Doctoral thesis

Steering the Wheels of Commerce: State and Enterprise in International Trade Finance, 1914-1929

ContributorsMyles, Jamieson
Number of pages315
Imprimatur date2021-10-22
Defense date2021-09-20

Existing historical studies on international trade finance (ITF) in the interwar period overwhelmingly focus on highly specialised questions relating to the operation of financial markets and monetary systems. This thesis adopts an alternative approach by studying the political economy of ITF between the Great War and the Great Depression. Based on case studies of Britain, the United States, Germany, and the League of Nations, the thesis uses ITF as window into the sustained efforts by national and international actors to rebuild global capitalism after World War I. Despite the creation of new state institutions, the private arrangements that had sustained ITF before the war survived largely intact in its aftermath. But continuity did not imply inertia. On the contrary, thanks in particular to central banks, these arrangements proved to be remarkably adaptable when it came to dealing with the new risks and increased complexity that resulted from the conflict.

  • Trade finance
  • Bills of exchange
  • Money markets
  • Interwar period
  • Financial history
  • Political economy
  • History of capitalism
Citation (ISO format)
MYLES, Jamieson. Steering the Wheels of Commerce: State and Enterprise in International Trade Finance, 1914-1929. 2021. doi: 10.13097/archive-ouverte/unige:156390
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