The Economy of Obligation

The Economy of Obligation : The Culture of Credit and Social Relations in Early Modern England

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Description

This book is an excellent work of scholarship. It seeks to redefine the early modern English economy by rejecting the concept of capitalism, and instead explores the cultural meaning of credit, resulting from the way in which it was economically structured. It is a major argument of the book that money was used only in a limited number of exchanges, and that credit in terms of household reputation, was a 'cultural currency' of trust used to transact most business. As the market expanded in the late-sixteenth century such trust became harder to maintain, leading to an explosion of debt litigation, which in turn resulted in social relations being partially redefined in terms of contractual equality.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 453 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 39.88mm | 747g
  • Palgrave MacMillan
  • Gordonsville, United States
  • English
  • 1998 ed.
  • XVII, 453 p.
  • 0312215657
  • 9780312215651
  • 1,889,516

Table of contents

Introduction: Deconstructing Capitalism PART I: ECONOMIC STRUCTURES The Sixteenth-Century Growth of the Market The Structure and Practice of Marketing Activity and its Expansion i) Communication and Bargaining and the Just Price ii) Urban Development Transactions on the Market iii) King's Lynn Wealth Categories The Structure of Credit Networks PART II: THE CULTURE OF CREDIT The Sociability of Credit and Commerce The Cultural Currency of Credit and the Construction of Reputation Doubts about Trust i) Tradesmen's and Merchants' Credit PART III: CREDIT AND ITS DISCONTENTS Disputes and Levels of Litigation i) Procedure in Urban Courts of Record ii) Levels of Litigation in Local Courts iii) Popular Participation in Litigation iv) Judgements in Local Courts Litigation and the Social Order: Debt and Downward Mobility i) Legal Process and the Loss of Credit ii) The Mutability of Wealth and Social Judgement iii) The Poor Conclusion: The Contractual Society Appendix I Appendix II Bibliography Index List of Tables List of Figures List of Maps Acknowledgements List of Abbreviations Notes on Dates
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Review Text

'Craig Muldrew has written an imaginatively conceived and richly researched study of the meaning and practice of credit in early modern England.' - David Harris Sacks, Reed College, Journal of Economic History
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Review quote

'Craig Muldrew has written an imaginatively conceived and richly researched study of the meaning and practice of credit in early modern England.' - David Harris Sacks, Reed College, Journal of Economic History
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About Craig Muldrew

CRAIG MULDREW is Lecturer in the History Department and member of Queens' College, University of Cambridge. He has been a lecturer at University of Exeter and a Jean Monnet fellow at the European University Institute, Florence.
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