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European aristocracies and colonial elites…

European aristocracies and colonial elites

by Paul Janssens

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A collection of papers which look at how aristocrats managed their estates and fostered or hindered development of a modern economy. The quality is very uneven, by far the best was Richard Hellie's about Russia which gave a succinct history of Russian aristocracy since the days of Ivan IV. Once again, the idea of applying modern concepts of economics to historical societies strikes me as ludicrous, but these papers for the most part put the focus on history. The final summary essay by Patrick Karl O'Brien deftly puts the straightforward chronological narrative of the previous papers into economists' gobbledegook. ( )
  MissWatson | Jan 27, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0754654591, Hardcover)

'Aristocracies', 'Old Regime colonial elites' - from Adam Smith to Karl Marx and beyond, scholars have discussed their role in the rise of the modern world, in economic development and capitalism. Generally speaking and with the exception of the English landlords, the verdict has been always negative. Furthermore, historians have usually viewed the Ancien régime aristocracies and colonial elites as social groups with entirely irrational or completely apathetic attitudes towards the management of their estates. This book constitutes the first attempt to analyse the question in a more critical and historical way. It takes a directly comparative approach, covering countries from Peru to Russia and from Naples to England in the early modern period and up to the end of the 18th century. The rationale of how these elites administered their patrimonies, its political, social and sometime moral dimensions, and the real effects of all this on economic development are considered here as key aspects for a better understanding of economic life. The result is a quite different picture in which economic history is also seen as the outcome of human actions in their own social and political context.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:01:08 -0500)

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