Rent-Seeking in the Military Paymaster World

Guy Rowlands

in The Financial Decline of a Great Power

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199585076
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744600 | DOI:
Rent-Seeking in the Military Paymaster World

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After 1701 French finances were dominated in an unprecedented way by men associated directly with the war effort. Although grand theft was far harder to pull off than half-a-century earlier, there were still considerable opportunities for gain, sometimes illicit, in the business of military pay and supplies. Volatile bearer bills could be parcelled out to unfortunate army officers and lesser suppliers, while the increased volume and tradability of financial instruments brought greater opportunities for speculation and ramping up the price of contracts. The most favoured financiers and suppliers were also heavily indemnified and protected against losses arising from financial instruments and state-related debts. In an early example of a military-industrial complex, some of these men even managed to penetrate the government as second-tier ministers, where they promoted their own interests, pushing the government into damaging policies and contracts that further increased the cost of the War of the Spanish Succession.

Keywords: corruption; indemnities; fraud; speculation; contracts; military-Industrial complex

Chapter.  16093 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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