To expand upon coincidence, the two centuries of the mountain of U.K. debt completely envelop the 150 years Keynes called "the greatest age of the inducement to invest." As I noted in the earlier post, one is almost forced to wonder whether that mountain of debt actually helped the economy along, encouraging the Industrial Revolution and leading Britain to the top of the heap.
So the general trend was a steep increase in debt from 1700 to 1820. And after more than a century of persistent increase in debt, GDP was growing like never before.
This look at the raw numbers shows that public debt in the UK did not "peak." It simply stabilized after 1820. It was the growth of GDP that made public debt seem to shrink.
The increase in government debt comes before the increase in growth. We have public debt increasing (1740-1790), increasing rapidly (1790-1820), then stabilizing at a high level. We have Real GDP stable (before 1759), increasing slightly at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (1759-1811), accelerating (1811-1830), and then achieving the sort of growth we long for today.
We have the increase in public debt first, followed by the increase in GDP. Then there is an acceleration of public debt first, followed by acceleration in GDP. And then we have public debt stabilizing while GDP growth continues, causing the long decline in debt as a percent of GDP that appears on Graph #1. In these events, I think, we witness the birth of capitalism.
Did the growth of debt help the British economy grow? Can't say. But I think we can say with confidence that the massive public debt did not hinder, harm, or cripple growth.