Business and Polity explores, through a variety of economic and political formations over the past two and a half millennia, right from the Greco-Roman civilization to present day globalization, the behavior of two power networks: those who control the levers of political power and those who engage themselves in wealth-generating activities. It traces the dynamics of interdependence between these two powerful networks and what happens when one or the other becomes more powerful.
The rational and logical approach taken by the author reveals the links that our modern state of affairs has with the experience of past civilizations—knowledge that can potentially enhance our ability to make informed decisions to shape the global future. Though the content is academic and interdisciplinary in scope and nature, its lucid presentation will appeal to a wide range of readers who are interested in geopolitical issues and economic, political and business history.
Chapter 12: Fiscal Revolution: Grip of Financiers
Fiscal Revolution: Grip of Financiers
The alliance between political and business entrepreneurs, though mutually beneficial, was inherently unstable. First, the mercenaries were unreliable; second, there was no administrative and fiscal set-up to manage and service the growing debt. On both fronts, the European polities took up reform measures that were, in more senses than one, revolutionary in their implications. Over the 17th and 18th centuries, an astonishing increase took place in the size of national armies and navies, as well as the supporting bureaucratic and fiscal apparatuses. The two reforms were to be the solid foundations for viable nation-states.
By the 16th and 17th centuries, the major powers had standing armies, professionally-equipped and trained and kept in perpetual readiness for war. Apart ...