Pioneers of Capitalism

Pioneers of Capitalism

The Netherlands 1000–1800

Maarten Prak, Jan Luiten van Zanden

$39.95

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Description

How medieval Dutch society laid the foundations for modern capitalism

The Netherlands was one of the pioneers of capitalism in the Middle Ages, giving rise to the spectacular Dutch Golden Age while ushering in an era of unprecedented, long-term economic growth across Europe. Pioneers of Capitalism examines the informal institutions in the Netherlands that made this economic miracle possible, providing a groundbreaking new history of the emergence and early development of capitalism.

Drawing on the latest quantitative theories in economic research, Maarten Prak and Jan Luiten van Zanden show how Dutch cities, corporations, guilds, commons, and other private and semipublic organizations provided safeguards for market transactions in the state’s absence. Informal institutions developed in the Netherlands long before the state created public safeguards for economic activity. Prak and van Zanden argue that, in the Netherlands itself, capitalism emerged within a robust civil society that constrained and counterbalanced its centrifugal forces, but that an unrestrained capitalism ruled in the overseas territories. Rather than collapsing under unrestricted greed, the Dutch economy flourished, but prosperity at home came at the price of slavery and other dire consequences for people outside Europe.

Pioneers of Capitalism offers a panoramic account of the early history of capitalism, revealing how a small region of medieval Europe transformed itself into a powerhouse of sustained economic growth, and changed the world in the process.


Author

Maarten Prak:
Maarten Prak is professor of social and economic history at Utrecht University. His books include Citizens without Nations: Urban Citizenship in Europe and the World, c. 10001789. Jan Luiten van Zanden is professor of global economic history at Utrecht University. His books include The Strictures of Inheritance: The Dutch Economy in the Nineteenth Century (Princeton).|||Maarten Prak is professor of social and economic history at Utrecht University. His books include Citizens without Nations: Urban Citizenship in Europe and the World, c. 10001789. Jan Luiten van Zanden is professor of global economic history at Utrecht University. His books include The Strictures of Inheritance: The Dutch Economy in the Nineteenth Century (Princeton).

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