Market Ethics and Practices, c.1300–1850: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Market Ethics and Practices, c.1300–1850

1st Edition

Edited by Simon Middleton, James E. Shaw


232 pages

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Paperback: 9781138281578
pub: 2017-12-04
Hardback: 9781138281561
pub: 2017-12-04
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pub: 2017-11-28
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Market Ethics and Practices, c. 1300–1850 analyses the nature, development, and operation of market ethics in the context of social practices, ranging from rituals of exchange and unofficial expectations to law, institutions, and formal regulations from the late medieval through to the modern era.

Divided into two parts, the first explores the principles and regulations of market ethics, such as the relations between professed norms and economic behaviour across a range of geographies and chronologies. The chapters consider key subjects such as medieval attitudes towards merchant activities across Europe, North Africa, and Asia; market regulations and the notion of the "common good"; Adam Smith’s conception of moral capitalism; and the combining of religious and capitalist ethics in Nat Turner’s "Confession." The second part provides microstudies that offer insights into topics such as household and market relations in colonial New England; the harsher side of the consumer economy experienced by a family of parasol sellers from Lyon; informal Jewish networks in the early modern Caribbean and slave trade; merchant networks and commercial litigation in eighteenth-century France; and early encounters and the informal norms of fur trading between Europeans and Native Americans.

This book provides an understanding of the key pre-modern economic historiography, whilst pointing students towards new debates and the historical significance for our collective economic future. It is ideal for students and postgraduates of late medieval and early modern economic history.

Table of Contents

Part I: Principles and regulations

James Davis, "The ethics of arbitrage and forestalling across the late medieval world"

Martha Howell, "Whose ‘common good’? Parisian market regulation, c. 1300–1800"

Craig Muldrew, "Self-control and savings: Adam Smith and the creation of modern capital"

Christopher Tomlins, "Demonic ambiguities: Enchantment and disenchantment in Nat Turner’s Virginia"

Part II: Practices and microhistories

Daniel Vickers, "Neighbours and hedges: Shopkeeping in early New England"

Julie Hardwick, "Parasols and poverty: Conjugal marriage, global economy, and rethinking the consumer revolution"

Nuala Zahedieh, "Trust in illicit markets: The role of Jewish merchants in Jamaica’s Spanish American trade"

Pierre Gervais, "In union there was strength: The legal protection of eighteenth-century merchant partnerships in England and France"

Robert S. DuPlessis, "Commercial practices at the margins of the merchant economy"

David Harris Sacks, "‘To winne them by fayre meanes’: The ethics of exchange in the making of the early English Atlantic"



About the Editors

Simon Middleton (College of William and Mary) is author of From Privileges to Rights: Work and Politics in Colonial New York (2006) and co-editer of Class Matters (2008). He is working on a book investigating the introduction of paper money to colonial America.

James E. Shaw (University of Sheffield) is a historian who focuses on the relationship of legal structures (laws, practices, institutions) to the daily practices of economic life. His books include The Justice of Venice (2006) and Making and Marketing Medicines in Renaissance Florence (2011).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Latin America / Central America
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / United States / Colonial Period (1600-1775)
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 18th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 16th Century