Public International Lending for Development

By Raymond F. Mikesell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
International Lending Before World War II

International lending in the sense of transfers of loan capital across national boundaries is perhaps as old as national states themselves. Wealthy financiers such as the Fuggers made loans to grovernments in the fifteenth century, and credits for financing international commerce have been made available by Dutch, British, and other European banks and merchant-banking houses for centuries. Various forms of public and private financing made possible the colonization of the Americas and the establishment of European enclaves in Asia, and French and Spanish government loans to the Continental Congress helped finance the American Revolution. But international capital markets and institutions for international lending for economic development date from the nineteenth century. International lending of the type we are concerned with in this book paralleled the creation of an international economy in the post-Napoleonic era, beginning in 1815. Many of the principles and practices that characterize present- day public international lending had their roots in the century and a quarter of private international lending that preceded World War II, although public international lending played no substantial role prior to that time (except for the large government war and relief loans during and immediately following World War I). Moreover, the breakdown of the international econ-

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