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War, Wine, and Taxes: The Political Economy of Anglo-French Trade, 1689-1900 (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) Hardcover – 22 Jul 2007


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"Nye writes 100 percent pure, uncut nonfiction to get your geek on, putting the myth of three centuries of British trade superiority on trial. Examining the protectionist tariffs the country used against the French, particularly on agriculture and wine imports, War, Wine, and Taxes casts Britain in a less liberal light than most histories. Free trade being one of the hottest topics of our age, Nye's fresh hindsight is timely."--Maggie Dutton, Seattle Weekly

"Conventional wisdom holds that Great Britain was the great free-trade hegemonic power of the 19th century...Nye's fascinating new book aims to undermine the conventional wisdom, and it does so very successfully...Nye presents interesting, well-argued analyses of Britain's trade barriers on French wine and their effect on both the domestic brewing industry and the ability of the British state to raise revenues by taxing beer."--M. Veseth, Choice

"The core substance of the book is a clear, well-argued, methodically executed and explained attempt to rewrite assumptions about the realities rather than the rhetoric of British trade policy and the notion of free trade. There is always something exhilarating about an argument, especially when it is well presented. . . . It is heady stuff, and it has to be said the work makes a very convincing case for abandoning complacent, conventional assumptions. Likewise, the core contribution of the book succeeds very well in raising questions regarding the state, conceptualizations of the state, and ultimately the role of the state."--Nicholas Alexander, Enterprise and Society

"This is a very important work of economic history. . . . If you don't buy this book, it's OK. I'm sure your mother would understand . . . while she sits alone in her kitchen . . . thinking of nothing but your happiness."--Daniel W. Drezner, Daniel W. Drezner blog

"Nye has performed a useful service by providing an accurate portrayal of the true state of the trade policy of the British government, a policy that was often at odds with the free-trade claims of thinkers and politicians."--K. Steven Vincent, European Legacy

From the Back Cover

"In War, Wine, and Taxes John Nye overturns the widespread belief that Britain promoted the free trade that eventually brought so many benefits in the nineteenth century. Britain, it turns out, was surprisingly protectionist, and the political economy of its tariffs has left a mark on French winemaking and on British pubs that still survives today."--Philip T. Hoffman, author of Growth in a Traditional Society: The French Countryside, 1450-1815

"The humorist Artemus Ward famously said, 'It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we do know that just ain't so.' Everyone knows that England was the first European nation to move, largely unilaterally, toward a free-trade regime. And everyone also knows that this was the cause of British prosperity and power. The problem is that it just ain't so, as Nye shows in this remarkable book. Using data that have long been available, but that have never been compiled and compared in any systematic manner, Nye meticulously discredits the conventional wisdom. And the history he writes of the economics of trade in beer and wine is a tour de force, well written and with as many strange characters and unexpected twists as a detective novel. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most controversial, and possibly the most important, book on political economy yet published in the new millennium."--Michael Munger, Duke University

"Nye's arguments are novel and fresh, and they are enunciated with great gusto. He brings to bear a fine intuition and understanding of economic analysis, and he combines his economic history with a deep understanding of political economy and the complex ways in which special interests and ideology jointly affect policy decisions. His analysis of the politics and economics of protectionist legislation is quite compelling, and his handling of the data and ability to see in them something that others have missed are quite impressive."--Joel Mokyr, author of The Gifts of Athena

"Nye provides a new view of British commercial policy and its links to financing war. Historians have long studied politics, war, taxation, and trade. What they have failed to do is see how all these are connected. Nye's strength is suggesting how these stories tie together into a single story. Along the way emerges a wonderful treatment of the industrial organization of beer and wine, particularly why Britain was a nation of beer drinkers and France of wine."--Barry Weingast, Stanford University


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WHY do the British drink beer and not wine? Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
John Nye's War, Wine, and Taxes 7 Oct. 2009
By Justin E. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In doing some of my research on imperialism, I ordered this book authored by a Mason Economist John Nye. This book is about the political economy of Anglo-French trade from 1689 to 1900. This may seem boring to you but as you can see in the title, it definitely is not. The purpose for my research in the book is how the British empire raised their revenues . As Nye shows, they partly did this through excise taxes that are also known as indirect taxes. He mainly focuses on the taxes of wine and alcohol.

I could not better sum it up than he has here at the beginning of his book:

"Why do the British drink beer and not wine? How did commercial tariff policy designed to protect domestic interests help the British state raise revenues to the point where Britain emerged as the leading European power of the eighteenth century? These two seemly unrelated issues are at the heart of one of the most important and underexplored cases in modern economic. history."

Obviously, this is what he explores throughout his book. Nye explains that the reason why the citizens of Britain drink beer and not wine is because of tariffs on French wine. This shows the competitive nature between both Britain and France during this time. Nye also busts the myth that Britain was all about free trade at this time. They in fact had many tariffs to protect domestic industries and were plagued by rent seeking activity. This means that the parliament would create these tariffs in exchange for stuff from the domestic industries.

There really isn't any bad stuff to say about this book. I just wish he went into more about imperialism, but that is my research program so I am being a purely self interested. This book is well researched and not to hard for the layman to understand. There are some graphs and at the end of his book, Nye runs his model and his regression. Anyone who loves history and economics will love this book.
Five Stars 14 Jan. 2015
By Pan Xuhao - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Quite good.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
John Nye is a throwback. 23 Nov. 2010
By ASmith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Nye is truly a throwback to a previous age of Economists. Focusing on more historical examples, he is one of the best in the business.
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