DuPlessis R. & Howell M. (1982) Killing capitalism in its craddle (twice)

November 21, 2009

DuPlessis, Robert S. and Martha C. Howell (1982) Reconsidering the Early Modern Urban Economy : The Case of Leiden and Lille. Past and Present, 94/, 49-84.

In Marx’s view, capitalism had arisen in the late Middle Ages out of a production system dominated by lords and guilds. In this framework, urban economies can be regarded as the craddle of capitalism (p.44), the places where capital and labour were separated through the use of putting-out, or the hiring of a migrant or female workforce (p.45). However some cities, such as Leiden and Lille where artisans remained proprietors of their means of production, still managed to integrated the very competitive European textile market (p.46). Read the rest of this entry »

Clingingsmith D. and Williamson J. (2008) The world conjuration against the Indian industry

August 2, 2009

Clingingsmith, David and Williamson, Jeffrey G. (2008) “Deindstrialization in 18th and 19th century India: Mughal decline, climate shocks and British industrial ascent”, Exploration in Economic History, 45/3, 209-234.

Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3

Between 1700 and 1900, India went from being an industrial powerhouse to forgotten backwater. Why didn’t India manage to retain its edge and how did Britain overtake the giant? Read the rest of this entry »

Munro J. (2006) A non-mercantilist approach to the balance of payment problem

March 5, 2009

Munro, John H. (2006) “South German silver, European textiles, and Venetian trade with the Levant and Ottoman Empire, c. 1370 to c. 1720: a non-Mercantilist approach to the balance of payment problem”, in Relazione economiche tra Europea e mondo islamico, seccoli XII – XVII, ed. Simonetta Cavaciocchi, Florence: Le Monnier, 905-960.


This article is available on line


For mercantilists, gold and silver are not just mediums of exchange but the most tangible form of wealth (store of value) and a country’s veritable life-blood. In their view, the economic contraction of the later 14th and 15th centuries were caused by the outflow of precious metal to the East (p.905). But according to J. H. Munro, there was no such thing as a ‘bullion famine’, at worst some “periodic scarcity of coined money” in 1320-1340, 1370-1420, and 1440-1470 (p.906). Read the rest of this entry »

Çizaka M. (1980) Europe and the desindustrialization of the Ottoman Empire

March 2, 2009

Çizakca, Murat (1980) “Price History and the Bursa Silk Industry: A Study in Ottoman Industrial Decline, 1550-1650”, The Journal of Economic History, 40/3, 533-550.



“The Ottoman Empire, which covered most of Eastern Europe and the Near East in the sixteenth century, did not escape the worldwide inflation that is generally known as the ‘price revolution’” (p.533). The price series of this article are based on the estimates made by the kadi of the Bursa court in numerous inheritance cases (p.535). Raw silk prices jumped from 73.8 akçes on average in 1550-70 to 290.4 on average in 1620-40, a 293% increase (±8.5% yearly inflation; p.536). Read the rest of this entry »

Epstein S. R. (2000) The origins of protoindustry

February 22, 2009

Epstein Stephen R. (2000) “The origins of protoindustry, c.1300-c.1550”, in idem Freedom and Growth. The rise of states and markets in Europe, 1300-1750, New York/London: Routledge/LSE, p.106-146.



“The growth of rural and small town textile manufactures for regional and supra-regional markets was among the most significant features of the late medieval economy” (p.106). It is usually assumed that this phenomenon arose due to the diseconomies caused by the inflexibility of the urban craft guilds, using the available underemployed rural workforce, and to respond to the increased popular demand for consumer goods following the shift in terms of trade between capital and labour which followed the Black Death. Read the rest of this entry »

Thompson, J.K.J. (1983) Proto-industry in Languedoc

February 4, 2009

Thompson, J.K.J. (1983) “Variations in industrial structure in pre-industrial Languedoc”, in Berg, Maxine, Hudson, Pat, and Sonenscher, Michael, Manufacture in town and country before the factory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 61-91.


Languedoc hosted France’s (and potentially Europe’s) largest pre-modern concentration of textile textile production (p.61). Yet it does not fit in F. Mendel’s proto-industrialisation model: it was mostly a urban phenomenon, which dated back from the Middle Ages and it did not lead to a regional Industrial Revolution after 1800 (p.62). Read the rest of this entry »

Sousa F. (2005) Silk industry in northeastern Portugal (15th-19th century)

July 20, 2008

De Sousa Fernando (2005) “The silk industry in Trás-os-Montes during the Ancient Regime”, e-Journal of Portuguese History, 3/2, 14 p.

This article is available on line.


Trás-os-Montes is located in the North East of Portugal, it is a land-locked region close to the Spanish border. The silk industry started there in the 15th century but silkworms had been reared in the region since the 1200s. Although a significant part of the activity was located in Bragança, lesser towns and the countryside also enjoyed a share of it (Vinhais, Freixo de Espadaà Cinta, Chacim) (1). Read the rest of this entry »