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HIST 2251 The Credit Nexus: The Secret History of the Economy in Britain, 1600s-1900s (Spring: 3 )


Course Description

In his "Wealth of Nations," Adam Smith pointed to the shift from barter to cash as the critical turning point from a feudal to a modern economy in Britain. Unlike barter, cash was capable of facilitating anonymous exchange between strangers, greatly increasing the scope for economic growth. Recently, however, scholars have discovered that the vast majority of economic exchanges in Britain in Smith's era were conducted on the basis of credit rather than cash. And this credit was largely personal, connecting thousands of individuals in networks of trust. This course will examine this new social history of the British economy.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Penelope Ismay

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

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Last Updated: 08-Feb-17