Category Archives: Economic, Business and Financial History

Iberoamérica en la 75a. Reunión Anual de la Economic History Association

Un reportaje sobre la presencia iberoamericana en la 75a. Reunión Anual de la Economic History Association para el Boletín de la Asociación Mexicana de Historia Económica (Nashville, 11-13 de septiembre de 2015).

 

Some resources on the history of commodities (with a Latin American bias)

  • Jonathan Curry-Machado (ed.). Global Histories, Imperial Commodities, Local Interactions.
  • Curry-Machado is the coordinator of a very interesting British project, Commodity Histories.
  • Commodities in World History, 1450-1950, a website from UC Santa Cruz put together under the supervision of Edmund Burke III.
  • Commodities and Anticommodities Project.
  • Global Commodities / Trade, Exploration and Cultural Exchange, http://www.globalcommodities.amdigital.co.uk/ and http://www.amdigital.co.uk/m-collections/collection/global-commodities/
  • For the twentieth century economic history of Latin American commodities, see José Antonio Ocampo and María Angela Parra. Returning to an Eternal Debate: The Terms of Trade for Commodities in the Twentieth Century.
  • For a cultural approach, see Arjun Appadurai. The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective.
  • And the best for the last. From Latin American economic history in the long-run, with a great introduction framing the theoretical issues at hand: Steven Topik, Carlos Marichal, Zephyr Frank. From Silver to Cocaine: Latin American Commodity Chains and the Building of the World Economy, 1500-2000. Best book in the market on the issue from a regional perspective.

Book Presentation: The Economic Development of Latin America Since Independence (New York, January 31st, 2013)

Photography by Manuel A. Bautista Gonzalez.

It has been well over a year of the presentation of “The Economic Development of Latin America Since Independence,” held at Columbia University in the City of New York, with the participation of José Antonio Ocampo (co-author, SIPA/Columbia), Alan Dye (Barnard College) and John H. Coatsworth (Columbia University), moderated by Pablo Piccato in Columbia University in the City of New York, on January 31, 2013.

I am biased to believe the contents of the book presentation are still relevant. I post this transcript to pay a debt to my Uruguayan friend and colleague Sebastián Fleitas (University of Arizona), who aided Luis Bértola and José Antonio Ocampo as a research assistant for this book. The transcript would certainly benefit from (even) more editing. But as it happens most frequently in grad school, I lack the time to do that. Without further ado, here’s the baby whose birth took 15 months (!).

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A panel proposal that never was

The Virtues and Vices of Making Money in America

The functioning of a capitalist economy necessitates means of payment and vehicles for credit with which business can be conducted and expanded. The seasonality of agriculture, industrial production, and the nature itself of trade require money and credit to lubricate market exchange.

When talking about money in a historical perspective, instances of virtue follow very closely moments of vice. In the American case, for example, when the thirteen colonies became independent virtue was to be delivered in the promise of sovereign money issued directly in the continent. Nevertheless, the monetary experiments handled by the states in the period of Confederation led to a rather vicious situation, similar to countries enacting beggar-thy-neighbor trade policies. Virtue came again with institutional reforms adopted under the guidance of Alexander Hamilton and the rise of the First Bank of the United States, but soon concerned actors voiced the potential vice carried by the monopoly of issue. After the War of 1812-1815 the Second Bank of the United States emerged to guide the financial development of an industrializing nation, but this came with the cost of limiting the availability of money and credit for the ever-emerging peripheral regions of the country.

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Piece in The Economist about the economic history of the Great Depression

“Perhaps economic historians can make a better contribution by ensuring the past is not abused in debates about modern-day crises. For instance, putting all the blame on Wall Street for the Great Depression—or on bankers in the current crisis—does not stand up to historical scrutiny. The responsibility may more properly lie in a complex combination of factors, like how global financial systems are structured. But this still needs be interpreted from modern day evidence rather than in over-simplistic “lessons” from the past. As the Irish economic historian Cormac Ó Gráda once wrote, “shattering dangerous myths about the past is the historian’s social responsibility”. Such sentiments should apply to the Great Depression as much as they do any other episode in history.”

Estimados colegas,

Por este medio les hacemos llegar una copia digital de un artículo publicado en el blog "Free Exchange" de la revista The Economist sobre la historia económica de la Gran Depresión.

Saludos cordiales,

Manuel Bautista,

Vocal de la mesa directiva de la AMHE, 2013-2016

Referencia

C., R. (2013), ‘Economic history. What can we learn from the Great Depression?’, Free Exchange (2013; London: The Economist). Accessed November 16 2013. <http://www.economist.com/node/21589497>

Economist-EHDepression.pdf

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Martin Wolf on what we should teach students on banking, credit and money

Standard undergraduate textbooks express the following views on credit, money and banking: banks borrow money from savers, which they then lend out; banks lend to businesses to fund investment and working capital, for productive purposes; and the liabilities of banks are “money” for which one can define a stable demand function, with income and the rate of interest as independent variables.This picture is almost entirely misleading. First, banking institutions create credit and so both purchasing power and money. Second, credit does not mainly finance investment, but now has a bigger role in financing the purchase of existing assets. Third, the credit and debt are more important than “money”, because they determine the fragility of the economy and so its vulnerability to crises.The oversimplified view is not just a feature of elementary textbooks. Even advanced macroeconomic textbooks are largely silent on the way banks create credit and money. Even Michael Woodford’s “Interest and Prices”, a defining statement of new Kenyesian macroeconomics, ignores the structure and role of the financial system.

via Martin Wolf: Banking, credit and money | INET CORE Project.

“If they couldn’t guarantee the property rights of the land they gave away, how could they possibly sell it?”: Land Privatization and Property Rights in the Nineteenth Century Neo-Europes

And an earlier piece on property rights in Buenos Aires and New South Wales…

The NEP-HIS Blog

The Political Economy of Land Privatization in Argentina and Australia, 1810-1850: A Puzzle

Alan Dye (adye@barnard.edu), Barnard College, Columbia University

Sumner La Croix (lacroix@hawaii.edu), University of Hawai’i-Mānoa

URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hai:wpaper:201207&r=his

Abstract: This paper compares public land privatization in New South Wales and the Province of Buenos Aires,in the early nineteenth century. Both claimed frontier lands as public lands for raising revenue. New South Wales failed to enforce its claim. Property rights originated as de facto squatters’ claims, which government subsequently accommodated and enforced as de jure property rights. In Buenos Aires, by contrast, original transfers of public lands were specified de jure by government. The paper develops a model that explains these differences as a consequence of violence and the relative cost of enforcement of government claims to public land.

Review by Manuel Bautista Gonzalez

The U.S. economy has racked up an enviable record of two centuries…

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