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Mercantile Credit and Trading Rings in the Eighteenth Century

Abstract : Merchant credit in the eighteenth-century was the main source of profit for economic agents. Managing cash, commercial instruments and book accounts, Atlantic traders such as Gradis of Bordeaux, who dealt in colonial products (indigo, sugar, coffee) and exported staples (flour and wine) to Quebec, or Hollingsworth of Philadelphia (a large flour and colonial produce dealer), achieved market domination through specialized credit networks integrating market exchange and moral and social interactions. A Weberian or Homo Oeconomicus view of these complex credit activities lead to anachronisms ; the author calls for giving up standard economic approaches in favor of more historicized views of Early Modern economic activity, credit networks and profit-making techniques.
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Pierre Gervais. Mercantile Credit and Trading Rings in the Eighteenth Century. Annales. Histoire, Sciences sociales, Armand Colin, 2012, 67 (4), pp.731-763. ⟨halshs-01150328⟩

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