Dagnino G. B. (1995) When being the first is not enough

September 28, 2009

Dagnino, Giovanni Battista (1995) “The Tavola di Palermo: The First Public Bank of Second European XVI century” in Proceedings of the Conference on Business History, October 24 and 25 1994, Rotterdam, eds Mila Davids, Ferry de Goey & Dirk de Witt, 91-111.

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The evolution of Sicilian banks reflects the history of the island during the early modern period, in that they were “economically and financially backward” (p.91). The 16th century in the Western Mediterranean was a time of Spanish Domination dominated by (1) money clipping, (2) high inflation, (3) commercial mismanagement, (4) Gresham Law episodes fuelled by unscrupulous financiers and (5) heavy and altogether negative government interventions (p.93). Read the rest of this entry »

Bosker M., Buringh E. and van Zanden J.L. (2008) Why did Europe overtake the Arab World?

January 27, 2009

Bosker Maarten, Buringh Eltjo and van Zanden Jan Luiten (2008) “From Baghdad to London. The dynamics of urban growth in Europe and the Arab world, 800-1800”, CEPR.


In this article, the authors wonder how did Europe rose from insignificance to global domination from 800 to 1800, while the relative importance of the neighbouring Muslim regions decreased. They try to define the “preconditions for the genesis of the modern economic growth” (p.3) and to understand the roots of the European modernity. When did Europe and the Arab world diverge (p.4).? Read the rest of this entry »

Durand R. (2004) Muslim Gold and the Rise of Portugal

August 31, 2008

Durand Robert (2004) “L’or musulman et la formation du Royaume du Portugal” in Michaud Françoise (ed.) Les Relations des pays d’Islam avec le monde latin du milieu du Xe siècle au milieu du XIIIe siècle, Paris, Vuibert, 250-261.


In the early 20th century, M. Lombard proposed the following thesis: the Muslim expansion triggered a major de-hoarding movement of the Sassanid and Byzantine gold reserve held in the newly conquered territories. According to R. Durand, a rather similar event may have followed the Almoravid and Almohad conquests of Spain. And it may have had a significant impact upon the formation of the Portuguese kingdom (p.250). Read the rest of this entry »

Kelly M. (1997) The dynamics of Smithian growth

February 24, 2008

KELLY Morgan (1997) “The Dynamics of Smithian Growth”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112/3, 939-964.

Smithian progress (i.e. the understanding that specialization causes output to rise first articulated by Adam Smith) is neglected by economists because it is perceived as gradual (unlike the sudden growth caused by innovation, learning by doing and private capital accumulation). But the author dismisses the idea that Smithian growth is necessarily gradual. Read the rest of this entry »

Goiten S. (1964) Mediterranean trade before the Crusades

February 17, 2008

Goiten Shelomo Dov (1964) “Le commerce méditerranéen avant les croisades. Quelques faits et problèmes”, reproduced in Micheau Françoise (ed.) Les relations des pays d’Islam avec le monde latin du milieu du Xe siècle au milieu du XIIIe siècle, Paris Vuibert, 2004, 286-303.


Have the Crusadeds followed and used or preceded and triggered the first commercial long-standing relations between the Muslim parts of the Mediterranean world and the Western Christendom (286) ? The documents from the Cairo Geniza cast a new light on this issue (287). These documents reveal “the strong influence of Europe upon he islamic trade as early as the first decades of the 11th century, and even sooner”. Read the rest of this entry »