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London and Paris as International Financial Centres in the Twentieth Century$
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Youssef Cassis and Eric Bussière

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269495

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269495.001.0001

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The City of London and British Imperialism: New Light on an Old Question

The City of London and British Imperialism: New Light on an Old Question

Chapter:
(p.57) 4 The City of London and British Imperialism: New Light on an Old Question
Source:
London and Paris as International Financial Centres in the Twentieth Century
Author(s):

Niall Ferguson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269495.003.0004

This chapter seeks to reassert the importance of Britain's formal empire in the ‘unofficial mind’ of the late 19th-century City of London, suggesting that even if they did not initially see independent gold standard countries as more risky than colonies, investors learned through experience that they were. The reality was that membership of the British Empire was a more reliable ‘no default’ guarantee than adherence to the gold standard by itself. The political upheavals of the period before, during, and after the First World War revealed the limits of commitments to gold in the face of war and revolution. By the 1920s, bitter experience combined with a new regulatory environment to increase substantially the proportion of overseas investment going to the Empire.

Keywords:   London, British Empire, gold standard, investments, capital flow

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