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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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Simple Patterns: Britain and the Industrial Revolution

Simple Patterns: Britain and the Industrial Revolution

(p.75) 4 Simple Patterns: Britain and the Industrial Revolution
Mountains of Debt

Michael Veseth

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the British experience with structural change and fiscal crisis, before dealing with the postwar United States. The rise and decline of Victorian Britain is a variation on the theme of structural change and fiscal crisis played out in the case of Renaissance Florence. History did not repeat itself in Victorian Britain, but certain underlying themes of human nature can be found in these two important periods. Britain adapted extremely well to one set of very large structural changes, the ones that created the Industrial Revolution. However, the patterns that led to that success became rigid and prevented Britain from responding to a second set of structural changes late in the nineteenth century. The result was that Britain, like Florence, was overtaken by other nations and slipped from the top rank.

Keywords:   structural change, fiscal crisis, United States, Renaissance, Florence, Britain, Industrial Revolution

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