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.

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Introduction

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!


Berry M.E. (2008) Market revolution in 17th-century Japan

March 16, 2008

Mary Elizabeth Berry (2008) “Is Consumption Virtuous? The Market Revolution and the Motives for Work in 17th-Century Japan”, conference given at UCLA.

The conference was introduced by prof. Sanjay Subrahmanyam in front of a very receptive audience in the great campus that is UCLA. These are my notes, the construction and the mistakes are mine. The drawing above have been ignominously stolen from the Gütenberg project’s Tales from Old Japan.

Introduction

Prof. Berry started by reminding the “Tokugawa litany” to the audience: the 17th century was a time of tremendous change in the Japanese economic history; perhaps even more so than the Meiji period.

The population doubled, reaching 30 million. The proportion of urban population went from 3 to 12%. These figure are particularly impressive when one compares Japan to, say, France, which is 3 times larger and almost entirely arable (unlike Japan where at the time only 12% of the landmass could be cultivated), had only 19 million inhabitants. Read the rest of this entry »