Dealing with the enemy-the old world order


During the brief regency of Philip II Duke of Orleans (1715-23), a Scot named John Law urged the French monarchy to adopt his “system” of public credit and paper money. Rau fell out of favor and was exiled in 1720, when the failure of his joint-stock company, the Mississippi Company, led to the collapse of France’s newly established central bank. France did not issue banknotes again until 1795, but Law believed that if his system persisted, “it will maintain peace in Europe.” American scholar John Schofflin called Lao’s legacy as “jealous credit”, which means “a careful review of the public credit of competitors in order to imitate their innovations or undermine their success.”

Xiao Fulin challenged the 18th-century traditional notions of unbridled confrontation and aggression between France and Britain by placing more emphasis on the accumulation of diplomatic negotiations and business lobbying to cut cross-channel tariffs and seek other ways to promote free trade. As the world today turns to increasingly geopolitical competition on trade issues, “we can benefit by looking back at the earliest difficult efforts to institutionalize a stable and peaceful global order.”

The period after the Glorious Revolution in 1688 confirmed the dominance of parliament and Protestantism. This was the first period when geopolitics was driven mainly by capitalism rather than by religion or dynastic competition. When Britain established the Bank of England in 1694, it spurred commerce by introducing public credit and expanding its money supply, which robbed France of the limelight. If France had agricultural resources and a huge population, and insisted on the labor system, he believed that it could have occupied a dominant position in Europe as a “benevolent hegemon” without having to compete with the United Kingdom and the Dutch Republic for the trade of Hispanics, thus ensuring Silver currency that maintains its currency and suppresses its money supply. Schoflin believes that paper money is the key to ending trade jealousy, because although some silver is still needed, it “will no longer be the lifeblood of the kingdom.”

“The Founding of the Bank of England, 1694” (1905), The History of England from Kassel, Volume Three © The Print Collector

On the contrary, fierce trade competition between France and Britain evolved into a series of wars. As Schofflin said: “Once established, hegemony will be stable; future hegemony may release tremendous violence.” The first of these wars lasted from 1688 to 1713, when France, Britain and the Dutch Republic signed The “Treaty of Utrecht.” (The clever John Law also came up with an idea in 1717 to convert 250 million livres of unfunded French war debts into highly liquid company stocks that helped the money supply.) In the 1720s and 1730s, the United Kingdom Long-term peace between Sir Robert Walpole and France under the leadership of Cardinal Fleury. Walpole stepped down in 1742, Fleury died in 1743, and Britain and France went to war again the following year, this time for four years. Then at the beginning of the Seven Years’ War in 1756, conflicts between Britain and France broke out in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, India, and Europe.

In the 1760s, Britain tried to use smuggling between Britain and the Bourbon Empire to weaken its rivals, while France used the free port as a counterattack. Free trade is not so much a goal as it is one of the strategies to maintain the balance of power between trading opponents.

But Xiao Fulin is more interested in the various attempts to get rid of the war policy, as well as the various plans put forward by diplomats, literati and mosques, and others. philosopher Encourage trade to replace war. For example, the French heavy farming originally wanted France to become the most important agricultural generator, but later changed its mind and proposed a French-British partnership to control global trade, on the grounds that without Britain or France, no other country could maintain conflict. Finance. David Hume deplored the hindrance of the British war debt to the economy, and opposed the old Pitt’s dream of a universal monarchy of trade, because the burden of maintaining the sovereign empire far exceeded the commercial benefits of a closed empire.

“Robert Clive and Mir Jafar after the Battle of Placy in 1757”, Francis Hyman (1760) © Alamy

Congressman Thomas Pownall, who was the governor of Massachusetts and South Carolina, has always been a staunch defender of the British monopoly on American trade. However, after 1776, in Schoughlin’s words, he accepted “taking the new global free trade order as an example. The broad vision of the center”. About the United States” and urged Britain to play a leading role in it. In fact, American commercial independence is a game changer. The benefits of free trade in the 19th century to Britain were enough to make up for her losses in the American colonies. At the same time, The newly established French Indian company and the British East India Company reached a settlement on the Bangladesh trade issue, while the Earl of De Vergens negotiated a Anglo-French trade treaty. Those who are troubled by Brexit should probably pay attention.

For Schoflin, it is not so much a question of how things will be different if certain counterfactuals prevail, but rather a question of how far this counterfactual has caused policymakers to ease and change direction. He was careful not to overemphasize the influence of physiocrats and Scottish political economists on policy. “Officials borrowed ideas in an eclectic manner,” he wrote, “and instrumentally mobilized them according to their priorities.” Free trade became a gospel in the 19th century, but its advocates continued throughout the 18th century. Both sides of the English Channel paved the way for it.

Dealing with the enemy: Britain, France, and the pursuit of a peaceful world order in the 18th century Author: John Schofflin Yale University, £25, 416 pages

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