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The Money of Monarchs : The Importance of Non-Tax Revenue for Autocratic Rule in Early Modern Sweden

Nilsson, Klas LU (2017)
Abstract (Swedish)
Enligt en etablerad teori om utvecklingen av politiskt styre i Europas förflutna går beskattning hand i hand med folkrepresentation. Härskare i finansiella trångmål blev nämligen mer eller mindre tvungna att erbjuda politiska fri- och rättigheter i utbyte mot folkets bidrag till statskassan. I denna avhandling undersöker jag det rakt motsatta antagandet: är det även så att icke-skatter går hand i hand med icke-representation? Jag argumenterar för att tidigmoderna härskare som hade tillgång till vad jag kallar ‘proprietary revenue’ (privaträttsliga inkomster)—som till exempel avkastning från landägande, naturresursutvinning, statligt ägd verksamhet, kolonial plundring—kunde använda dessa inkomster till att samla politisk makt i sina egna... (More)
Enligt en etablerad teori om utvecklingen av politiskt styre i Europas förflutna går beskattning hand i hand med folkrepresentation. Härskare i finansiella trångmål blev nämligen mer eller mindre tvungna att erbjuda politiska fri- och rättigheter i utbyte mot folkets bidrag till statskassan. I denna avhandling undersöker jag det rakt motsatta antagandet: är det även så att icke-skatter går hand i hand med icke-representation? Jag argumenterar för att tidigmoderna härskare som hade tillgång till vad jag kallar ‘proprietary revenue’ (privaträttsliga inkomster)—som till exempel avkastning från landägande, naturresursutvinning, statligt ägd verksamhet, kolonial plundring—kunde använda dessa inkomster till att samla politisk makt i sina egna händer och härska som autokrater. Deras finansiella självständighet gjorde dem politiskt obetvingliga. I avhandlingens empiriska del använder jag mig av insikter om politisk utveckling i moderna oljestater för att förstå möjligheterna till autokratiskt styre i tidigmoderna Sverige, ett fall som inte riktigt låter sig förklaras av existerande teoribildningar. Mina resultat pekar bland annat mot att kungar som Gustav I (r. 1523-1560) och Karl XI (r. 1672-1697) skulle haft svårt att bli autokratiska om det inte vore för deras kraftigt ökade landegendomar. Genom att utvidga kronans godsinnehav kunde de regera mer som ‘landägande kungar’ än som ‘skattekungar.’ Avhandlingens främsta bidrag är att (i) den utvecklar vår begreppsliga förståelse av icke-skatter; (ii) den förklarar varför och hur denna typ av inkomster påverkar politiska styrelseformer; och (iii) den erbjuder en ny förklaring av Sveriges politiska utveckling under tidigmodern tid. (Less)
Abstract
According to a venerable argument about the formation of political regimes in historical Europe, taxation goes hand in hand with representation, as financial needs forced rulers to trade rights for revenue. In this dissertation I explore the reverse assumption, asking whether it is the case that non-taxation went hand in hand with non-representation? I argue that early modern rulers who had access to what I conceptualize as ‘proprietary revenue’—including profits from landownership, natural resource extraction, state-owned enterprise, and colonial plunder—could use such revenue to concentrate political authority in their own hands and rule as autocrats. Their fiscal independence made them politically impervious.
In the empirical part... (More)
According to a venerable argument about the formation of political regimes in historical Europe, taxation goes hand in hand with representation, as financial needs forced rulers to trade rights for revenue. In this dissertation I explore the reverse assumption, asking whether it is the case that non-taxation went hand in hand with non-representation? I argue that early modern rulers who had access to what I conceptualize as ‘proprietary revenue’—including profits from landownership, natural resource extraction, state-owned enterprise, and colonial plunder—could use such revenue to concentrate political authority in their own hands and rule as autocrats. Their fiscal independence made them politically impervious.
In the empirical part of this thesis I use insights from the study of regime formation in modern oil states to guide my analysis of autocratic rule in early modern Sweden, a case that does not seem to fit existing theories of European political development. Most importantly, I find that rulers such as Gustav I (r. 1523-1560) and Karl XI (r. 1672-1697) would have been hard-pressed to set up autocratic regimes had they not been able to expand their royal domains and rule more as ‘landowner kings’ than ‘taxation kings.’
The main contributions of this dissertation are that (i) it develops our conceptual understanding of non-tax revenue; (ii) it explains why and how access to such revenue influences political arrangements; and (iii) it provides a novel explanation for regime formation in early modern Sweden. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Jørgen Møller, Aarhus University, Danmark
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
revenue, autocracy, regime change, fiscal sociology, public finance, state-building, Sweden, Early Modern Europe, Rentier State, royal power, statsinkomster, statsstyre, politisk utveckling, Rentier State, Rentierism, skattesystem, tidigmodern statsbildning, Sverige, europeisk historia
pages
268 pages
defense location
Edens hörsal (auditorium), Paradisgatan 5H, Lund
defense date
2017-02-10 10:15
ISBN
978-91-7753-156-2
978-91-7753-155-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7145d4f4-7a02-4711-b48a-59ea4b0ca147
date added to LUP
2017-01-17 15:03:24
date last changed
2017-03-31 16:38:35
@phdthesis{7145d4f4-7a02-4711-b48a-59ea4b0ca147,
  abstract     = {According to a venerable argument about the formation of political regimes in historical Europe, taxation goes hand in hand with representation, as financial needs forced rulers to trade rights for revenue. In this dissertation I explore the reverse assumption, asking whether it is the case that non-taxation went hand in hand with non-representation? I argue that early modern rulers who had access to what I conceptualize as ‘proprietary revenue’—including profits from landownership, natural resource extraction, state-owned enterprise, and colonial plunder—could use such revenue to concentrate political authority in their own hands and rule as autocrats. Their fiscal independence made them politically impervious. <br/>In the empirical part of this thesis I use insights from the study of regime formation in modern oil states to guide my analysis of autocratic rule in early modern Sweden, a case that does not seem to fit existing theories of European political development. Most importantly, I find that rulers such as Gustav I (r. 1523-1560) and Karl XI (r. 1672-1697) would have been hard-pressed to set up autocratic regimes had they not been able to expand their royal domains and rule more as ‘landowner kings’ than ‘taxation kings.’ <br/>The main contributions of this dissertation are that (i) it develops our conceptual understanding of non-tax revenue; (ii) it explains why and how access to such revenue influences political arrangements; and (iii) it provides a novel explanation for regime formation in early modern Sweden.},
  author       = {Nilsson, Klas},
  isbn         = {978-91-7753-156-2},
  keyword      = {revenue,autocracy,regime change,fiscal sociology,public finance,state-building,Sweden,Early Modern Europe,Rentier State,royal power,statsinkomster,statsstyre,politisk utveckling,Rentier State,Rentierism,skattesystem,tidigmodern statsbildning,Sverige,europeisk historia},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {268},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {The Money of Monarchs : The Importance of Non-Tax Revenue for Autocratic Rule in Early Modern Sweden},
  year         = {2017},
}