O’Brien P. (1988) … or why the Brits used to like paying taxes

August 13, 2009

O’Brien, Patrick K. (1988) “The Political Economy of British Taxation, 1660-1815”, The Economic History Review , 41/1, 1-32.

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Disclaimer: this summary is written by the contributors of the blog and not by the author of the article. Any mistake is Manuel’s fault (and he shall be punished).


From the Restoration to Waterloo, warfare occupied nearly half the fiscal years, imposing an ever-increasing burden upon the British taxpayers (p.1). The sudden extra expenditures caused by the conflicts were met not through higher taxes but thanks to loans obtained on the London capital market. The British “tax system was [not] elastic or reliable enough to finance abrupt transitions”. The service of the debt contracted during wars soon took over most of peacetime budget (p.2). Read the rest of this entry »

De Roover R. (1955) Old dead right men

July 1, 2009

De Roover, Raymond (1955) “Scholastic Economics: Survival and Lasting Influence from the Sixteenth Century to Adam Smith”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 69/2, 161-190.

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However economics textbooks sometimes mention Thomas Aquinas, they generally overlook the fact that he was followed by almost five centuries of refined followers who greatly improved and expended his system. Of course, those scholars never considered economics as a field in itself but as an appendix to ethics and law (p.162). Read the rest of this entry »

Maitte C. (2009) Migration and secrets of the glass-making communities

June 13, 2009

Maitte, Corine (2009) Les Chemins de verre. Les migrations des verriers d’Altare et de Venise (XVIe-XIXe siècles), chap. 7, Migrer et livrer ses secrets? Secrets et transmission technique, Rennes: Presses Universitaire de Rennes, p.201-238.

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The first book dedicated to the “secrets” of glass-making was published in 1612 by the Italian priest Antonio Neri (p.202). Numerous authors during the 16th century had undertaken to reveal the secrets of several industries, in particular metallurgy but alchemy (p.203).  These books had theoretically the ability to go beyond the usual oral father-to-son or master-to-apprentice transmission of techniques (p.206). Read the rest of this entry »

Subrahmayam S. and Thomaz L. F. (1991) The Portuguese in the Indian Ocean during the 16th century

August 24, 2008

Subrahmayam Sanjay and F. R. Thomaz Luis Felipe (1991) “Evolution of empire: The Portuguese in the Indian Ocean during the sixteenth century” in The Political Economy of Merchant Empire. State Power and World Trade 1350-1750, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 298-331.

This book is available on google for every one to read!!!

Models of expansion

Before Da Gama‘s voyage (1498), the Portuguese were already involved in overseas colonisation. Their expansion followed three main models:

  1. In North Africa, a network of fortresses involved in endemic warfare with their neighbouring hinterland.
  2. In the Atlantic Islands, an agrarian and territorial settlement by Portuguese colons.
  3. In Guinea, a network of commercial coastal emporium involved in peaceful relationships with their surrounding. Read the rest of this entry »

Reis Mourão P. (2007) The Company of the Port Wines in the 18th century

August 17, 2008

Reis Mourão Paulo (2007) “Uma visao integrada sobre a Companhia das Vinhas do Alto Douro”, Fênix. Revista de História e Estudos Culturais, 4/3, 11p.

This article is available on line

The creation of the Company of the Wines of the High Douro took place at a time when many of these companies were created by the state. By the 1740s when the talks about the creation of the company started, Port wines (or Oporto wines as they were then called) had already a thousands years history and had met international success on the western European markets since the 1600s. Read the rest of this entry »