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The Rise of Market Society in England, 1066-1800

The Rise of Market Society in England, 1066-1800

Christiane Eisenberg
Translated by Deborah Cohen
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    The Rise of Market Society in England, 1066-1800
    Book Description:

    Focusing on England, this study reconstructs the centuries-long process of commercialization that gave birth to the modern market society. It shows how certain types of markets (e.g. those for real estate, labor, capital, and culture) came into being, and how the social relations mediated by markets were formed. The book deals with the creation of institutions like the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange, and Lloyd's of London, as well as the way the English dealt with the uncertainty and the risks involved in market transactions. Christiane Eisenberg shows that the creation of a market society and modern capitalism in England occurred under circumstances that were utterly different from those on the European continent. In addition, she demonstrates that as a process, the commercialization of business, society, and culture in England did not lead directly to an industrial society, as has previously been suggested, but rather to a service economy.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-259-1
    Subjects: History, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vi-vii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. viii-viii)
    Christiane Eisenberg
  5. Preface to the German Edition
    (pp. ix-x)
    Christiane Eisenberg
  6. Introduction. England and the Process of Commercialization
    (pp. 1-20)

    As the core country of the British Isles, England is regarded as a pioneer of modern industrial capitalism and as a model of an open society with a viable public sphere. Therefore, an examination of English history can be expected to yield fundamental insights into the preconditions for Western ways of living and doing business. It furthermore seems legitimate to reformulate a central question of historical social science, originally posed by Max Weber: ‘to what combination of circumstances should the fact be attributed that precisely on English soil cultural phenomena appeared which (as we like to think) lie in a...

  7. Chapter 1 Medieval Foundations of Market Exchange
    (pp. 21-40)

    As late as the 1970s and 1980s, the dominant opinion in economic history was still that England’s early modern upturn had been preceded by a stagnating medieval economy. Significant social changes had not taken place, productivity had been low, and most of the rural population had laboured for their own subsistence.¹ These assumptions have proven to be unfounded; rather, during the High Middle Ages, the English economy experienced a considerable upswing. In the area of agriculture, efforts were made for the first time to coordinate farming and livestock breeding, regional specialization developed, and the population grew. In a parallel development,...

  8. Chapter 2 Growth and Consolidation of Market Exchange in the Early Modern Period
    (pp. 41-71)

    Although a broad consensus exists among British historians that the Early Modern period began roughly around 1500 and ended roughly around 1800, their use of the adjectives ‘medieval’ and ‘modern’ has tended to be rather unspecific. In this, they differ from their colleagues on the European continent. The explanation for this convention lies in the fact that in British history, one can point to no profound historical caesura dividing the Middle Ages from the Early Modern period. Furthermore, despite unmistakable signs of developmental progress, a high level of continuity existed in the economy as well as in society. Both factors...

  9. Chapter 3 The Embeddedness of Market Exchange
    (pp. 72-105)

    By around 1800, market relations in England had become so universal that hardly anyone, apart from infants or the institutionally incarcerated, could entirely elude the opportunities and importunities associated with them. Every one – man or woman, city-dweller or villager, wage earner or self-employed person – had at some point in the context of their professional or personal lives to engage with the interplay of supply and demand, be it through the purchasing of goods or services, the selling of their labour, or investing, speculating or either borrowing or lending money. The market mechanism had infiltrated everywhere, for every household was a...

  10. Conclusion. Commercialization as an Historical Process
    (pp. 106-132)

    Thus far in this study, individual sites of the commercialization process have been described: agriculture, industrial production, the financial sector and cultural life. On the heels of these portrayals, the question arises of the nature of the ligatures and connections that integrated these sites into a viable market society. Furthermore, it remains to be determined whether and in what way English market society can be characterized as capitalist. Finally, the direction of its development shall be analysed: did English market society transition seamlessly into modern industrialization, characterized by the centralization of workers in factories and the massive deployment of machines?...

  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 133-161)
  12. Index
    (pp. 162-165)