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Attitudes to Credit in Britain, 1680–1790

HOPPIT, J; (1990) Attitudes to Credit in Britain, 1680–1790. HIST J , 33 (2) 305 - 322. 10.1017/S0018246X00013340. Green open access

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The history of economic ideas in Britain is dominated by a great tradition which in its early stages focuses on Adam Smith. For the century before the publication of the Wealth of nations in 1776, economic ideas are most often studied in relation to the ‘arrival’ of Smith and commented on with regard to the degree to which they may be considered precursors of his ideas. Though this imposes a sense of order and establishes some principles with which to select from the vast range of economic writings, the dangers of certain whiggishness in this approach are readily apparent. Writers can appear to be winners or losers depending on the extent to which their ideas were denied, adapted or adopted by Smith and the other classical economists.1 Such problems have been acknowledged by many historians, not least by those who have fruitfully examined the political and philosophical bases of the emergence of political economy, particularly with regard to the Scottish enlightenment. Despite this, the force of the great tradition remains very strong. The authors and ideas that are examined are the ‘major’ ones, that is to say contributions that were, or attempted to be, either comprehensive or clearly attached to what, with hindsight, were the main strands of development. The emphasis has been upon theories or systematic explanations of the economic order. Not surprisingly the unsystematic and more casually formulated reflections of non-economists and ‘amateurs’, such as Defoe, are often swept under the carpet, even if their ideas on economic matters were more widely disseminated (and perhaps more influential) at the time. Consequently, our perception of economic ideas between the Restoration and the Wealth of nations continues to be highly and perhaps atypically selective.

Type: Article
Title: Attitudes to Credit in Britain, 1680–1790
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0018246X00013340
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X00013340
Language: English
Additional information: © 1990 Cambridge University Press
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1301226
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