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The Founding of American Capitalism

Sir Vince Cable discusses Alexander Hamilton's distinctive and enduring contributions to America's future economic success.

It has been argued that Alexander Hamilton stands head and shoulders above the other ‘founding fathers’ of the US. He established some of the key institutions which underpinned the USA’s industrial revolution and its emergence as a powerful and successful nation state.

In the film, Sir Vince Cable introduces Alexander Hamilton and he discusses how Hamilton’s ideas on economic policy (and on politics) are highly relevant, even today; this in spite of being controversial at the time. In particular, Vince discusses how Hamilton established an effective banking system, restructured and consolidated the debts of the states after the war of independence, and rejected laisse faire in favor of an active government.

Please explore Hamilton’s paper Report on Manufactures, which is an example of how he proposed the government be actively involved in the private enterprise system. Tell us in the comments what you find interesting in Hamilton’s paper. Is there anything relevant for today in the report?

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The Politics of Economics and the Economics of Politicians

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