De Moor T. and van Zanden J.L. (2005) Marrige and labour in Northwestern Europe 1300-1800

January 31, 2009

De Moor, Tine and van Zanden Jan Luiten (2005) “Girlpower. The European Marriage Pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period” in The Rise, Organozation, and Institutional Framework of Factor Markets,, 25p.


The European Marriage Pattern (EMP) was one of the most striking features of the Western European society in the Early Modern Period (late marriage, high number of single women). The authors concentrate on the “underlying structure or mechanism” that led to the EMP (p.2).

In the 9th century, the Catholic Church adopted the principle of mutual consent as the basis of marriage (p.3). Spouses were even permitted to perform the sacrament themselves and if need be in secret. The parents had officially lost any authority upon their children’s marital life. Despites resistance among the aristocracy, by the 15th century, the doctrine of consensual marriage was widespread. Read the rest of this entry »

The World Economic Forum, Davos, 2009 in an Historical Context

January 30, 2009


A Comment written by Rich Marino

While watching all the spectacular people speaking in Davos, Switzerland this week, I couldn’t help but think that I had heard all of this before. It was a very surreal, very bizarre experience!  So, I took the liberty of visiting the website of the World Economic Forum in Davos, and I went to their archives and retrieved their oldest annual report which dates back 10 years to 1999. In that light, please find the following overview of the forum which took place at their annual meeting in Davos between January 28th and February 2nd, 1999: Read the rest of this entry »

Fontaine L. (1993) The French pedlars in Europe, 1650-1900

January 30, 2009

Fontaine, Laurence (1993) Histoire du colportage en Europe. XVe – XIXe siècle, Paris: Albin Michel, 334p.


“if you ever hear the pedlar, you would never dance again after a tabor and pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you … he has songs for men and women of all sizes … he hath ribands of all the colours i’ the rainbow … he sings them over as they were gods and goddesses”

William Shakespeare, Winter’s tale.


This book is both important and disappointing. While the title indicates a history of the peddlers in Europe from the 15th to the 19th century, what its author delivers is closer from a research on one or two French networks from 1680 to 1850.  Laurence Fontaine studies the traders rather than the trade itself, the quantitative aspects (how many traders, value of the goods traded) are never dealt with. As usual for a French historian, the economic exchanges are seen as embedded in the social relations, which gives a convenient excuse not to undertake the painstaking economic approach of the issue.  Read the rest of this entry »

Will a fourteenth-century industrial district deafeat the subprime crisis?

January 30, 2009

Today in the FT’s Comments section an excellent article by Peter Marsh showing the significant effects historical factors such as location of industrial districts can have on contemporary businesses.


Survive the credit crisis the Alpine way

By Peter Marsh

Draw on a map a circle of 200km radius and centred on Lucerne, Switzerland, and you see the Alpine Ring. What this represents holds valuable lessons for the world as it tries to fight its way out of the economic crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

Molho A. and Ramada Curto D. (2003) Merchant networks in the early modern world

January 29, 2009

Molho, Anthony and Ramada Curto, Diego (2003) “Les réseaux marchands à l’époque moderne”, Annales HSS, 58/3, 569-579.


The analysis of the trading networks fits in the comparative history of the world advocated by Fernand Braudel. The unity of the worlds considered (such as the Mediterranean for instance) does not depend on the geomorphic factors, but on the peoples who tie separate regions together. The motivation of these people comes from trade. But what is the nature of these commercial networks? How do they work and interact with the other components of the economy? Read the rest of this entry »

What did the New Deal really do?

January 28, 2009

A podcast from the Cato Institute with Thomas A. Firey on the effect the F.D.R.’s New Deal had on the Great Depression.

Fixing Global Finance

January 27, 2009

Fixing Global Finance by Martin Wolf; 2008; 248 pages; Yale University Press

Book Review written by Rich Marino

In his usual uncanny way, Martin Wolf of the Financial Times takes very complicated subjects  found under the global economic umbrella and he presents them so that the general public readily understands their importance from a practical perspective. In his most recent work entitled Fixing Global Finance, Wolf explains very methodically why global imbalances cause financial crises, and in so doing, he underscores the current crisis, but in order for him to make his point he highlights the financial turmoil taking place at this time in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »