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An unholy alliance: British banking, early capitalism & colonialism

British slavery

This essay was written in 2022 while undertaking my first year of my PhD Global Political Economy, exploring the extent that developments in British banking between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries constitute a global transformation.

Traversing the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, this essay explores how Britain rose from relatively backward European state to being the global power of the age. Charting several key innovations in British banking during the seventeenth century that formed a modern banking system, this essay shows how banking was not only fundamental to Britain’s rise to power, but would go on to buttress Britain’s capitalist world order, shaping developmental pathways around the globe. Navigating interactions with the other transformative processes of the period – colonisation, early capitalist development, industrialisation – this essay will assess the extent to which developments in banking constitute a global transformation.

Read the full essay below.

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