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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 ...

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