Trade and Market in the Early Empires by Karl PolanyiThis is a kind of casebook of examples backing up Polanyis thesis set forth in The Great Transformation, which is that what we know as the economy is something that only came into existence in the late 18th century, along with the concept of scarcity. This book discusses several ancient civilizations, plus some early 20th century non-Western cultures. It then goes on to demolish several key concepts of contemporary economic theory including surplus, accumulation, and market.
Scarcity, entrepreneurship, the universal self-regulating market with fixed prices for goods, and the system of trade as we know it, and economics as the fundamental driving sector for all of society --- are all unique to the modern West. Pace Adam Smith, Marx & Engels, and most modern economists, they are emphatically not natural, universal, or even necessary for the existence of millions at high levels of comfort.
Ancient civilizations and medieval Europe had no economies -- no fixed prices for commodities, no production for markets. People have always exchanged goods, of course, but in the pre-modern world, exchange between individuals was most often done through social networks, always with a non-economic motivation.
Trade and its adjuncts -- money, banking, ports, shipping, etc. -- existed, but functioned in totally different ways, primarily as an instrument of empire.
Trade and Market in the Early Empires: Economies in History and Theory
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Published by Henry Regnery Company Seller Rating:. About this Item: Henry Regnery Company, Condition: very good. A Little faded, a little scuffed.
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