Thursday, October 20, 2011

"...there will be the greatest stocks" — Trenchard & Gordon

Por AM

Esta entrada está basada en la que escribí en agosto de 2008 para mi blog anterior [ver]. Pasaron tres años, y pude conseguir mucho más material sobre la teoría 'institucional' del crédito. John Trenchard (1662-1723) y Thomas Gordon (1692-1750) publican 144 cartas en el London Journal, más tarde conocidas como Cato's Letters. Se trata de un clásico lamentablemente olvidado; es una de las fuentes de los principales escritores-economistas del siglo XVIII. Note en la carta No. 67 el vínculo explícito entre el gobierno libre, la protección de la propiedad y ... la tasa de interés. Hay referencias al stock de capital productivo, a la innovación empresarial, al comercio. Vale la pena analizar cada frase. Si tengo tiempo, intentaré dar más información sobre esta auténtica joya de la literatura sobre frenos y contrapesos institucionales.

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There [bajo un gobierno libre] people will dare to own their being rich; there will be most people bred up to trade, and trade and traders will be most respected; and there the interest of money will be lower, and the security of possessing it greater, than it ever can be in tyrannical governments, where life and property and all things must depend upon the humour of a prince, the caprice of a minister, or the demand of a harlot. Under those governments few people can have money, and they that have must lock it up, or bury it to keep it; and dare not engage in large designs, when the advantages may be reaped by their rapacious governors, or given up by them in a senseless and wicked treaty: Besides, such governors condemn trade and artificers; and only men of the sword, who have an interest incompatible with trade, are encouraged by them. For these reasons, trade cannot be carried on so cheap as in free countries; and whoever supplies the commodity cheapest, will command the market.

In free countries, men bring out their money for their use, pleasure, and profit, and think of all ways to employ it for their interest and advantage. New projects are every day invented, new trades searched after, new manufactures set up; and when tradesmen have nothing to fear but from those whom they trust, credit will run high, and they will venture in trade for many times as much as they are worth: But in arbitrary countries, men in trade are every moment liable to be undone, without the guilt of sea or wind, without the folly or treachery of their correspondents, or their own want of care or industry: Their wealth shall be their snare; and their abilities, vigilance, and their success, shall either be their undoing, or nothing to their advantage: Nor can they trust any one else, or any one else them, when payment and performance must depend upon the honesty and wisdom of those who often have none.

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