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Capital investment in a regional economy: Some aspects of the sources and employment of capital in North Somerset, 1750-1830.

Buchanan, Brenda J (1992) Capital investment in a regional economy: Some aspects of the sources and employment of capital in North Somerset, 1750-1830. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The concentration of studies of capital investment on an aggregative approach at the national level has led to an inadequate explanation of the procedures by which capital investment took place. This thesis seeks to achieve a fuller understanding of the process by examining the whole matrix of capital investment in a particular region - north Somerset - for a limited but important period - the early years of industrialization, 1750-1830. The review of the historical context of this region includes a study of the gentry, attorneys, bankers, and merchants, whose interaction is analysed through a broad range of cases drawn from agriculture, mining, manufacture, and transport. The costs involved in the creation of fixed assets and their distribution, the relationship between fixed and circulating capital, and the returns to investment are all subjected to close analysis. The conclusions are, first, that there was a clear distinction between land- or resource-based ventures (enclosures, drainage schemes, mining, transport), financed from within the region, large in structure and with a slowly built up capital input, and the capital- or trade-based enclaves (manufacturing), smaller in scale and dependant upon a network of capital and credit facilities from outside the region, chiefly from Bristol. Secondly, the study shows the importance of legal authorizations (enclosure Acts, partnership agreements), in defining the sources of capital and their outlets. Thirdly, the operation of an impersonal capital market is revealed, based on institutional mortgages (turnpike trusts, improvement commissions). And finally it is shown that both professional (legal, banking, surveying, engineering) and entrepreneurial skills (manufacturers, coal masters, merchants) played a vital part in the supply and employment of capital. The conjunction of this wide range of factors is demonstrated for the first time to be of crucial importance in the process of capital investment in north Somerset.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economics, History
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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