New World Economies: The Growth of the Thirteen Colonies and Early Canada

New World Economies: The Growth of the Thirteen Colonies and Early Canada

New World Economies: The Growth of the Thirteen Colonies and Early Canada

New World Economies: The Growth of the Thirteen Colonies and Early Canada

Synopsis

New World Economies: The Growth of the Thirteen Colonies and Early Canada examines the economic development of both the original American colonies and early French Canada, looking at the impact of changing prices, capital flows, and shifts in demand. It is a companion volume to Marc Egnal's well-regarded earlier book, Divergent Paths, which emphasized the influence of culture and institutions upon growth. New World Economies studies transatlantic ties and sets forth a rigorous model to explain the pattern of growth. It features seventeen tables and more than one hundred graphs, many of which are based on original data. Several appendices present these valuable new statistics. Egnal's core argument is that the pace of economic development in the colonies reflected the rate of growth in the mother country. In advancing this central notion, the book employs a theoretical foundation that builds upon, and then moves beyond, the traditional "staple thesis." Thoroughly documented and rich in quantitative data, this study traces the trajectory of economic growth by region and establishes a clear connection between colonial and European rates of growth. Given its clear arguments, its rich data, and its persuasive overall method, New World Economies will interest scholars and students of economic history, of American and French-Canadian colonial culture, and of transatlantic relations during the eighteenth century.

Excerpt

In the 1750s most white settlers in Canada and the Thirteen Colonies lived better than their parents did. These gains were not as spectacular as those recorded in the nineteenth century or the first half of the twentieth. Nor were the fruits of progress evenly distributed. But the advances were unmistakable, and colonists remarked on the changes in their world. This book is about that process of growth.

What shaped the course of development? Several influences affected the New World economies. Shifts in prices and the influx of funds were important, while additions to the capital stock, gains in productivity, and patterns of culture had an impact. But at the heart of the process of growth were the ties with the metropolitan power. The central argument of this book is that the pace of economic development in the colonies reflected the rate of growth in the mother country.

This argument rests on a theoretical foundation as well as a broad empirical base. The first chapter explores the theory that shapes the book. The paradigm presented builds on the "staple thesis" but goes well beyond this traditional formulation. It includes sectoral analysis and an emphasis on economic long swings. The balance of the work examines the economies of the Thirteen Colonies and early Canada. These chapters elaborate the framework presented in chapter 1 and draw on statistical series, literary evidence, and the findings of many secondary works. Over a hundred graphs, some based on newly compiled series, accompany the text. Appendices A to E present these original data.

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