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The Cambridge History of Capitalism

Volume 1. The Rise of Capitalism: From Ancient Origins to 1848


Larry Neal, Michael Jursa, Alain Bresson, Willem M. Jongman, Étienne de la Vaissière, R. Bin Wong, Tirthankar Roy, Şevket Pamuk, Karl Gunnar Persson, Luciano Pezzolo, Oscar Gelderblom, Joost Jonker, Patrick Karl O'Brien, Richard Salvucci, Morten Jerven, Ann M. Carlos, Frank D. Lewis, C. Knick Harley, Jeremy Atack, José Luís Cardoso
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  • Date Published: September 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107583283

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About the Authors
  • The first volume of The Cambridge History of Capitalism provides a comprehensive account of the evolution of capitalism from its earliest beginnings. Starting with its distant origins in ancient Babylon, successive chapters trace progression up to the 'Promised Land' of capitalism in America. Adopting a wide geographical coverage and comparative perspective, the international team of authors discuss the contributions of Greek, Roman, and Asian civilizations to the development of capitalism, as well as the Chinese, Indian and Arab empires. They determine what features of modern capitalism were present at each time and place, and why the various precursors of capitalism did not survive. Looking at the eventual success of medieval Europe and the examples of city-states in northern Italy and the Low Countries, the authors address how British mercantilism led to European imitations and American successes, and ultimately, how capitalism became global.

    • Provides a definitive account of the evolution of capitalism, exploring its spread across the world, its impact, and the varieties of responses to it
    • Has a wide geographical coverage: each feature identified with modern capitalism is treated globally for comparative perspectives
    • Includes a variety of viewpoints from a range of expert scholars, all supplemented with full and up-to-date bibliographies for further study
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In many respects the history of capitalism is the history most relevant to our times. It's a huge story and is well told in this very important book.' Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University

    'The two editors of The Cambridge History of Capitalism have done an excellent job in assembling an all-star group of scholars in presenting first-rate essays dealing with the development and accomplishments of capitalism and the important impacts of national and international markets for labor, capital, and goods throughout the world. These studies range in time from ancient Babylonia to today. All essays are superbly researched and highly informative in detailing the contributions of markets and of capitalism to global political and economic development.' Stanley Engerman, University of Rochester

    'This is a book we have been waiting for: an authoritative analysis of the rise and development of global capitalism, inspired by the great classical economists and written by a team of excellent experts in the field. A fine update of our knowledge about one of the big questions in the social sciences.' Jan Luiten van Zanden, Universiteit Utrecht

    '… an inestimable contribution.' Oxford Today

    Review of the set: 'The editors deserve praise for assembling such a diverse and distinguished group of authors while maintaining coherence and cross-referencing across chapters … the two volumes make a strong case that economic history as currently practiced is essential for an understanding of capitalism and its history.' David Mitch, EH.Net

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107583283
    • length: 630 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 28 mm
    • weight: 1.09kg
    • contains: 28 b/w illus. 5 maps 13 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction Larry Neal
    2. Babylonia in the first millennium BC - economic growth in times of empire Michael Jursa
    3. Capitalism and the ancient Greek economy Alain Bresson
    4. Re-constructing the Roman economy Willem M. Jongman
    5. Trans-Asian trade, or the Silk Road deconstructed (Antiquity, Middle Ages) Étienne de la Vaissière
    6. China before capitalism R. Bin Wong
    7. Capitalism in India in the very long run Tirthankar Roy
    8. Institutional change and economic development in the Middle East, 700–1800 Şevket Pamuk
    9. Markets and coercion in medieval Europe Karl Gunnar Persson
    10. The Via Italiana to capitalism Luciano Pezzolo
    11. The Low Countries Oscar Gelderblom and Joost Jonker
    12. The formation of states and transitions to modern economies: England, Europe and Asia compared Patrick Karl O'Brien
    13. Pre-Columbian and Iberian America Richard Salvucci
    14. The emergence of African capitalism Morten Jerven
    15. Native Americans and exchange: strategies and interactions before 1800 Ann M. Carlos and Frank D. Lewis
    16. British and European industrialization C. Knick Harley
    17. America: capitalism's promised land Jeremy Atack
    18. The political economy of rising capitalism José Luís Cardoso

  • Editors

    Larry Neal, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Larry Neal is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Specializing in financial history and European economies, he is author of The Rise of Financial Capitalism: International Capital Markets in the Age of Reason (Cambridge, 1990) and The Economics of Europe and the European Union (Cambridge, 2007), and is co-editor of The Origins and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions: From the Seventeenth Century to the Present (Cambridge, 2009) and 'I am Not Master of Events': The Speculations of John Law and Lord Londonderry in the Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles (2012).

    Jeffrey G. Williamson, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Jeffrey G. Williamson is Emeritus Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Harvard University, Massachusetts and Honorary Fellow in the Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is also Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, and has been a visiting professor at seventeen universities around the world. Professor Williamson specializes in development, inequality, globalization and history, and he is the author of around 230 scholarly articles and 30 books, his most recent being Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind (2011), Globalization and the Poor Periphery before 1950 (2006), Global Migration and the World Economy (2005, with T. Hatton) and Globalization in Historical Perspective (2003, edited with M. Bordo and A. M. Taylor).


    Larry Neal, Michael Jursa, Alain Bresson, Willem M. Jongman, Étienne de la Vaissière, R. Bin Wong, Tirthankar Roy, Şevket Pamuk, Karl Gunnar Persson, Luciano Pezzolo, Oscar Gelderblom, Joost Jonker, Patrick Karl O'Brien, Richard Salvucci, Morten Jerven, Ann M. Carlos, Frank D. Lewis, C. Knick Harley, Jeremy Atack, José Luís Cardoso

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