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The Financial Decline of a Great PowerWar, Influence, and Money in Louis XIV's France$
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Guy Rowlands

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199585076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585076.001.0001

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Rent-Seeking in the Military Paymaster World

Rent-Seeking in the Military Paymaster World

(p.199) 10 Rent-Seeking in the Military Paymaster World
The Financial Decline of a Great Power

Guy Rowlands

Oxford University Press

After 1701 French finances were dominated in an unprecedented way by men associated directly with the war effort. Although grand theft was far harder to pull off than half-a-century earlier, there were still considerable opportunities for gain, sometimes illicit, in the business of military pay and supplies. Volatile bearer bills could be parcelled out to unfortunate army officers and lesser suppliers, while the increased volume and tradability of financial instruments brought greater opportunities for speculation and ramping up the price of contracts. The most favoured financiers and suppliers were also heavily indemnified and protected against losses arising from financial instruments and state-related debts. In an early example of a military-industrial complex, some of these men even managed to penetrate the government as second-tier ministers, where they promoted their own interests, pushing the government into damaging policies and contracts that further increased the cost of the War of the Spanish Succession.

Keywords:   corruption, indemnities, fraud, speculation, contracts, military-Industrial complex

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