2.3 — Intellectual History of Trade I: Feudalism — Readings
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
- Benson, 1989, “The Spontaneous Evolution of Commercial Law”
- Greif, 2004, “Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders”
The following video is also required viewing for any serious discussion of feudalism:
Optional Readings (Primary Sources Mentioned):
- Milgrom, North, and Weingast, 1990, “The Role of Institutions in the Revival of Trade: The Law Merchant, Private Judges, and the Champagne Fairs”
- Greif, Milgrom, and Weingast, 1994, “Coordination, Commitment, and Encorcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild”
- Greif, 2000, “The Fundamental Problem of Exchange: A Research Agenda in Historical Institutional Analysis”
Questions To Help Your Reading
- What are the credible commitment problems present in each situation described in the papers?
- What specific institutions are created to address these problems? How do they fix them?
- How do these institutions appear, change, and/or disappear over time? (There are economic reasons!)
- Are cartels always economically harmful?
- How are these same problems present today?
- Were monopolies, guilds, and other mercantilist restrictions all as bad as we economists often say they are?
Starting this week, we will occasionally have a weekly discussion board open on Blackboard.Not every week. I will let you know when we have one open at the beginning of each week.
You will be expected to contribute to the discussion board at least twice by Sunday night. Your weekly contribution will be graded out of 5 points. At the end of the semester, I will apply the average of your weekly participation grades to apply (20%) towards your final course grade.
I am interested in your thoughts, reactions, comments, and questions about any of the material (lectures and/or readings). You do not need to write more than a paragraph. Anything more than that, including continuing to reply to each others’ thoughts, questions, or comments, (which I strongly hope you do!) is solely based on your own interest and curiosity. I will jump in to answer questions the group is stuck on, give my two cents, and stir the pot as needed. I strontly hope we still keep a conversation going and can learn from each other, that was always my goal, not to lecture at you!
|Category||3 Points||2 Points||1 Point||0 points|
|Quantity||More than 2 replies/started threads||2 replies/started threads||1 reply||0 posts|
|Quality||Extremely thought provoking, demonstrates clear grappling with readings, adds to conversation||Provides a well-reasoned reply, suggests familiarity with readings, keeps conversation going||A simple reply, may make no reference to readings or ideas, makes further conversation difficult||Minimal effort|
Recall, these are out of 5 points. Notice it is possible to get above 5 points for a truly remarkable week of contributions, but I give these sparingly.
At the end of the semester, I will drop your lowest participation score.