Balancing Act: The Equivalent, Political Arithmetic, and Mercantilist Structural Violence

  • Aida Ramos
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought book series (PHET)


This chapter examines Article XV, on the Equivalent, in detail. Ostensibly a payment to Scotland in compensation for the losses incurred by the Union, the primary documents examined show that this was not the case. An examination of the calculation of the Equivalent demonstrates the influence of political arithmetic and the positive balance concept. Rather than compensation, it is argued that the Equivalent is a refund from Scotland to Scotland for increased taxes that financed England’s pre-Union debts. Debate over the Equivalent in the Scottish Parliament and contemporary opinion is also discussed. Although seeming to be an advantage given to Scotland, the Equivalent is shown to be another instance of mercantilism where the English ministers built a structural advantage for their taxpayers into the reimbursement.


The Equivalent Article XV Union Scotland Debt Surplus Balance Political arithmetic Mercantilism Company of Scotland Taxation Parliament William Paterson Calculation 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aida Ramos
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DallasIrvingUSA

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