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A Balance Sheet for James VI of Scotland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-91
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of European Economic History
Volume38
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

Abstract

This article constructs a conjectural balance sheet for the finances of James
VI of Scotland (1567-1625), who ruled a rapidly-developing European state.
Various accounting concepts are applied to it, including insolvency,
liquidity and leverage. James was probably insolvent by the ‘quick ratio’ test
for about twenty years before obtaining the English throne in 1603. The
article proposes modifications to the standard paradigm for interpreting
pre-modern state finance—the transition from ‘domain state’ to ‘tax state’,
hitherto discussed with reference only to revenue and expenditure. Assets
are argued to be crucial, and a political dimension to fiscal decisions is
outlined.

ID: 1174849