May 29, 2009

Merci ma dame!

ok folks I’ve been accepted at Utrecht U. (yay!)

I’m in love (again)

May 25, 2009

Sarah as usual scoutting the world for novelties brought back some serious goodies this time. Here is WolframAlpha, a new web browser that gives you a synthetic, data-based and throughoutly checked answer to any question you may have (almost). For instance this computational knowledge engine found 42 answers to the meaning of life, but smartly avoided to display them, so that our existences stay somewhat interesting. Sci Fi’s among us!

Web shopping

May 25, 2009

A review of the book The Survival of the Sickest about the impact of diseases on natural selection in humans on Meg Marquardt’s blog.

An important lesson to keep in mind from Leonardo Monasterio.

A post on the effects of rent control on the excellent blog market urbanism.

And finally for a bit of entertainment Charles Bamforth talks about beer at authors@google Read the rest of this entry »

This week in Economic History (May 25-29th, 2009)

May 25, 2009

On Monday the 25th and Tuesday the 26th, a conference on “Ambitions and Reality: Historical Perspectives on the Common Agricultural Policy” will be held in the Deutsches Historisches Institut in Paris. Also on Monday, Stephen Haber (Stanford University) will present a paper on the myth of the resource course in the Economic History Seminar in Mexico City.

On Wednesday the 27th, a workshop on “Les langues du commerce à l’époque moderne” will be held at the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, in Aix-en-Provence, France. You can contact Olivier Raveux if you wish more information on this event. Also on Wednesday, the VonGremp Workshop in Economic and Entrepreneurial History hosts Robert Margo (Boston University). Margo will present his paper Did Railroads Induce or Follow Economic Growth? Urbanization and Population Growth in the American Midwest, 1850-1860.

Read the rest of this entry »

On an economic historian as head of the National Public Records Office of Mexico

May 25, 2009
Aurora Gómez-Galvarriato

Aurora Gómez-Galvarriato

It is possible that readers of this entry will find it a bit too local. But I think this piece of news is relevant enough to be of interest to an international audience.

On May the 1st Aurora Gómez-Galvarriato, Professor of Economics and Economic History at CIDE, was appointed as head of the Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico’s National Public Records Office.

Dr. Gómez-Galvarriato earned her Ph.D in History at Harvard University. Her dissertation “The Impact of Revolution: Business and Labor in the Mexican Textile Industry, Orizaba, Veracruz, 1900 to 1930” won the Alexander Gerschenkron Prize for the Best Dissertation in non-US or Canadian Economic History in 2000.

Her main research areas are the economic and social history of Mexico from the last quarter of the 19th century to 1930. These years are also known in traditional political history periods as “el Porfiriato” (the dictatorship of General Porfirio Díaz) and “la revolución mexicana” (1910-1921). She has written extensively on the industrialization and Mexican economic development during the Díaz dictatorship, as well as on the impacts of the revolution of 1910 on the economy. She has also written in topics of labor, business and price history. Aurora Gómez is one of a growing number of Latin American economic historians who in recent years have used statistical methods to study important economic history problems of the region.

Read the rest of this entry »

Busy week end

May 24, 2009

Three EH articles in the mainstream media on the same week end! Christmas’ coming early this year (or is it 2008’s that’s late? who knows?).

The economist has a review of Bob Allen’s book on the Industrial Revolution.

In the same newspaper, a review of Hugh Thomas’ book on the Spanish industrialist Eduardo Barreiros that help rebuild Spain after the civil war and was instrumental in the country’s rapid growth under Franco. One interesting fellow and I’m sure a great book set in one of the most exciting time for an economic historian since it takles the essential issue: is democracy bad for development?

Last but not least, the FT has a great piece on another key issue: why did North America grew so much and South America so little?

Read the rest of this entry »

Fighting for liquidity

May 21, 2009

The FT today has an article describing a manover designed to increase asset liquidity in the troubled diamond industry, which is alarmingly reminding of the issues faced by Antwerp merchants in the 15th and 16th century.

Se vogliamo che tutto remanga,

"Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga com'è, bisognà che tutto cambi!" (Tancredi di Falconeri)

Belgium’s €1bn diamond bail-out

By Stanley Pignal in Brussels

The diamond industry is set to be the latest to be bailed out by the Belgian authorities as a group of banks agreed to fund a €1bn credit facility for gem dealers.

The banks have agreed to take diamonds as collateral if the government alters lending rules to allow them to take the gems on to their books.

The money, part of a package to encourage banks to resume lending to the sector, is needed “to restore confidence in the diamond trade”, said Freddy Hanard, head of the Antwerp gem association. Read the rest of this entry »

History’s among us

May 21, 2009

Google unveils an odd cast-based discrimination dating back from the Tokugawas: scandal in Japan (from Yahoo! tech).

Old Japanese maps on Google Earth unveil secrets

By JAY ALABASTER, Associated Press Writer – Sat May 2, 2009 11:39AM EDT

TOKYO – When Google Earth added historical maps of Japan to its online collection last year, the search giant didn’t expect a backlash. The finely detailed woodblock prints have been around for centuries, they were already posted on another Web site, and a historical map of Tokyo put up in 2006 hadn’t caused any problems. Read the rest of this entry »

News from the web

May 19, 2009

A mailing list devoted to economic history created by the dreaded dandy of the field Guillaume Daudin: h i s t o i r e _ e c o @ c r u . f r

An article about Robert Allen’s new book on the Industrial Revolutio on voxeu (via Oxonomics; other interesting posts from that blog here, here and here).

A couple of older good posts I wanted to point at for a while  from the humiliatingly constantly brilliant Rebecca Wilder (here and here).

And finally some silliness from xkcd: one here, another here, etc, etc..

Austin G. (2009) Coercion and labour market in pre-colonial West Africa

May 19, 2009

Austin, Gareth (2009) “Coercion and markets: the political economy of slavery in West Africa, c.1450-1900”, paper presented for the Séminaire: Travail et conditions de vie en Afrique dans la longue durée, at the Paris School of Economics, 18/05/09.



The use of slave labour in pre-colonial Western Africa has often been attributed to the small human densities in the region. But this argument is in contradiction with the fact that slavery was relatively uncommon in the area before the development of the Atlantic slave trade. Indeed, it is the European demand for African bond labour that created the mechanisms that were subsequently used by the “domestic” slave trade. Those two markets were complementary, in particularly, the Atlantic slave trade concentrated on men while the domestic demand was centred on women. Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Economic History (May 18th-23rd, 2009)

May 17, 2009

On Monday the 18th, the  London School of Economics Business History Unit Seminar will host James Walker and Peter Scott (Henley Business School at the University of Reading). They will present a paper on “Sales and Advertising Rivalry in Interwar US Department Stores”.  That same day, there will be an interesting conference on “Work and living standards in Africa in the long run“. Gareth Austin (LSE), Issiaka Mandé (Université Paris-Diderot), Alexander Moradi (University of Sussex) and Denis Cogneau (PSE et IRD) will discuss their papers in ENS, Paris.

On Tuesday the 19th, there will be a conference on “Cuisine régionale, cuisine de ville. Histoire et identités régionales”, by Massimo Montanari, at Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7.  A two-day international conference on Sailing History begins on Tuesday in Granada. There is also an interesting seminar on “The Long Term Effects of the Ottoman Empire: Financial Development in the Regions of Europe”, by Pauline Grosjean, at Berkeley University.

On Thursday, May 21st, a two-day conference will begin in London, this on “Writing the History of the Global“. Economic historians such as Jan Luiten van Zanden, Sevket Pamuk and Patrick O’Brien, among others will participate on a topic that has caught the attention of many colleagues around the world. The organizers will post multimedia records in ITunesU: we’ll inform whenever they are available. In Barcelona, a workshop on “Innovation Economy and History of Science and Technology. The Making of the Contemporary Pharmaceutical Research System” begins that same day.

There will be a two-day open conference in Mexico City to discuss the chapters of the coming book “Historia económica general de México. De la colonia a nuestros días“. Internationally-known scholars, such as Stephen Haber (Stanford), Alan Knight (Oxford), John Coatsworth (Columbia) and Gabriel Tortella (Universidad de Alcalá de Henares) will discuss a collective book that will definitely be a cornerstone in Mexican economic history.

Do you know of any other relevant economic history event in  your country? Please let us know!

Web shopping

May 14, 2009

Via our man in Havana São Paulo:

  • The 1294 credit crunch.
  • The interest of anthropometric history (pdf).
  • Read the rest of this entry »