Managing the Wealth of Nations
Political Economies of Change in Preindustrial Europe

Epilogue: State Capacity and Capitalism from Cain to Keynes: Money, Markets and Manufacturing

This epilogue offers some afterthoughts, implications and reflections upon the wider remit of the book and its case within the Grand Scheme of Things. It situates industrial policy and a European culture of manufacturing growth within bigger millennial – and occasionally biblical – origin stories of Homo faber and the making of economic growth as a fall from grace, when Cain slew his brother only to become the forefather of industry. Stories of economic statecraft and state capacity are situated within a fresh look at the transnational histories of early modern political economy. What we commonly take as the vanguard or mainstream elements of modern political economy (often emanating from the French physiocrats and Scottish Enlightenment) represent rather an exceptional offshoot from a larger common ground of political economy, known by its misnomers such as ‘mercantilism’ or, less frequently, ‘cameralism’. These are unhappy labels in any case, but probably too useful to be easily got rid of.

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