is not a criticism of the book to say that it raises more questions than it answers. Neal provides a synthetic historical framework for analysing financial market development and performance during this period, some detailed evidence on select pieces of that history, and an impressive new source of data, all of which will have a lasting impact on subsequent work in this area." Journal of Economic Literature

"The fascination of this book derives from its blend of story-telling with up-to-date econometrics...As the European Community prepares for greater freedom in capital as well as goods markets, Neal's book provides a sobering historical perspective." Martin Ricketts, The Times Literary Supplement

"Larry Neal's The Rise of Financial Capitalism is everything one would expect from the culmination of a 15-year research project by one of America's leading economic historians of Europe. Solidly though not exclusively based on the exploitation of a voluminous but previously underutilized source of data on English asset prices...the book proceeds to analyze a series of episodes and issues in the history of eighteenth-century financial markets in London, Amsterdam, and to a much lesser extent Paris." David Weir, Journal of Economic History

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