This collection of chapters focuses on the regulation of the British economy in the long eighteenth century as a means to understand the synergies between political, social and economic change as Britain was transformed into a global power. Inspired by recent research on consumerism and credit, an international team of leading academics examine the ways in which state and society both advanced and responded to fundamental economic changes. The studies embrace all aspects of the regulatory process, from developing ideas on the economy, to the passage of legislation, and to the negotiation of economic policy and change in practice. They range broadly over Britain and its empire and also consider Britain's exceptionality through comparative studies. Together, the book challenges the general characterization of the period as a shift from a regulated economy to a more laissez-faire system, highlighting the uncertain relationship between the state and economic interests across the long eighteenth century.
'Undoubtedly, this volume is a very welcome addition to the historiography of economic and commercial regulation. It clearly identifies the complexity and variation of the regulatory process across a broad period… this is a major contribution to the historiography of regulation, political participation, parliamentary history and socio-economic tensions in employment, and will be invaluable for scholars and students alike.' English Historical Review