An Economic History of Europe since 1750

An Economic History of Europe since 1750

An Economic History of Europe since 1750

An Economic History of Europe since 1750

Excerpt

In this Economic History of Europe since 1750 we have endeavored to present the broad results embodied in the extensive special literature. We have included in this survey the literature on economic geography, the technology of industry and agriculture, the location of economic activity, the history of population, and recent studies of monopolistic competition. It has not been our intention to burden the reader with any restatement of the critical problems involved. For our purposes it is generally sufficient to use only the conclusions. In many instances, the results of these attempts at a broad synthesis appear only in revisions of older judgments of events and policies, or in new arrangements of material.

Problems of interpretation have been emphasized, because we feel that the shorter general treatises must play an active part in the progressive development of the subject. The field is so extensive that no single scholar could prepare a "full length" economic history of Europe. Even if such a book could be written, it is by no means clear that it would in any adequate way supplant the special literature. This special literature must be regarded as the basic element in the development of our historical knowledge. If this large mass of material is to be effectively utilized, there is great need of an up-to-date general treatise for purposes of instruction and synthesis -- such as is embodied in this volume.

Economic history is treated as an integral part of general history. This is done not so much by the inclusion of the data of general history as by the plan of organization and by emphasis on the interaction of economic, political, and cultural factors. We have tried to avoid oversimplification but at the same time to emphasize boldly and clearly the significant economic institutions and forces as they have taken shape and direction since the eighteenth century.

It is our purpose to sketch in narrative form the development of Europe as a whole, by description of the nature of the economic contacts among the various countries, and by discussion of the consequences of the intensive development of particular regions. Comprehensive description of the internal development of particular countries is not possible on this scale. The more important episodes in the history of the leading countries have been treated with care, and the continuity of development is emphasized by graphs and by sketches of the history of primary industries.

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