Books interview with Kwasi Kwarteng: “Wars are bloody expensive – so the only way nations can buy what they need is by printing their own money”

Kwasi Kwarteng talks to Matt Elton about his new book, which explores how new wealth fosters war, in turn leading nations to debt and failure – and why this pattern is repeated through history

Charles V depicted on a 16th-century gold coin.

This article was first published in the July 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine 

The book starts with the discovery of the Americas. What impact did this have on Europe’s economy?

It was hugely transformational. Silver and gold flooded Europe, pushing up prices. This was a great stimulus to business activity: if you are opening a shop in an environment in which prices are rising, there’s a big incentive to trade. In many ways, the discovery of the New World kickstarted Europe’s economy.

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