As Duncan Needham outlines below, the work and influence of Professor Martin Daunton is remarkable indeed. We are delighted therefore to have published this collection in his honour. Suitably, it appears in our People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History series, which is presented in association with the Economic History Society.
Money and Markets was commissioned by Boydell and Brewer at a conference held in 2017 to celebrate the distinguished career of Cambridge historian Martin Daunton. The volume follows the themes of that conference, bringing together essays from former colleagues and students that reflect Martin’s broad ranging interests in the economic, social and cultural history of the United Kingdom and beyond. As one of those colleagues Frank Trentmann points out, students could be forgiven for thinking there are four Martin Dauntons:
There is the Daunton of urban history and housing, then Daunton the author of books on state and taxation, and a third, younger Daunton, who writes about Britain and globalisation. Finally, there is the academic governor Daunton, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, President of the Royal Historical Society, and chair of numerous boards and committees.
There is of course just one Martin Daunton – sixth holder of the Cambridge chair in Economic History. The first, Sir John Clapham, tasked economic historians with filling the ‘empty boxes’ of theory with historical facts. This was taken up by his successor, Michael Postan, who insisted that theory, essential for establishing historical causation, be firmly grounded in social and institutional settings. Martin has taken a similar approach throughout his career by focusing on the relationship between structure and agency, how institutional structures create capacities and path dependencies, and how institutions are themselves shaped by agency and contingency – what Fernand Braudel referred to as ‘turning the hour glass twice’.
The introduction to Money and Markets provides biographical detail to illustrate how Martin’s research has been influenced by the places he has lived – from growing up in South Wales, to university at Nottingham and Kent, then teaching at Durham, London and finally Cambridge. The chapters then follow Trentmann’s taxonomy with new research on the financing of the British fiscal-military state before and during the Napoleonic wars, its property institutions, and the longer-term economic consequences of Sir Robert Peel. There are also chapters on the birth of the Eurodollar market, Conservative fiscal policy from the 1960s to the 1980s, the impact of neoliberalism on welfare policy (and more broadly), the failed attempt to build an airport in the Thames Estuary in the 1970s, and the political economy of time in Britain since 1945. While much of the focus is on Britain, and British finance in a global economy, the volume also reflects Daunton’s more recent work on international political economy with essays on the French contribution to nineteenth-century globalization, Prussian state finances at the time of the 1848 revolution, Imperial German monetary policy, the role of international charity in the mixed economy of welfare and neoliberal governance, and the material politics of energy consumption from the 1930s to the 1960s.
This guest post is written by Duncan Needham, Dean and Senior Tutor at Darwin College, University of Cambridge.
Julian Hoppit is Astor Professor of British History at University College London. Adrian Leonard is Associate Director of the Centre for Financial History at the University of Cambridge.