Journal of European Economic History - 2018 issue 3


Bancaria Editrice
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At the Origins of Modern Italian Capitalism. The Debate on the “Restorative Crisis” of the 17th-Century State of Milan
This article concerns a central issue in Italian history and historiography: the economic transformation of the State of Milan in the 17th century as a turning point that structurally influenced the development of the Italian economy in subsequent centuries. The hypothesis maintained here is that the State of Milan became one of the leading areas at the origins of Italian industrialization, as an apparently paradoxical consequence of the supposed economic decline that had affected Lombardy’s urban economy during the 17th century. The idea is that capitalism needed a “restorative crisis” in order to continue on its original path. The article does not propose a new theoretical framework or a radical historiographic innovation. It aims to provide a systematic bibliographicreview and an original analytical category that is useful both for new approaches to established ideas and for new research perspectives.The theoretical point is not only to confirm the generally accepted thesis that the State of Milan underwent a metamorphosis and not a decline in the 17th century but also to insert the elements of undeniable crisis into a framework of capitalistic development.
The Anatomy of a Banking Crisis. The Case of the Catholic Banks of the Veneto Region in the Late 1920s
This essay treats a little-known episode of Italian financial history: the crisis that hit Italy’s Catholic banks during the twenties. Given the significant number of banks involved (about fifty), the field of investigation is limited to those of the Veneto region. The study draws on documents in the Bank of Italy’s Historical Archives and the Intesa-Sanpaolo Historical Archive. Although it a plausible thesis that the Fascist regime had a strategy aimed at weakening the system of Catholic banks, the causes of the crisis must be sought elsewhere. The macroeconomic and institutional context certainly played an important role, but the archival sources bring out the responsibility of the men who managed the banks. Seeking to improve business performance and lured by the prospect of easy earnings, they underestimated the risks involved in industrial investments, not only as lenders but also as shareholders. Then they covered up their banks’ real financial situation with accounting tricks and cross-shareholdings between banks. The latter made things more complicated for the authorities, whose tardy interventions undoubtedly were to the detriment of the depositors’ rights.
Two Naval Disasters of 1387. Glimpses of Baltic Trade at the End of the Fourteenth Century
In 1387 two Prussian vessels were involved in shipwrecks on the coast of Jutland. One, loaded mainly with cloth from Artois, Brabant and Flanders, was probably returning from the Low Countries; the other, carrying wax, furs, copper and iron, must have been heading from one of the Prussian ports to western Europe. The paper discusses the goods carried by the two vessels and seeks to identify the owners of the cargoes, who came mainly from Torun´. The investigation shows that the two shipwrecks can be seen as a representative sample of Prussian trade in the late Middle Ages.
Agrarian Interests, Economic Institutions and the Role of the State. Fascist Land Reclamation Projects and the Intellectual Trajectories of Arrigo Serpieri and Giuseppe Tassinari
This article deals with the multi-layered historical evolution of the theoretical interpretation of the relations between State, society and market in Fascist Italy, combining the history of economic thought with that of juridical ideas and utilizing instruments of economic and institutional history as well. To understand such a vast and complex issue, we decided to look at it from a specific vantage point, namely the theoretical and legislative tensions that arose during the 1920s and the 1930s between Arrigo Serpieri and Giuseppe Tassinari, the economist-technicians who directed land reclamation plans under Fascism. In our opinion, this kind of inquiry has the potential to uncover some of the major problems of the time, finding answers to big questions in relatively small places.
Late Antiquity, Early Islam, and the Emergence of a “Precocious Capitalism”. A Review Essay
Economic history has enjoyed a revival in the study of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. In the last two decades, ground-breaking interpretations have emerged from the writings of Michael McCormick, Brian Ward-Perkins, Chris Wickham, Peter Sarris, Kyle Harper, and, recently, John Haldon.1 In this context, Jairus Banaji’s Exploring the Economy of Late Antiquity offers the prospect of further intellectual renewal.2 In both range and depth, this book, covering in detail the economic life of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Indian Ocean, has few parallels in contemporary literature. Banaji’s aim in these essays is to argue for the sophistication of ancient economic organization, against a minimalism that downgrades it irremediably.
Manfredi Alberti
Senza lavoro. La disoccupazione in Italia dall’Unità a oggi 155
Gabriele Cappelli

Pier Francesco Asso (ed.)
Storia del Banco di Sicilia
Francesco Dandolo

Andrea Caracausi, Matthew Davies, Luca Mocarelli (eds.)
Between Regulation and Freedom. Work and Manufacture in European Cities, 14th-18th Centuries
Roberto Rossi

Barbara Faedda
From Da Ponte to the Casa Italiana
Donatella Strangio

Massimo Fornasari
La banca, la borsa, lo Stato. Una storia della finanza (secoli XIII-XXI)
Marcella Lorenzini

Monika Poettinger, Piero Roggi (eds.)
Florence. Capital of the Kingdom of Italy, 1865-1871
Anna Pellegrino

Juan Ignacio Pulido Serrano (ed.)
Más que negocios. Simón Ruiz, un banquero español del siglo XVI entre las penínsulas ibérica e italiana
Juan M. Carretero Zamora

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