This chapter deals with the mobility of capital. Romans made many investments in agriculture, cities, and roads, all of which are capital. They accumulated the needed capital with the help of Roman banks, which were remarkably similar to the first modern commercial banks in eighteenth-century London. In order to evaluate the sophistication of the Roman financial market, the chapter inquires about the presence of credit intermediaries—institutions that mediated between borrowers and lenders, obviating direct contact between them. It then presents a theory of financial intermediation to describe the hierarchy of financial sources and its relation to the functioning of the economy as a whole. This facilitates an abstract evaluation of the Roman evidence, but not a historical one.
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