Spain’s military supplies were not an exclusively state affair. The participation and collaboration of entrepreneurs was much greater than has previously been thought. The entrepreneurs shared the state’s mercantilist ideas and were active agents in the supply policy of creating and integrating national military production markets, even extending their reach to the overseas colonies. The state and entrepreneurs created fluid relationships based on the granting of commercial privileges and monopoly rights, not due to ideological beliefs but responding to the state’s need to ensure supplies and the entrepreneurs’ interest in the benefits on offer. This trend forged spiralling state–entrepreneur interdependence, whittling down the number of entrepreneurs and increasing the risk of state payment defaults. Throughout the eighteenth century state–entrepreneur collaboration managed to obtain the necessary military supplies to the benefit of a national economy, but such growing interdependence pre-empted the possibility of laying down solid bases for future growth.
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