Since the early modern age, the debt of the State was a constant source for concern to the Spanish governments. Episodes of defaults caused by enormous expenditure to keep the Empire slowly faded out until a certain reorganization of public finance was attained in the central decades of the nineteenth century. The core idea that finance ministers and economists, in general, had at that time was to balance the public budget controlling expenses, in order to handle the problem of public debt. However, alternative views on government finance existed. Focusing on a crucial period for the consolidation of Spanish liberal regime and its public finance, this chapter shows that, among a predominant concern for reducing public expenditure as the best way to stabilize the economy and promote economic growth, the character of Luis María Pastor emerges to support government expansionary policies financed with credit. Far from fearing deficit, Pastor, one of the leaders of the Spanish liberal school of economic thought, believed that investment in infrastructures financed through debt was the key to economic growth. Through a multiplicative effect, a program of public investment would enhance economic growth, eventually solving the long-term insufficiency of Spanish finance. This gives evidence that ideas on public finance of classical liberal economists were far from uniform, contributing to a more precise view on the body of doctrines of this school.
Arrupe, J.S.J. (2020), "An Expansionary Economist Against Fiscal Discipline in Mid-Nineteenth Century Spain: The Lonely Shepherd", Fiorito, L., Scheall, S. and Suprinyak, C.E. (Ed.) Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including a Symposium on Public Finance in the History of Economic Thought (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 38A), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 77-96. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0743-41542020000038A008Download as .RIS
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