An Early History of Economic Institutions of Europe An Early History of Economic Institutions of Europe
By Frederick L. Nussbaum
2002/01 - Beard Books
1587981122 - Paperback - Reprint -  464 pp.

Absorbing reading for those interested in developments which eventually led to the rise of the European Economic Community (EEC).

Publisher Comments

Categories: Banking & Finance | History

Of Interest:

Jacob Fugger the Rich: Merchant and Banker of Augsburg, 1459-1525

The Folklore of Capitalism

The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank: 1397-1494

This book presents a detailed history of the development and influence of European culture and its attendant economic institutions. Beginning with the precapitalist period, it traces European economic society through the foundations of capitalism to its dominance in the first part of the twentieth century. One important tenet is that fundamental economic institutional changes operate across, and frequently in disregard of, political boundaries. Today's transition to the Euro is a case in point, sixty-nine years after Nussbaum expounded his theory.

From the back cover blurb:

This book presents a detailed history of the development and influence of European culture and its economic society. The story is traced from the pre-capitalist period through the foundations of capitalism and its early states, to the point in which it become dominant in the first part of the twentieth century. The book confirms a recognition that the political units of Europe are not mutually independent and self-determining in the economic sense, as they claim to be in the political sense. Fundamental institutional changes operate across and frequently in disregard of political boundaries. These changes are the result of evolution and have gone through stages of growth and decay. This book makes for absorbing reading for those interested in the developments which eventually led to the rise of the formal Economic Community.


From Book News: 

First published in 1933, this volume was penned by the late economist Nussbaum for the purpose of bringing the main ideas of the economic history of Europe propounded by Werner Sombart in his three-volume Der Moderne Kapitalismus (Munich and Leipzig, 1916-1927) to an American audience. Sombart's work itself owed a great debt to the thinking of Karl Marx. A central tenet of the analysisis that fundamental institutional changes operate across political boundaries and a consequent emphasis is placed on the modes and institutions of economic action. He begins his narrative with an examination of precapitalistic feudal and exchange economies, following by the rise of modern capital and its eventual dominance over European economic life. Annotation c. Book News, Inc.,Portland, OR


Frederick L. Nussbaum, 1885-1958, was an internationally acclaimed historian. He received a B.A. degree at Cornell in 1906 and a Ph.D. degree form University of Pennsylvania in 1915. After teaching at Northwestern, Temple, and the University of Southern California, he joined the faculty at the University of Wyoming in 1925 and taught there until his retirement in 1956. He was the author of numerous books, articles and reviews.


Introduction: The Problem of European Economic History
The Problem of History 3
The Problem of Economic History 4
The Problem of the Economic History of Europe 6
The Place of European Economic Culture in World History 8
Part I. Precapitalistic Economy
I. The Sustenance Economy
The Character of Economic Life in Western Europe in the Early Middle Ages 17
The Village Economy 20
The Feudal Economy 23
II. The Transition to Exchange Economy
Definitions and Background 31
The Rise of the Towns 34
The Handicraft Economy 41
The Organization of Export Industry and Commerce in the Handicraft System 53
Part II. The Foundations of Modern Capitalism
I. The State as Economic Organization
The Indirect Promotion of Capitalism 61
Mercantilist Policy 64
Money 69
Colonialism 73
Religion 76
II. The Technical Equipment of Capitalism
The Tools of Industry 80
The Instrumentalities of Exchange: Gold and Silver 89
III. The Adaptation of Population Groups to Capitalism
The Organization of Labor 108
The Development of Bourgeois Wealth 114
The Development of Bourgeois Demand 126
The Emergence of the Entrepreneur 133
Part III. Early Capitalism
I. The Transformation of Economic Motive and of Economic Forms
The Epoch of Early Capitalism 147
Economic Motive 150
Business Forms 156
II. The Transformation of the Market: (I) Its External Aspect
The Change in the Form of the Market 165
Cycles and Crises 166
The Means of Intercourse and Trade 168
News and Information Service  178
III.  The Transformation of the Market: (II) Buying and Selling 
The Development of Settled Retailing and Wholesaling 185
The Development of Contract Buying 191
Instruments of Payment 193
The Differentiation of Merchants and of Business Services 196
The Development of the Bourse 200
IV. The Transformation of Production: From the Handicraft System to the Factory
The Persistence of the Old System 204
The Putting-Out System 208
The Concentration of Production in the Factory 211
The Organization of Labor 220
The Social Demands to which the Transformation of Production Responded 224
V. Europe as an Economic Society at the End of the Eighteenth Century
Mercantilism as Thought and Feeling 233
Mercantilism in Practice 238
Capitalism and Society 244
The Limiting Conditions of Early Capitalism 248
Part IV. Capitalism Dominant
I. The Release of Economic Energy 259
II. The New Mercantilism and the New Imperialism
Economic Legislation 270
International Trade Relations 274
The New Colonialism 276
III. Modern Technique and Its Application to Industry and Commerce
Nineteenth Century Invention 283
The Economic Significance of Modern Technique 289
IV. The Organization of Capital in Relation to Enterprise
Money and Credit 294
Goods as Capital 302
V. Population and Labor Supply
The Sources of Labor Supply 312
The Movement of Population 318
The Urban Movement 322
The Technical Adaptation of Population 326
VI. The Rationalization of the Market
The Problem of Outlet 333
Market Technique and Market Control 337
Conjuncture, Cycles and Crises 347
VII. The Rationalization of Business Organization
The Incorporated Stock Company 357
The Displacement of Small Units of Economic Enterprise by Larger Units 362
Business Combinations 366
The Depersonalization of Business 372
VIII. The Rationalization of Economic Life as a Whole
The Physiocrats 385
Adam Smith and the Classical School 387
The Divergent Schools of Economic Thought 393
The Institutionalists and the Historical School 397
The Socialists 400
IX. The Variant Forms of Economic Life
The Persistence of Uncapitalistic Forms of Economic Life 411
Cooperation 416
Public Ownership 421
Conclusion 425
Index 429

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