Faroqhi S (1980) Ottoman overland transportation

February 28, 2009

Faroqhi, Suraiya (1982) “Camels, Wagons, and the Ottoman State in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 14/4, 523-539.



Earlier research on the subject of Ottoman transport history have emphasized the role of the state in the system. Less attention has been paid to the “material bases of overland transportation” (p.523). The main point is the competition between camels and wheeled-wagons pulled by oxen. Overland transportation was uniquely important in Anatolia  since most urban centers lacked an access to the sea. Even for port towns, the bulk of the international trade transited through land routes (p.524). Read the rest of this entry »

Ottoman week

February 28, 2009

Following that heated thread on allempires.net, I’ve decided to devote the next 5 posts to the Ottoman Empire. I’ll also try to pay more attention to non-European topics in the future. In particular, I’ll post a few things on Mughal India and Ming China soon.

The history of the fur trade

February 27, 2009

The economic history of the American fur trade 1670-1870 on the encyclopedia of the earth.

More articles on eh.net here and here.

History canal

February 27, 2009

American canal building

Waterway triumphs

Feb 26th 2009
From The Economist print edition

AS SOME governments are about to rediscover, the actual construction work can be the easy part when embarking on large infrastructure projects. Winning the necessary political support is much harder, especially from legislators keen on alternative public works that more directly benefit their constituents. The competing interests of places that stand to lose or gain from projects are further obstacles to overcome. So are the difficulties contractors experience when they seek to recruit thousands of dependable employees willing to work long hours in arduous conditions. Read the rest of this entry »

A good one

February 26, 2009

L. Monasterio on a 1974 article: here.

Taking a break

February 25, 2009

Unfortunately, I am now conducting research in Morocco and allthough it leaves me a lot of time to read, I don’t have a very reliable access to the internet, so I may be unable to post much on the blog for the coming month.

A Thank You Note

February 24, 2009

Unfortunately due to some very pressing commitments, I have to discontinue writing on the EH Blog, but I’m leaving you in very good hands with Benjamin. I want to thank all of you for allowing me to share some of my ideas with you. For me as brief as it was, this was a very exhilarating and rewarding experience. I wish all of you much success and the very best of times!

And who knows? Maybe, we’ll do it again sometime.

Thanks again,

Rich Marino

PS. Don’t let this economy wear you down; just find a need and fill it!

Epstein S. R. (2000) The origins of protoindustry

February 22, 2009

Epstein Stephen R. (2000) “The origins of protoindustry, c.1300-c.1550”, in idem Freedom and Growth. The rise of states and markets in Europe, 1300-1750, New York/London: Routledge/LSE, p.106-146.



“The growth of rural and small town textile manufactures for regional and supra-regional markets was among the most significant features of the late medieval economy” (p.106). It is usually assumed that this phenomenon arose due to the diseconomies caused by the inflexibility of the urban craft guilds, using the available underemployed rural workforce, and to respond to the increased popular demand for consumer goods following the shift in terms of trade between capital and labour which followed the Black Death. Read the rest of this entry »

The Economics of the Great Depression: an interview with Ben Bernanke

February 19, 2009


Submitted by Rich Marino

Lately, there has been never ending discussions about today’s government bailouts and stimulus packages within the context of currency devaluations, deflation, yesterday’s gold standard, and how all of this relates to the history of the Great Depression. All of this banter begs the question: what did we actually learn from this history? Read the rest of this entry »

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed, 564 pages, 2009, Penguin Press

February 16, 2009


A Book Review written by Rich Marino

A friend of mine who works for the New York Times sent me an email and told me that the newspaper planned to review a book that I might find interesting entitled: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed, a trustee with the Brookings Institution. So, I picked up a copy of it at the airport book store before I came limping back to London. Read the rest of this entry »

Kanazawa S. (2004) The Savannah Principle

February 15, 2009

Kanazawa, Satoshi (2004) “The Savanna Principle”, Managerial and Decision Economics, 25/1, 41-54.



Models designed and used by microeconomists commonly fail to predict actual human behaviours (p.41). The author proposes to use Evolutionary Psychology (EP) to overcome these shortfalls. Unlike Evolutionary Economics which deals mostly with the evolution of strategies and organizations, EP uses the substance of Darwinism, instead of merely mimicking its principles. Read the rest of this entry »

Dean T. (2008) Fornicating with nuns

February 15, 2009


Valentine day special (on the trashy side)

Dean, Trevor (2008) “Fornicating with nuns in fifteenth-century Bologna”, Journal of Medieval History, 34/3, 374-382.

In the mid years of the 15th century, the penalties for abducting or having sex with nuns became increasingly harsh in Northern Italy. In Lucca, the mere attempt to engage in sexual relations with nuns mandated decapitation. But most prosecuted case reveal a marked leniency, as most offenders were simply fined (p.376).

Having sex with nuns was a social activity. It required contacts within the nunneries and sometimes among the clergy. Numerous go-between broke encounters with nuns. Wet-nurses would take care of the babies born from nuns and interlopers (a widow in this case) helped the escapees. Read the rest of this entry »