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The Political Economy of Merchant Empires


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction James D. Tracy; 1. Institutions, transaction costs and the rise of merchant empires Douglass C. North; 2. Merchants and states M. N. Pearson; 3. The rise of merchant empires, 1400-1700: a European counterpoint Thomas A. Brady Jr; 4. Europe and the wider world, 1500-1700: the military balance Geoffrey Parker; 5. The pirate and the emperor: power and the law on the seas, 1450-1850 Anne Perotin-Dumon; 6. Transport costs and long-range trade, 1300-1800: was there a European 'transport revolution' in the early modern era? Russell R. Menard; 7. Transaction costs: a note on merchant credit and the organization of private trade Jacob M. Price; 8. Evolution of empire: the Portuguese in the Indian ocean during the sixteenth century Sanjay Subrahmanyam and Luis Felipe F. R. Thomaz; 9. Comparing the Tokagawa Shogunate with Hapsburg Spain: two silver-based empires in a global setting Dennis O. Flynn; 10. Colonies as mercantile investments: the Luso-Brazilian empire, 1500-1808 Jose Jobson de Andrade Arruda; 11. Reflections on the organizing principle of pre-modern trade K. N. Chaudhuri; Selected bibliography of secondary works; Index.

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This book focuses on why Europe became the dominant economic force in global trade between 1450 and 1750.


"...forms an exciting introduction to relatively recent and exotic discoveries in early modern economic history, and to the broad issue of western economic dominance." The Northern Mariner "One of the many strengths of this densely packed new volume is that care is taken by several of the contributors not to over-emphasize the importance of long-distance trade for the domestic economies of early modern Europe...The theme of the book, is in effect, the characteristically, if not uniquely, European combination of trade and state power--the protracted European tradition of a union of trade and warfare that began with the Italian maritime empires, and had a continuous history from then on, culminating in the East India Companies. In elaborating on this theme, with its manifold implications, the book goes well beyond earlier attempts in this direction. As such, it is an outstanding addition." The International History Review "...this collection will repay the efforts of American historians interested in the trajectory of global economic history or the socioeconomic and political foundations of imperial dominion." David Harris Sacks, Journal of American History "[This book] brings together many of the best scholars in the field for updated interpretations of European merchant empires and the wider world...a valuable addition to the study of world history in the early modern period." Journal of World History "...should be of interest to many, for it represents the latest research and interpretation on the rise of European merchant empires." Roy S. Hanashiro, Pacific Affairs "The contributors to The Political Economy of Merchant Empires are among the most prominent of those scholars who have produced during the past five or six years a remarkably impressive literature on what used to be called the 'Expansion of Europe.'...[This book] is an unusually fine collection of summary articles on a very important general theme." Edwin J. Van Kley, Journal of Modern History

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