The Mediterranean Tradition in Economic Thought

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It has become commonplace to consider economic thought as if it were almost entirely an Anglo-American affair, with only cursory references to economic thinking before Adam Smith. However, each of the civilizations that flourished in the Mediterranean basin long before the rise of the Atlantic economies left a rich legacy of thinking on economic affairs. This tradition is rooted in politics, ethics and religion: it was a more complete view than ours. The Mediterranean Tradition in Economic Thought surveys the development of this tradition over four millennia. It considers the economic context of the scriptures of the Mesopotamian civilizations, Pharaonic Egypt and the Biblical peoples and the contributions of the Greeks and Romans, and their influence on Islamic civilization and on the Medieval scholastics. The flowering of the school of Salamanca as recently as the seventeenth century demonstrates how long-lived the tradition was, and throughout, the author demonstrates how these ideas continue to survive and resurface, citing the renewed interest in the ethical dimension of economics, the revival of interest in the history of Islamic thought, and the re-emergence of Slavophile doctrines in contemporary Russia.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

The author
I The Mediterranean Tradition 1
Mediterranean economic thought and Atlantic economics 1
The roots of the tradition 6
What is in the term 'tradition' 7
The revival of the Mediterranean tradition 10
The reading of ancient texts 15
Economic humanism: a new theme 17
II The Near Eastern Precursors 20
The dawn of civilization 20
The Mesopotamian legal tradition 24
Pharaonic Egypt 27
The biblical tradition 32
III The Contribution of the Greek Essayists and Philosophers 42
The emergence of rationalism and securalism 42
Essayists and pamphleteers in fourth-century Athens 46
Plato's anti-economic tradition 61
Aristotle explores the economy 72
The historical trajectory of Aristotle's analysis 92
IV The Economic Thought of Classical Islam and Its Revival 95
Islam as a force in history 95
The sources and their interpretation 98
Law, jurisprudence and 'hisbah' 101
The Persian tradition 107
Kalam and Falsafa 108
The global vision of Ibn Khaldun 114
Transfer channels and impact in the West 118
The revival of the Islamic tradition 121
V The Economic Impact of the Cistercian Order 125
The Weber thesis revisited 125
Historical background 127
The Cistercians and the rural economy 128
A prototype of multinational agribusiness 129
The development trap of the twelfth century 129
As innovative corporate culture and structure 131
The transition to the late Middle Ages 134
VI Medieval Thought in the Latin West 137
The late blooming of the Latin West 137
The Roman legists 141
The teaching of the canonists 147
The contribution of scholastic theology 153
Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas 155
The Languedocian Franciscan P. J. Olivi 163
Money and the abuse of power 169
The turn towards modern times 174
VII Iberian Monetarism and Development Theories of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries 176
The cultural and economic setting 176
The great inflation 180
The school of Salamanca 182
A new perception of inflation 186
Purchasing-power parity 190
The political economists or 'arbitristas' 191
Portuguese 'alvitrismo' 201
Review and evaluation 204
The historical unfolding of theories and their sources 208
Notes 211
Bibliography 219
Index 233
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