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Mountains of DebtCrisis and Change in Renaissance Florence, Postwar Britain, and Postwar America$
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Michael Veseth

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780195064209

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195064209.001.0001

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Mountains of Debt and the Heart of Florence

Mountains of Debt and the Heart of Florence

(p.46) 3 Mountains of Debt and the Heart of Florence
Mountains of Debt

Michael Veseth

Oxford University Press

Economics and politics are two sides of the same coin. This was particularly the case in the Renaissance, when the coin was a florin. Economic trends and conditions in Florence determined its political structure, which in turn affected the economy. In this way, fiscal crisis slowly worked its way throughout the body of the Florentine state until it became the central organ of the city's life. This relationship will dominate the rest of the discussion of structural change and fiscal crisis in Florence. The financial innovations that contributed so much to the growth of Florence and the wealth of the Florentines evolved into a set of institutions that removed the incentives that had led to economic growth. Dry, paper finance had replaced the real productive investment, and the forces of the catasto and the Monte etched a conservative pattern on the economic life of Florence.

Keywords:   economics, politics, Renaissance, florin, structural change, fiscal crisis, Florence, catasto, Monte

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