Dark Matter Credit: The Development of Peer-to-Peer Lending and Banking in France - The Princeton Economic History of the Western World 76 (Hardback)Philip T. Hoffman (author), Gilles Postel-Vinay (author), Jean-Laurent Rosenthal (author)
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How a vast network of shadow credit financed European growth long before the advent of banking
Prevailing wisdom dictates that, without banks, countries would be mired in poverty. Yet somehow much of Europe managed to grow rich long before the diffusion of banks. Dark Matter Credit draws on centuries of cleverly collected loan data from France to reveal how credit abounded well before banks opened their doors. This incisive book shows how a vast system of shadow credit enabled nearly a third of French families to borrow in 1740, and by 1840 funded as much mortgage debt as the American banking system of the 1950s.
Dark Matter Credit traces how this extensive private network outcompeted banks and thrived prior to World War I-not just in France but in Britain, Germany, and the United States-until killed off by government intervention after 1918. Overturning common assumptions about banks and economic growth, the book paints a revealing picture of an until-now hidden market of thousands of peer-to-peer loans made possible by a network of brokers who matched lenders with borrowers and certified the borrowers' creditworthiness.
A major work of scholarship, Dark Matter Credit challenges widespread misperceptions about French economic history, such as the notion that banks proliferated slowly, and the idea that financial innovation was hobbled by French law. By documenting how intermediaries in the shadow credit market devised effective financial instruments, this compelling book provides new insights into how countries can develop and thrive today.
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 235 x 155 mm
"This important book definitively establishes not just that informal financial institutions were just as important as the formal ones in the emergence of the modern French economy, but that they interacted in critical ways. It has profound implications for how we think about economic development."-James A. Robinson, University of Chicago, coauthor of Why Nations Fail
"If banks are a necessary requisite of a high income, modern economy, then how did `under-banked' France grow wealthy enough to challenge Britain for global mastery during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Read this fascinating book about peer-to-peer lending and learn the answer."-Stephen H. Haber, Stanford University, coauthor of Fragile by Design