Important notice: The entire program will be held in English, including all required readings, the discussions in the classroom, and group oral presentations. Hence, this course is aimed at students who have an upper-intermediate level of listening, reading, speaking and writing skills in English. If you have any queries about your qualifications, please reach out to the professor via email before the beginning of the classes at firstname.lastname@example.org
The course intends to familiarize students with the social, cultural and political dimensions of the diverging paths in the development of capitalism from the Commercial to the Industrial Revolution. Between 1500 and 1800, northwestern Europe (and northeastern America) attained better living standards than the rest of the world, including the most developed areas of Asia and other parts of Europe. These changes, dubbed Great (and Little) Divergence, happened while Europe came to control a large part of intercontinental trade and maritime transportation, and started to colonize a large extent of the globe. The introduction of American species elsewhere spurred population growth and urbanization globally. The world became dependent on currency made of silver extracted in Spanish America. Empires drove intercontinental migration, including coerced workforce, alongside the decimation of native Americans through violence and disease.
In the 21st century, the study of the origins of capitalism has been one of the most vibrant and innovative areas of investigation among both historians and economists. The course aims to introduce students to a diverse range of topics that prominently feature in the current scholarly debates.
The course examines the role of mechanisms that facilitated the expansion of trade, the thorny development of currency, the responses to religious constraints to credit, and the evolvement of financial markets. It also pays close attention to two significant effects of the development of Capitalism, proliferation of consumption and mounting urban poverty, together with the various forms in which societies reacted to them.
While largely focused in the West, the course looks at the impacts of both European War Capitalism in Asia and Slave Capitalism in the Americas and Africa. It also covers trading networks across Eurasia and the Atlantic, Muslim approaches to interests, and Chinese patterns of welfare. Finally, it reviews different theories for divergent development within Europe (and their colonies) and between Europe and other regions on the globe.
2. Between history and economics
3. Commercial Revolution
4. War Capitalism in Asia
5. Slavery and Capitalism
6. Currency and prices
7. Usury and credit
8. Finances and banking
9. Poverty and poor relief
10. State and development
11. Consumer Revolution and Industrious Revolution
12. Industrial Revolution
13. Great Divergence
14. Final exam
Allen, Robert C. “The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War,” Explorations in Economic History, 38 (2001), 411-447.
Allen, Robert C. The British industrial revolution in global perspective. (Cambridge: 2009).
Nunn, Nathan (2008).'The Long-Term Effects. of 'Africa's Slave Trades', Quarterly Journal of Economics 123 pp 139-176
(2009) The Importance of History for Economic Development, Annual Review of Economics 1, pp 65-92
Nunn, Nathan and Nancy Qian (2011) The Potato s Contribution to Population and Urbanization Evidence from a Historical Experiment, Quarterly Journal of Economics 127, pp 593-560.
Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson and James A. Robinson (2001). 'The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An
Empirical Investigation', American Economic Review 102, pp. 3077-3110.
Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson and James A. Robinson (2002). 'Reversal! of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution', Quarterly Journal of Economics 117, pp 1231-1294.
Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson and James A. Robinson (2005). 'The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth', American Economic Review 95, pp. 546-579.
Acemoglu, Daron and James A. Robinson (2010). 'Why Is Africa Poor?', Economic History of Developing Regions 25, pp. 21-50.
Aslanian, Sebouh David. From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa. Berkley: University of California University Press: 2011, pp. 1-22, 166-201.
Beckert, Sven, Empire of Cotton: A Global History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014), chapters 2.
Beckert, Sven, Empire of Cotton: A Global History (New York: 2014), chapter 4.
Bolt, Jutta and Zanden, Jan Luiten Van, “The Maddison Project: collaborative research on historical national accounts,” Economic History Review, 67:3 (2014), 627–651.
Ceccarelli, Giovanni. “Risky Business: Theological and Canonical Thought on Insurance from the Thirteenth to the Seventeenth Century.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 31, no. 3 (Fall 2001): 607–658.
Curtin, Philip D. Cross-Cultural Trade in World History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 1-14, 230-254.
Dincecco, Mark, “The Rise of Effective States in Europe.” The Journal of Economic History, 75:3 (2015): 901-918.
Gelderblom, Oscar and Trivellato, Francesca. “The business history of the preindustrial world: Towards a comparative historical analysis,” Business History, 61:2 (2019), 5-6.
Goldberg, Dror, “Money, Credit, and Banking in Virginia, 1585-1645.” https://economics.yale.edu/sites/default/files/goldberg-paper.pdf
Grafe, Regina and Irigoin, Alejandra, “Bargaining for Absolutism: A Spanish Path to Nation-State and Empire Building.” Hispanic American Historical Review (2008) 88 (2): 173-209.
Greif, Avner. “Cultural Belief and Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Invidualist Societies.” The Journal of Political Economy, 102:5, 912-950.
Greif, Avner, and Murat Iyigun. 2013. "Social Organizations, Violence, and Modern Growth." American Economic Review, 103 (3): 534-38.
Hoffman, Philip T., Postel-Vinay, Gilles and Rosenthal, Jean Laurent, “Information and Economic History: How the Credit Market in Old Regime Paris Forces Us to Rethink the Transition to Capitalism,” American Historical Review, 10 (1999): 69-94.
Jones, S. R. H., & Ville, S. P. (1996). “Efficient Transactors or Rent-Seeking Monopolists? The Rationale for Early Chartered Trading Companies.” The Journal of Economic History, 56(04), 898–915.
Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy, (Princeton, 2001).
Review articles by Peter Coclanis, Jan de Vries, Phillip Hoffman, and Bin Wong, with Response by Kenneth Pomeranz in Historically Speaking, 12/4 (Sept., 2011): 10-25.
Kwass, Michael. 2003. “Ordering the World of Goods: Consumer Revolution and the Classification of Objects in Eighteenth-Century France.” Representations, 82 (Spring): 87-116.
Margot Finn, “Men's Things: Masculine Possession in the Consumer Revolution,” Social History, 25 (2000): 133-55.
Martz, Linda. Poverty and Welfare in Habsburg Spain: The Example of Toledo. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 7-44.
Mintz, Sidney W. Sweetness and Power. New York, Elisabeth Sifton Books (Viking Penguin), 1985, pp. 151-186.
Mokyr, Joel. The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain, 1700–1850. (Yale: 2010).
Muñoz de Juana, Rodrigo. “Scholastic Morality and the Birth of Economics: The Thought of Martín de Azpilcueta.” Journal of Markets & Morality 4, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 14–42.
Murray, James M., Bruges, Cradle of Capitalism, 1280-1390, (Cambridge: 2005), pp. 178-215.
Neal, Larry, “The Dutch and English East India Companies Compared: Evidence from the Stock and Foreign Exchange Markets,” in James Tracy, ed., The Rise of Merchant Empires, vol. 1, (Cambridge: 1993), pp. 195-223.
Neal, Larry, The Rise of Financial Capitalism: International Capital Markets in the Age of Reason, (Cambridge: 1990), pp. 44-118.
North, Douglass, and Barry Weingast. “Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England.” Journal of Economic History, 49: 4 (1989): 803–32.
North, D. C., ‘Institutions’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5, 1 (1991), pp. 97–112.
Pullan, Brian S. Rich and Poor in Renaissance Venice: The Social Institutions of a Catholic State, to 1620. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971.
Rubin, Jared, Rulers, Religion, and Riches: Why the West Got Rich and the Middle East Did Not? (Cambridge University Press: 2017), pp. 75-98.
Sargent, Thomas J. and Velde, François R. The Big Problem of Small Change (Princeton: 2013).
Schwartz, Stuart B. Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia, 1550–1835. (Cambridge: 1985), pp. 132-201, 313-378.
Slack, Paul. Poverty and Policy in Tudor and Stuart England. London; New York: Longman, 1988.
Strum, Daniel, “Institutional choice in the governance of the early Atlantic sugar trade: diasporas, markets, and courts.” Economic History Review, 0:0, https://doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12848
Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500-1700: a political economic history (Oxford: 2012), pp. 285-294.
Trivellato, Francesca. The Familiarity of Strangers: The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009, pp. 194-223.
Vries, Jan de. “The Population and Economy of the Netherlands”. In: The Journal of Interdisciplinary History. 15 (1985), pp. 661-682.
Vries, Jan de. The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Behavior and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Zanden, Jan Luiten Van, Buringh, Eltjo and Bosker, Maarten, “The rise and decline of European parliaments, 1188–1789.” Economic History Review, 65: 3 (2012): 835–861.
Zwart, Pim de and Zanden, Jan Luiten van. The Origins of Globalization: world trade and the making of the global economy, 1500-1800. (New York: Cabridge University Press, 2018).