Some Origins of the Modern Economic World

Some Origins of the Modern Economic World

Some Origins of the Modern Economic World

Some Origins of the Modern Economic World

Excerpt

This little book is designed to give beginning students of economics and other social studies a simple account of the origins of some of the more important elements of the modern economic world. It does not in any way pretend to be a survey of economic history; it merely examines several crucially important historical episodes and relates a limited number of innovations which appeared in each to their modern counterparts. In the compass of this book, only the history of a few elements of our modern economic system can be treated in detail but it is hoped that by isolating historically and by describing adequately some of the more important components something worthwhile will have been accomplished.

The method employed is avowedly arbitrary. The analysis begins with an examination of certain late-medieval economic institutions as manifested in England. From this point of departure, a jump is made with seven-league boots to England in 1700. This does not imply the invention of any more specious "economic stages" nor does it require a set of revolutionary changes to account for the transition from one period to the other. New elements in the economic sphere that had crystallized by 1700 are merely signalized, described, and related to their respective origins. The method employed is simply to advance arbitrarily to a selected date and then retrace the path as far as necessary in order to provide adequate historical description of each new element. Following this method, another advance is made to the year 1800 with similar retracings, and finally another projection carries the analysis to 1850.

Interwoven with the description of those particular economic elements which were destined to become increasingly important in the modern world will be found a little inter-

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