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By David Scott | Wednesday 7 June 2017
In the late 1760's and early 1770's, the government of France was in a deep panic. They had recently suffered a disastrous and costly defeat in the Seven Years War, and the national budget was a complete mess. France had spent most of the previous century as the world’s dominant superpower, and the government budget reflected that status. From public hospitals to shiny monuments and museums, social programs and public works projects, overseas colonies and a huge military, France had created an enormous cost structure for itself. Eventually the costs of maintaining the empire vastly exceeded their tax revenue and by the late 1760s, France hadn’t had a balanced budget in decades. Debt was ballooning, interest payments were rising, and the government of Louis XV was desperate to do something about it.
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