Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century, Volume 3: by Fernand Braudel

By Fernand Braudel

The concluding quantity of the trilogy charts the expansion of the realm economic climate from the 15th to the eighteenth century focusing on the human job that underlies the company of existence - the bustle of the industry, the nice manipulators of capital, the labour of the slave, the peasant and manufacturing facility employees, the models of the wealthy and the increase of the good monetary centres of Genoa, Venice, Amsterdam and London.

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38 (Let us salute en passant the need economists always feel to depart from the real world, the better to understand it. )39 This unique city and its unique plain then, react upon each other as if in a bell-jar. Since all activities are determined by distance (for there are no differences in the soil to encourage the growing of different crops) , a number of concentric rings around the city will take shape: the first circle will be made up of market gardens (close to the city and perhaps even inside it) as well as dairy production; in the second and third circles will be found cereals and livestock.

The mountain-dwellers, who made a living out of raiding the lowlands, but were also sometimes hunted down like wild beasts, were willing to barter hardwoods ('eagle-wood' and calamba) and gold dust in a sort of wordless exchange: the Chinese merchants would ' first leave their fabrics and articles of drapery up in the mountains' . 53 Except that it was transacted in silence, this barter is not unlike the exchanges on the Atlantic coast of the Sahara in the time of Henry the 42 The Perspective of the World Navigator, when cloth, cottons and blankets from Portugal were beginning to be bartered for the gold dust and black slaves brought to the coast by Berber nomads.

It is true that an economy's wings could be clipped by the demands and constraints of an imperial policy without means of redress. No merchant or capitalist could ever feel completely free under an empire. Michael Cantacu­ zenus, who was a sort of Fugger to the Ottoman Empire, was summarily hanged on I3 March I 578, at the gates of his own luxurious palace at Anchioli in Istanbul, on the orders of the sultan. 83 In China,84 Heshen, the ultra-rich favourite minister of the emperor K'ien Long, was executed and his fortune confiscated by the new emperor, after his master's death.

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