Rules of Exchange

Rules of Exchange : French Capitalism in Comparative Perspective, Eighteenth to Early Twentieth Centuries

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The control of competition is designed, at best, to reconcile socioeconomic stability with innovation, and at worst, to keep competitors out of the market. In this respect, the nineteenth century was no more liberal than the eighteenth century. Even during the presumed liberal nineteenth century, legal regulation played a major role in the economy, and the industrial revolution was based on market institutions and organisations formed during the second half of the seventeenth century. If indeed there is a break in the history of capitalism, it should be situated at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with the irruption of mass production, consumption and the welfare state, which introduced new forms of regulation. This book provides a new intellectual, economic and legal history of capitalism from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. It analyzes the interaction between economic practices and legal constructions in France and compares the French case with other Western countries during this period, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3 tables
  • 1139007343
  • 9781139007344

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Building Ideal Markets: Economic and Legal Culture: 1. Economic thought and competition; 2. Codes, customs and jurisdictions; Part II. Trade and Marketplace: 3. Covered markets; 4. The world of shop; 5. Intangible trade and the produce exchange; Part III. Market as Transaction: 6. Contracts and the quality of goods; 7. Trademark, quality and reputation; 8. Expertise and product specification; 9. Rules of international trade; Part IV. General Rules of Competition: Speculation, Trusts and Fair Competition: 10. Hoarding and speculation; 11. The law of competition and unfair competition in other 'Western' countries; General conclusion: market, exchange and the ideal of more

Review quote

'Stanziani explores European economic development from a fresh angle, substituting a focus on law, credit, institutions, regulation, and organizational innovations for the customary centrality of technology and industry. The result is a provocative, practice-centered analysis, stretching across four centuries. An extraordinary recasting of economic history, as arresting as it is engaging.' Philip Scranton, Rutgers University 'This work is original. It tackles key issues of the present-day world economy, adding new views to a long-standing debate on the role of governments, laws, institutions, regulations, conventions and the like, leading readers back to late [eighteenth]-century economic thought. In studying rules (codified of course, but also habitual ways of doing), Stanziani suggests a new chronology of capitalist development - ni plus, ni moins. In so doing, he sheds new light on issues such as laissez-faire policy, social welfare systems, mass consumption, institutions and actors since the late [eighteenth] century up to now. This is an impressive achievement.' Peter Scholliers, Vrije Universiteit Brussel 'Stanziani argues convincingly that the ancien regime concern with just price and consumer protection was largely absent from nineteenth-century standardization efforts.' Paul Cheney, The Journal of Modern History 'Stanziani offers bold claims while being meticulous enough to reward readers who require convincing ... Rules of Exchange stands out both for its bold claims and its ability to muster enough evidence to defend them.' Kevin Goldberg, European History Quarterlyshow more