The Price of Bread: Regulating the Market in the Dutch Republic

The Price of Bread: Regulating the Market in the Dutch Republic

by Jan de Vries

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Overview

A prime contemporary concern - how to maintain fair market relations - is addressed through this study of the regulation of bread prices. This was the single most important economic reality of Europe's daily life in the early modern period. Jan de Vries uses the Dutch Republic as a case study of how the market functioned and how the regulatory system evolved and acted. The ways in which consumer behaviour adapted to these structures, and the state interacted with producers and consumers in the pursuit of its own interests, had major implications for the measurement of living standards in this period. The long-term consequences of the Dutch state's interventions reveal how capitalist economies, far from being the outcome of unfettered market economics, are inextricably linked with regulatory fiscal regimes. The humble loaf serves as a prism through which to explore major developments in early modern European society and how public market regulation affected private economic life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108759175
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 04/25/2019
Series: Cambridge Studies in Economic History - Second Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 10 MB

About the Author

Jan de Vries is Emeritus Professor of History and Economics and Professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of numerous publications, including The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Demand and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present (Cambridge, 2008), which won the Ranki Prize. In 2000, he was awarded the Heineken Prize in History, and is a past president of the Economic History Association.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. The Regulatory Regime: Protecting the Consumer and Strengthening the State: 1. Bread price regulation in Europe before the 1590s; 2. Free trade in grain?; 3. The Dutch broodzetting: the introduction of a 'new system' of bread price regulation; 4. Administering and enforcing the new bread price regulations; 5. The Dutch 'peculiar institution'; Part II. Industrial Organization: The Producers in a Regulated Industry: 6. Grain: the interaction of international trade and domestic production; 7. The milling sector: a trade harnessed to raison d'état?; 8. The baking enterprise: efficiency versus convenience; 9. The structure of bread prices; Part III. Consumer Welfare and Consumer Choice: 10. Crise de subsistence: did price regulation shelter consumers from food crises?; 11. Choosing what to eat in the early modern era; 12. Bread consumption: a wheat bread revolution?; 13. Measuring the standard of living: a demand-side approach; Part IV. Perspective and Demise: 14. Dutch bread price regulation in international perspective; 15. Bread price regulation renewed and abolished, 1776–1855; Conclusion.

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