What my credit can do in (medieval) Venice

January 2, 2013

Mueller, Reinhold C. (1987) I banchi locali a Venezia nel Tardo Medioevo. Studi Storici, 28/1: 145-55.

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There is a lot to be admired in Austrian economists, their resilience, their attachment to simple elegant ideas and their sound understanding of the long-term factors that give the economy its cyclical nature. But one must admit that their Ludite-like hatred for finance is to the very least puzzling. They claim to trust nothing but gold and they would like to see the activity of banks restricted to little more than a locker service. Their trust in free market and in the adaptive nature of human ingenuity ends at the door of their local branch of HSBC. Read the rest of this entry »


Web shopping: Newspaper article on Xinjiang’s economic history

July 15, 2009
"Police officers marching in Urumqi". Photo by Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times

"Police officers marching in Urumqi". Photo by Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times

If you want to know more about the historical and economic origins of Uighur’s unrest in China last weeks, here is a good article on Xinjiang’s history by Edward Wong, a New York Times journalist.


Gelderblom O. (2005) The decline of fairs and merchant guilds

March 13, 2009

Gelderblom, Oscar (2005) “The decline of Fairs and Merchant Guilds in the Low Countries, 1250-1650″, Economy and Society in the Low Countries before 1850, Working Paper 1, 47p.

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This article is available on line

Between the 11th and 13th century, during the Commercial Revolution, long-distance trade in Europe expanded rapidly thanks to organizational improvements such as fairs and merchant guilds (p.1). In fairs, merchants increased their chance to find business partners and benefited from the protection and the contract-enforcement abilities of the local jurisdictions. Merchant guilds were associations of traders from the same origin present in a foreign market and united in order to increase their bargain power with local authorities (p.2). 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.


Introduction

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 »


Shatzmiller J. (1990) “The best Jew in the world”: another look at medieval Jewish usury

January 15, 2009

Joseph Shatzmiller (1990) Shylock reconsidered: Jews, Moneylending, and Medieval Society, Berkeley, University of California Press, 250p.*

Introduction

From February to July 1317, a trial opposing a Jewish moneylender called Bondavin to his client Laurent Girard took place in Marseille. Bondavin accused Laurent of not having paid back a 60-sols loan (15). A significant sum, but nothing extraordinary compared to Bondavin own’s fortune (certainly several hundred pounds) (21). So why did Bondavin engaged in a procedure if not for money? 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.

Introduction

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 »


Arnoux M. 2001 European metallurgy technical and managerial innovation (13th-16th century)

July 6, 2008

Arnoux Mathieu (2001) “Innovation technique et genèse de l’entreprise. Quelques réflexions à partir de l’exemple de la métallurgie européenne (XIIIe-XVIe siècles)”, Histoire, économie & société, 20/4, 447-454.

This article is available online!

Introduction

Metallurgy and the related industries have been significant players in the economic development of 12th- and 13th-century Europe. All over the period metal consumption increased significantly. The producers met the demand by finding ways of increasing their productivity. Hydraulic energy was used to hammer larger pieces of iron and steel and then to ventilate furnaces (448). The new process was further developed in Belgium (the so-called Walloon process) and spread all over Europe in 1450-1550. Read the rest of this entry »