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Economic depression after glorious victory – the Austrian economy in the post-Napoleonic era
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Economic depression after glorious victory – the Austrian economy in the post-Napoleonic era

11 pages · 3.30 EUR
(September 2016)

 
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Introduction:

At the Congress of Vienna, Austria had firmly re-established itself as one of the major players in the concert of European powers. Its economy, however, fell into depression after 1815, from which it recovered only slowly after 1820. There are two major causes of this unfavourable consequence of a protracted military conflict from which Austria emerged as one of the winners, while it had considerably overstrained its economic powers:

- The monetary system was disrupted after the state bancruptcy in 1811, following excessive issuance of paper money. The banking system shrunk dramatically, while a major part of financial assets had been depreciated, with capital for productive investment sharply reduced and discouraged. Stabilization took more than a decade.

- During the continental blockade (1806-1813) the textile industry had expanded vigorously in several Austrian provinces, as it had been protected from competition of imports from Britain. After 1815, Austrian manufacturing industries, especially the newly established branches, which were still in an infant stage like the cotton textile industry, were exposed to more intensive competition from Britain and from the more developed countries of Western Europe.

This contribution investigates developments in the various sectors of the Austrian economy by using available quantitative data, which are, however, rather scarce for the period under consideration. Therefore, it is necessary to use other sources of contemporary literature to trace major lines of economic development in the period between 1815 and 1835, i.e. in the pre-railway- and also largely pre-steam engine-age of the Austrian economy. In the last section, some examples of the reflection of the crisis in contemporary literature are presented.


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Dr. Günther Chaloupek
Günther Chaloupek

Dr.iur, M.A. (economics), Leiter der Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik der Arbeiterkammer Wien, Mitglied des Beirats für Wirtschafts- und Sozialfragen; Publikationen zur Wirtschaftspolitik, österreichische Wirtschaftsgeschichte, ökonomische Theoriegeschichte und Entwicklung des Kapitalismus.

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