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Series:

Elisabeth Heijmans

In The Agency of Empire: Connections and Strategies in French Expansion (1686-1746) Elisabeth Heijmans places directors and their connections at the centre of the developments and operations of French overseas companies. The focus on directors’ decisions and networks challenges the conception of French overseas companies as highly centralized and controlled by the state.

Through the cases of companies operating in Pondicherry (Coromandel Coast) and Ouidah (Bight of Benin), Elisabeth Heijmans demonstrates the participation of actors not only in Paris but also in provinces, ports and trading posts in the French expansion. The analysis brings to the fore connections across imperial, cultural and religious boundaries in order to diverge from traditional national narratives of the French early modern empire.

Riches and Reform

Ecclesiastical Wealth in St Andrews, c.1520-1580

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Elizabeth Rhodes

The Scottish Reformation is often presumed to have had little economic impact. Traditionally, scholars maintained that Scotland’s late medieval church gradually secularised its estates, and that the religious changes of 1560 barely disrupted an ongoing trend. In Riches and Reform Bess Rhodes challenges this assumption with a study of church finance in Scotland’s religious capital of St Andrews – a place once regarded as the ‘cheif and mother citie of the Realme’. Drawing on largely unpublished charters, rentals, and account books, Riches and Reform argues that in St Andrews the Reformation triggered a rapid, large-scale, and ultimately ruinous redistribution of ecclesiastical wealth. Communal assets built up over generations were suddenly dispersed through a combination of official policies, individual opportunism, and a crisis in local administration – leading the post-Reformation churches and city of St Andrews into ‘poverte and decay’.

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Edited by Karin Priem and Frederik Herman

Fabricating Modern Societies: Education, Bodies, and Minds in the Age of Steel, edited by Karin Priem and Frederik Herman, offers new interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives on the history of industrialization and societal transformation in early twentieth-century Luxembourg. The individual chapters focus on how industrialists addressed a large array of challenges related to industrialization, borrowing and mixing ideas originating in domains such as corporate identity formation, mediatization, scientification, technological innovation, mechanization, capitalism, mass production, medicalization, educationalization, artistic production, and social utopia, while competing with other interest groups who pursued their own goals. The book looks at different focus areas of modernity, and analyzes how humans created, mediated, and interacted with the technospheres of modern societies. Contributors: Klaus Dittrich, Irma Hadzalic, Frederik Herman, Enric Novella, Ira Plein, Françoise Poos, Karin Priem, and Angelo Van Gorp.

Translating Marx

José Aricó and the New Latin American Marxism

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Martín Cortés

To speak of ‘Latin American Marxism’ is to announce a problem. To what extent can Marxism, a theoretical universe forged from nineteenth-century European experiences, also be productive for grasping other realities? How can we begin to make sense of the historical disconnection between that specific corpus of ideas and Latin America’s popular movements? Martín Cortés addresses these questions by considering the trajectory and works of José Aricó, who sought to rethink and disseminate in Spanish not only the works of Marx himself, but also those of foundational socialist thinkers such as Antonio Gramsci.
Guided by an interest in Marxism’s renovation, Cortés explores Aricó’s vital contributions to key topics in political theory, such as the nation, the state, the political subject, and hegemony.

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John Asimakopoulos

In The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste, John Asimakopoulos analyzes the political economy of the society of the spectacle, a philosophical concept developed by Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard. Using the analytical tools of social science, while historicizing, Asimakopoulos reveals that all societies in every epoch have been and continue to be caste systems legitimized by various ideologies. He concludes there is no such thing as capitalism (or socialism)—only a caste system hidden behind capitalist ideology. Key features of the book include its broad interdisciplinary-nonsectarian approach with quantitative and qualitative data. The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste is well written and clear, making it accessible to the informed reader.

The Falling Rate of Profit and the Great Recession of 2007-2009

A New Approach to Applying Marx’s Value Theory and Its Implications for Socialist Strategy

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Peter Jones

In The Falling Rate of Profit and the Great Recession of 2007-2009, Peter Jones develops a new non-equilibrium interpretation of the labour theory of value Karl Marx builds in Capital. Applying this to US national accounting data, Jones shows that when measured correctly the profit rate falls in the lead up to the Great Recession, and for the main reason Marx identifies: the rising organic composition of capital.
Jones also details a new theory of finance, which shows how cycles in the profit rate relate to stock market booms and slumps, and movements in the interest rate. He discusses the implications of the analysis and Marx and Engels’ work generally for a democratic socialist strategy.

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Edited by Anthony Axon and Susan Hewitt

The second volume in a new series, the Contemporary Archive of the Islamic World (CAIW), this title draws on the resources of World of Information, a Cambridge-based British publisher that since 1975 has published analyses of the politics and economics of all the Middle East countries.

The United Arab Emirates is a young country. This title covers the first four decades or so of the country’s existence looking at the individual emirates, their rulers and their tribes. Rivalries occasionally became conflicts, but year by year differences have diminished and unity prevailed. In this title each annual overview gives a comprehensive picture.

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Keiko Kiyotaki

In Ottoman Land Reform in the Province of Baghdad, Keiko Kiyotaki traces the Ottoman reforms of tax farming and land tenure and establishes that their effects were the key ingredients of agricultural progress. These modernizing reforms are shown to be effective because they were compatible with local customs and tribal traditions, which the Ottoman governors worked to preserve.
Ottoman rule in Iraq has previously been considered oppressive and blamed with failure to develop the country. Since the British mandate government’s land and tax policies were little examined, the Ottoman legacy has been left unidentified. This book proves that Ottoman land reforms led to increases in agricultural production and tax revenue, while the hasty reforms enacted by the mandate government ignoring indigenous customs caused new agricultural and land problems.

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Rolf Bauer

The Peasant Production of Opium in Nineteenth-Century India is a pioneering work about the more than one million peasants who produced opium for the colonial state in nineteenth-century India. Based on a profound empirical analysis, Rolf Bauer not only shows that the peasants cultivated poppy against a substantial loss but he also reveals how they were coerced into the production of this drug. By dissecting the economic and social power relations on a local level, this study explains how a triangle of debt, the colonial state’s power and social dependencies in the village formed the coercive mechanisms that transformed the peasants into opium producers. The result is a book that adds to our understanding of peasant economies in a colonial context.

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Michael Schraer

In A Stake in the Ground, Michael Schraer explores the economic functions of real estate amongst the Jews of the medieval crown of Aragon. He challenges the view of medieval Jews as primarily money-lenders and merchants, finding compelling evidence for extensive property trading and investment. Jews are found as landlords to Christian tenants, transferring land in dowries, wills and gifts. Property holdings were often extremely valuable. For some, property was a major part of their asset portfolios. Whilst many property transactions were linked to the credit boom, land also acted as a liquid and tradeable investment asset in its own right. This is a key contribution to the economic history of medieval Iberia and of medieval Jews.