Commerce before Capitalism in Europe, 1300-1600

Commerce before Capitalism in Europe, 1300-1600

by Martha C. Howell
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0521148502

ISBN-13: 9780521148504

Pub. Date: 04/30/2010

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

In Commerce before Capitalism in Europe, 1300–1600, Martha C. Howell challenges dominant interpretations of the relationship between the so-called commercial revolution of late medieval Europe and the capitalist age that followed. Howell argues that the merchants, shopkeepers, artisans, and consumers in cities and courts throughout Western Europe, even in the

Overview

In Commerce before Capitalism in Europe, 1300–1600, Martha C. Howell challenges dominant interpretations of the relationship between the so-called commercial revolution of late medieval Europe and the capitalist age that followed. Howell argues that the merchants, shopkeepers, artisans, and consumers in cities and courts throughout Western Europe, even in the densely urbanized Low Countries that are the main focus of this study, cannot be best understood as proto-capitalist. Unlike the capitalists described by modern theory, these people did not consider their property a fungible asset. Even though they bought and sold property for a living and developed sophisticated financial techniques, they preserved its capacity to secure social bonds by intensifying market regulations and by assigning new meaning to marriage, gift-giving, and consumption. Later generations have sometimes found such actions perplexing, often dismissing them as evidence that businesspeople of the late medieval and early modern world did not fully understand market rules. By contrast, Howell shows that practices often considered primitive were governed by a logic specific to their age and that these practices, in fact, laid essential groundwork for the capitalist centuries to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521148504
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
04/30/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
378
Sales rank:
1,002,955
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 Movable/Immovable: What's in a Name? 49

2 “Pour I'amour et affection conjugate” 93

3 Gift Work 145

4 The Dangers of Dress 208

5 Rescuing Commerce 261

Afterword 299

Appendix I 303

Appendix II 306

Bibliography 307

Index 361

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