April 28, 2009
Temin, Peter and Voth, Hans-Joachim (2008) “Private borrowing during the financial revolution: Hoare’s Bank and its customers, 1702-24”, Economic History Review, 61/3, 541-564.
The Financial Revolution is said to have allowed the British government to borrow widely and cheaply. Famously, North and Weingast added that it also had a profound and beneficial effect on private businesses (p.541). To assess the latter claim, the authors use data collected from the archives of a small London goldsmith bank, Hoare’s (p.542). It is likely that their sample is fairly representative since there were only a dozen such establishments around 1700s. The key event of the period is the lowering of the legal maximum interest rate from 6 to 5% in 1714 by the heavily indebted British government at the end of the War of Spanish Succession (p.543). Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
January 1, 2009
Richardson Gary (2005) “The Prudent Village: Risk Pooling Institution in Medieval English Agriculture”, The Journal Of Economic History, 65/2, 386-413.
In this somewhat cumbersome article, Richardson argues against McCloskey’s widely accepted vision of the medieval peasant’s management of the risk of crop failures by scattering his arable land throughout his village. This strategy had a major shortcoming: it significantly reduced average crop yield, but according to Mc Closkey, no better option was available to mitigate the risks of everyday agrarian life (p.386).
Read the rest of this entry »