Historia magistra vitae – ad acta or ad nauseam? Early Modern Research and Economic History in the Age of Neoliberalism und Trump (1973 – 2018) Recent decades have seen the rise of neoliberal interpretations in the economic history of capitalism, development and economic growth. Free trade and free markets are said to have been the epitome of good economic development, whilst protectionism and mercantilism are seen as the antinomy of economic modernity. The economic history of early modern Europe, including processes of global economic divergence have often been written accordingly. The present paper, whilst not laying any judgemental claims to the right or wrongs of neoliberalism, wishes to trace the influence of neoliberal philosophy on writing early modern economic histories and the history of capitalism. It studies some of its most obvious implications, including Eurocentrism, economic determinism and the new historical materialism inherent in cliometrics and the New Economic History as it emerged in the 1960 s and 1970 s in the West.
Commodity money is a medium of exchange that may be transformed into a commodity, useful in production or consumption. Although commodity money is a thing of the past, it was the predominant medium of exchange for more than two millennia. Operating under a commodity money standard limits the scope for monetary policy, actions that alter the value of money. However, it does not eliminate monetary policy entirely. The value of money can be altered by changing the commodity content or legal tender quality of monetary objects, or by restricting the conversion of commodities into money or vice versa.
A command economy is one in which the coordination of economic activity, essential to the viability and functioning of a complex social economy, is undertaken through administrative means — commands, directives, targets and regulations — rather than by a market mechanism. A complex social economy is one involving multiple significant interdependencies among economic agents, including significant division of labour and exchange among production units, rendering the viability of any unit dependent on proper coordination with, and functioning of, many others.
A commodity is an object that is intrinsically useful as an input to production or consumption. A medium of exchange is an object that is generally accepted as final payment during or after an exchange transaction, even though the agent accepting it (the seller) does not necessarily consume the object or any service flow from it. Money is the collection of objects that are used as media of exchange. Commodity money is a medium of exchange that may become (or be transformed into) a commodity, useful in production or consumption. This is in contrast to fiat money, which is intrinsically useless.
The significance of the imperial coinage in the 14th century is its approach to the inclusion of both Italian and French gold coinage. More specifically, the intention was to facilitate the clearing of Italian florin coinage, which was also minted in Bohemia and the German lands, and the French écu d’or. On a political level, this monetary policy reflects the intermediate positions of the German emperors between Bohemia and France, and they are significant for the life story of the German emperors of the period, who were raised at the Bohemian and the French court respectively.
The history of science in Scandinavia has usually been written on the basis of the published sources of institutions such as the Academies of Science, or of the monographs by Professors of the Universities. If this were all the scientific activity, it would have been a veneer, an activity limited to an urban elite, very remote from the experience of the vast majority of the population. Such a description of science might possibly be appropriate for the St. Petersburg Academy with its imported Professors, which remained separate from the lives of most Russians and failed to have the modernising impact upon Russian society which its benefactor, Peter the Great, had hoped.
During the Ottoman military operations in 1543, a large quantity of Turkish ducats arrived in Hungary. The valuable gold coins found their ways into Lower Austria too. King Ferdinand I of Habsburg established their exchange rate 7% lower than that of the Hungarian ducats. On the other hand, the Ottoman authorities in Buda set the exchange rate of the Hungarian ducat at a level that was approximately 6% lower than the exchange rate of the Turkish ducat. The fact that the exchange rates in the markets differed from those fixed in the respective orders of the states indicated that the two opposing great powers were not only battling in the field, but were also engaged in an economic struggle. The author, apart from the contemporary Venetian exchange rates, used several other pieces of evidence concerning money circulation in remote areas of Europe.
This article considers a previously unnoticed mathematical treatise on the counting board, presumably written about 1310 in Bordeaux by an otherwise unknown master Johannes de Elsa. The treatise is contained in manuscript lat. qu. 526, in the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin. The author of the treatise explains the application of a counting board made from lead for three purposes: for sexagesimal fractions, for the Indian-Arabic calculations with whole numbers and for displaying the coins of shopkeepers and businessmen. His counting board is unusual for the period around 1300; it is similar to line and coin boards preserved from the end of the 15th century and later. This article contains an interpretation and an edition of the Latin text.
Die historischen Methoden beginnen seit einiger Zeit wieder größere Bedeutung für die empirische Sozialforschung zu gewinnen. Dies ist die Konsequenz der allmählichen Beseitigung liebgewonnener Vorurteile der Historiker und empirischen Sozialforscher übereinander. Die Gegensätze der beiden Disziplinen beruhen weniger darauf, daß sie prinzipiell den Stellenwert von Methoden und Techniken unterschiedlich bewerten — dagegen spricht z. B. sehr deutlich die Äußerung eines Methodenfachmanns vom Range eines Bernheim »Geist ohne Methode schädigt die Wissenschaft nicht minder als Methode ohne Geist« (Bernheim 1908, S. 183) —, als daß beide Wissenschaften, traditionellerweise, unterschiedliche Erkenntnisziele verfolgen.
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