Questions tagged [economy]

Questions which concern the historical management, distribution, and usage of resources; why a particular resource, or state of production, occurred in a certain way.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
67
votes
6answers
16k views

Has an individual ever purchased an entire country?

At any point in history, has an individual ever purchased an entire country - using their private wealth? Specifically, I'm looking for any examples of somebody who has purchased an entire already-...
59
votes
9answers
56k views

How did Nazi Germany finance itself during WW2?

How did Nazi Germany finance itself during the war? They produced a large amount of war material during 1939-1945, but how was this production financed? What were Germany's revenue streams that ...
50
votes
2answers
8k views

Where did the Romans store their cash?

In the era before banking was invented, where did wealthy Romans store their cash? The emperor probably could store it somewhere in the imperial palace thanks to the Praetorian guard, but what about ...
47
votes
4answers
16k views

Where did Hitler get the funds to invest in economic development programs such as the autobahn when the German economy was in a depression?

Where did Hitler get the funds to invest in economic revitalization programs such as the autobahn and weapons' production when the German economy was in a depression?
46
votes
12answers
13k views

Why did the Soviet Union have multiple airplane manufacturers?

Generally, Communism believed in economic central planning, with each field being serviced by one "company" (to avoid waste). Why was it that the Soviet Union had multiple airplane manufacturers, ...
45
votes
7answers
3k views

Has a state ever “attacked” another one by printing fake money?

Has any state ever performed an "economic attack" against another state, by printing fake money of the victim's currency? Or, is it known if someone ever considered doing it, and which were the ...
38
votes
10answers
12k views

Why did the United Kingdom industrialize first?

What factors made the United Kingdom the first to industrialize? Was it simply the importance and benefit of its position in the global community for trade?
37
votes
3answers
5k views

How and when was the modern company ownership structure invented?

More specifically I mean the very common structure with the following roles: Shareholders Board members CEO When was this structure invented, and how? It would also be very interesting to get any ...
37
votes
2answers
5k views

How did the American Civil War help the U.S economy recover from the Panic of 1857 given that civil wars are extremely destructive?

From the Wikipedia article on the Panic of 1857: Beginning in September 1857, the financial downturn did not last long; however, a proper recovery was not seen until the American Civil War. ...
36
votes
3answers
3k views

Did the end of the British Raj in India create an economic loss for Britain?

I know the economic downturn of the World War and the victory of the Labour Party played some role in Britain deciding to quit India. Did GB have any serious economic implications because of this? ...
34
votes
5answers
5k views

Was slavery really on the way out in the antebellum USA?

Gail Jarvis, in an encomium to the Dunning School writes: William A. Dunning fervently opposed slavery but his reading of the trends of the times led him to the conclusion that the institution ...
30
votes
2answers
5k views

Did any British working class men have the vote before 1918?

I was watching the film Suffragette recently and she mentioned her husband having the vote. I thought he looked too poor to already have the vote, but this didn't look like a film to just ignore ...
29
votes
7answers
7k views

Has there ever been anything like the oil boom we see today?

Since the discovery of oil, there have been entire nations that have literally been built from the ground up almost completely with oil money. This has been done, and is still being done, in ...
29
votes
3answers
12k views

When was Silver ever more valuable than Gold?

These days we pretty much take it as a given that gold is more valuable than silver. The obvious example is the Olympics and other such competitions that give "gold" medals for first place and "silver"...
27
votes
5answers
18k views

How heavily were the British taxing their American colonies?

The British levied several taxes on the American Colonists (13), which were at least part of the reason for the American Revolution. Were the British taxing the 13 colonies for more money than was ...
26
votes
4answers
663 views

How would you accurately use older British currencies when writing a story?

For writing a story set in the Napoleonic Wars era, how should one use the currencies accurately? I read in novels they use currencies like shilling, pound, guinea, sovereign, four (or six-, etc) ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

What was the economic basis for West Berlin?

From the 1950s to 1989, West Berlin was physically and economically cut off from the surrounding countryside. Since WWII it had lost the government service functions that help drive a capital's ...
24
votes
4answers
29k views

When and where was salt as valuable as gold?

I have often heard that gold and salt were sometimes considered of equal value. When and where did that occur?
24
votes
5answers
7k views

Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union?

Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union? I'm interested in the metros and buses. If not, what did they cost? I'm most interested in the period around the late 1950's, early 1960's, but it ...
24
votes
2answers
3k views

Venezuelan crisis of 1902–03: Why is there a Russian flag on the cover of the prominent newspaper 'Le Petit Parisien'?

The Venezuelan crisis of 1902–03[a] was a naval blockade from December 1902 to February 1903 imposed against Venezuela by Britain, Germany and Italy over President Cipriano Castro's refusal to pay ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

Why did the British not introduce the sterling in India?

The question is about the adoption of currency during imperialist rule. Why did the British persist with the local currency, the rupee? What impediments did the British face in implementing the ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Has mercantilism ever been successful?

Mercantilism, which includes protectionism, industrial policy, capital controls, and other distortions to trade, is generally viewed by economists today as unsound economic policy. An overwhelming ...
22
votes
4answers
28k views

What did Germany do after World War II to recover so successfully that it became more prosperous than its WW2 victors?

Germany lost in World War II. Being the loser, its economy started at a disadvantage compared to her World War II victors in the aftermath of WW2. However, Germany managed to recover more ...
22
votes
2answers
4k views

When did books first become affordable to the general population?

Gutenberg certainly had a great impact on the availability of books, but his printing press didn't help bring books into the hands of the poor. The price of books dropped from thousands of days worth ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

First evidence for replacement of barter trade by local abstract currency?

What were the first local currency systems in history we have detailed information on? I dont think it was gold/silver or other hard to produce materials. Probably these became more important ...
20
votes
1answer
5k views

Was the British Army a millionaire factory in the early 20th century?

I'm reading "Kenya Diary" by Richard Meinertzhagen where he relates his experiences as a junior officer in the British army around 1902. At one point he states that during his 5 year service in East ...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

What goods did Germany trade during World War II, and with whom?

I have scoured the internet for numerical figures and an actual list of raw materials to no avail. Moreover, I am reasonably certain that many of you are very knowledgeable upon this subject matter, ...
20
votes
1answer
673 views

How do Friedman and Bernanke's explanations about the causes of the Great Depression compare?

I know that both Friedman and Bernanke wrote papers (or books, in Friedman's case) about the cause of the Great Depression. How do their points of view compare and contrast?
20
votes
3answers
3k views

What was the value of the spice trade during the age of exploration?

One of the initial motivations for the Europeans in sending exploration voyages was to find cheap spices. To be worth such expensive and risky mission, spices must have been worth a lot and must have ...
19
votes
2answers
20k views

Where did Japan get their oil during WWII?

To my understanding the United States was the largest exporter of oil to the Japanese prior to Pearl Harbor. The Japanese islands aren't known for their oil fields. It's also believed that the attacks ...
19
votes
4answers
3k views

Why was gold so popular and valuable back when it did not have many real world uses?

I'm talking about back when it was first starting to get discovered, like 2000 B.C. (roughly). Gold was being used for coins, jewellery and more. It was a very well known commodity and accepted ...
19
votes
1answer
5k views

How did the monks whose job was to copy books react to Gutenberg's printing press?

It's typical to see people whose job it is to perform a manual task to - collectively - object when a new technology is introduced which makes their job obsolete (as the quintessential example, see ...
19
votes
2answers
37k views

Were soldiers in the World Wars paid?

There have always been professional soldiers however during the world wards there were vast conscription to encourage young men to join up for "King and Country". Presumably there was some sort of ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

How did Muslim traders raise investments given Islam's prohibition of usury?

During early caliphate era (7th-13th century), Muslim traders dominated trade in Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean (see here and here for example). I think Islam's prohibition of interest or usury ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

How much of an impact did the Roman emperors' civil wars have on their decision to debase the coinage?

From Adrian Goldsworthy's How Rome Fell: "Civil war remained a common event, ...the economy collapsed, as successive emperors massively devalued the coinage to pay for their wars." Other sources say ...
18
votes
2answers
37k views

What was the actual value of tea destroyed during the Boston Tea Party?

I'd like to know 2 or 3 of the following 3 metrics: Actual value in the currency of the time (yes I realize that there were local currencies and in general FX concept was... hard to do). NPV (...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

How was beer production affected by the war during WW2?

How did the war affect beer production during World War II? This is a follow-up question to this question at Seasoned Advice, which is gathering interesting food-science answers but which are are ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

Was the Roman Empire based on a 'plunder economy'?

It has been stated by Arnold J. Toynbee and James Burke that: The economy of the Empire was a Raubwirtschaft or plunder economy based on looting existing resources rather than producing anything ...
17
votes
4answers
6k views

What was the size of surface of a cereal crop needed per man per year during the Dark Ages in Western Europe?

If I'm a peasant during the dark ages, what surface (in meters (<- I am in advance on my time)) I need to farm to get enough cereal (for bread and brew) ? how many cereals (in kg (<- again, I'm ...
17
votes
1answer
901 views

What were tally sticks?

What were tally sticks, and how was it that they they worked for the economy? I understand that they were a form of currency and were of fixed value based on the notches, but how did they work as a ...
17
votes
1answer
781 views

How did the existence of the Alps impact the development of Switzerland?

Can anyone tell me what was the role of Alps and Alpine region in Swiss development of Switzerland?
17
votes
1answer
144k views

What was the economic impact of WW1 on USA's economy?

It's well known that WW2 had a greatly positive impact on American economy. Up to the point of certain historians being sure that, if not for WW2, FDR would have had a major economic problems on his ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

What do historians mean when they talk about “supply side” and “demand side” explanations of the industrial revolution?

Joel Mokyr writes in Demand vs. Supply in the Industrial Revolution that The determination of 'when,' 'where,' and 'how fast' are to be sought first and foremost in supply, not demand-related ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

How did the Germans get housing again after WWII?

After a large number of homes were destroyed in the war, how did the average German become a homeowner again? I know about the Marshall Plan, but this question does not refer to how the economy in ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

How profitable was India for the British Empire in the 1800s?

I recently read Imperial Twilight, an excellent history of the opium wars. The author claims several times that while the British trade with China was very lucrative, India was by contrast "...
16
votes
1answer
37k views

How did Germany rebuild so quickly after World War I?

After World War I, Germany suffered severe economic damage. Germany was asked to make horrendous war reparations, suffered hyperinflation, social chaos .... In addition, world economic conditions were ...
16
votes
1answer
791 views

What evidence is there for chain stores or restaurant chains in Ancient Rome?

In his book City, David Macaulay creates a fictional Roman city called Verbonia to show how a 'typical', planned Roman city was started from scratch. Although Verbonia and thus its characters are ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

In the first half of 20th century, how was gold inspected for authenticity?

Let's say this for the years 1900 - 1950, before we had modern analysis tools. When trade payments were made in gold, how was the gold inspected for quality? How did they assess the purity of gold, ...
15
votes
2answers
6k views

How wealthy was Singapore at its independence (1965)?

According to this article Is Singapore the Perfect Country for Our Times? Singapore's defining achievement is summed up in the title of its longtime leader Lee Kuan Yew's memoir, From Third World ...