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

By Fernand Braudel

The topic of The Wheels of trade is the improvement of mechanisms of exchange--shops, markets, exchange networks, and banking--in the pre-industrial levels of capitalism.

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And the larger the population, the higher the degree of risk to supplies. Venice was already having to buy cattle for consumption from Hungary in the fifteenth century. 88 Istanbul, which had a population in the sixteenth century of perhaps 700,000, ate flocks of sheep from the Balkans, and grain from the Black Sea and Egypt. 89 The example of London In its way, London is an exemplary case. It demonstrates, mutatis mutandis, everything we might have to say about these precociously tentacular metropol­ ises.

E. truncated) estates' (Guy Fourquin) . 128 I shall have more to say later about the money market, both long- and short-term. It was at the heart of European growth and it is significant that it did not develop everywhere at the same pace and with the same effectiveness . What was universal, by contrast, was the emergence of people willing to advance funds, and of networks of money-lenders, whether Jews or Lombards, natives of Cahors or, as in Bavaria, convents which specialized in loans to peasants.

118 Speculation in these early times also has a modern ring to it: 'promoters' and their clients are not a twentieth-century phenomenon. In Paris, it is possible to trace sixteenth-century speculation on the space near the Seine, known as the Pre-aux-Clercs, which long stood empty, 119 or on another waste patch, Les Tournelles, where a consortium led by president Harlay, in I 5 94 began the profitable construction of the magnificent houses of the present Place des Vosges: they were afterwards leased to great noble families.

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