Scotland was rapidly approaching a cross-roads in 1700. The loyalties that had supported feudalism were dissolving as adventurous middle-class Scots independently participated in international trade. Regional trade was enhanced through improvements in transportation routes. More availability of cash and a credit system would soon foster local industrial development. The expansion of trade, colonization and a spirit of competition necessitated greater cash flow from the land, traditionally the nation's principal asset. Technological agricultural change resulted in farm production improvements while organizational change caused large-scale de-population of the countryside. Isolationism and protectionism -- legacies of the old feudalism and guilds -- were giving way to a freer commercialism based on competition.
Managing the local Burgh economy in 1700 wasn't easy. The authorities really did try to ensure some level of fairness so that all could eat (at least something).
From The Scarboro Heights Record V9 #8
Further reading: When the Ground Fails -- An Economic Watershed.