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The Field and the ForgePopulation, Production, and Power in the Pre-industrial West$
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John Landers

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279579.001.0001

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Spending, Taxing, and Borrowing

Spending, Taxing, and Borrowing

Chapter:
(p.355) Chapter Fifteen Spending, Taxing, and Borrowing
Source:
The Field and the Forge
Author(s):

John Landers (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279579.003.0015

The expedients adopted to meet war-imposed costs and the degree of success they attained shaped the conduct of war and the development or retrogression of the state apparatus. ‘Fiscal costs’ had to be met through taxation or borrowing. Taxation can be categorised as arbitrary payments, domain taxation, or public taxation. The recruitment, maintenance, and deployment of armed force consumed resources and imposed costs that could be met in several ways. The principles of compulsion, entitlement, and devolution provided alternatives to meeting the full costs of war. The low productivity of organic economies created two problems for rulers who wanted to support military or other governmental activity. The first was the physical scarcity of resources above what was needed for their people’s material survival. The second was that the coercive and administrative apparatus of the state was too weak for rulers to appropriate whatever surpluses were physically available.

Keywords:   war costs, fiscal costs, arbitrary payment, domain taxation, public taxation, organic economy

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