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

$113.00 (C)

  • Date Published: February 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107003866

$ 113.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • 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 Italy.

    • The first book since Ripert's (1951) on the historical link between capitalism and the law in France
    • Stresses, over several centuries, analogies and differences between French capitalism and those of other major Western countries
    • Overcomes the commonly held opposition between the pre-industrial and industrial world, Anglo-Saxon and European continental capitalisms
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "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-18th-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 18th century up to now. This is an impressive achievement."
    Peter Scholliers, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

    "Stanziani argues convincingly that the ancien régime 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 Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107003866
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 3 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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 non-competition.

  • Author

    Alessandro Stanziani, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
    Alessandro Stanziani is a professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Senior Researcher at the Centre National des Recherches Scientifiques (CNRS) in Paris. He earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Naples and a Ph.D. in history from the EHESS, Paris. He has received numerous grants for his research, including one from the CNRS for a project on bonded labour in the Indian Ocean and one from the British Academy and French Ministry of Research Program on food policies in France and Britain in the eighteenth to twentieth centuries (with Peter Atkins). Stanziani has written approximately 80 articles and book chapters in English, French, German and Russian. He is the author of L'économie en révolution. Le cas russe, 1870–1930 and Histoire de la qualité alimentaire, 18e–20e siècles. He is the editor of La travail contraint en Asie et en Europe, XVIIe–XXe siècles and La qualité des produits en France XVIIIe–XXe siècles and co-editor of Nomenclatures et classifications. Enjeux économiques et dynamiques historiques (with Martin Bruegel and Jérôme Bourdieu).

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