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The Wheels of Commerce (Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century #2)

4.41 of 5 stars 4.41  ·  rating details  ·  252 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The subject of The Wheels of Commerce is the development of mechanisms of exchange - shops, markets, trade networks, and banking - in the pre-industrial stages of capitalism.
Paperback, 670 pages
Published December 23rd 1992 by University of California Press (first published 1979)
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Seeing Like a State by James C. ScottThe Mind in the Cave by J. David Lewis-WilliamsCrowds and Power by Elias CanettiThe Wheels of Commerce by Fernand BraudelKeeping Together in Time by William Hardy McNeill
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I bought Braudel's trilogy Civilisation and Capitalism years ago when I was a student through a book club (a sure way to win friends among the postmen). The cost of it would have been a small fortune to me at the time, but all the same it was something that I only raided rather than read for writing essays. Which misses the point, because although you can dip in and out of the text the discussion develops slowly and rolls out like an incoming tide. All three volumes are richly illustrated. The g ...more
After a somewhat tedious first volume, where Braudel sets the stage for life and commerce in the period under discussion, volume two of Civilization and Capitalism really gets the ball rolling. Or as much as anything ever gets rolling in a Braudel book.

This is fascinating stuff, but it is not easy going. The language is straight forward, but Braudel wanders around his subject, giving us mountains of specifics and following various side currents to their ends. The basic point of the volume is to
I find this volume the most interesting, but I think this series as a whole could be very helpful to keep around as a reference. Pretty much any detail of life during this long time period is described and put in the context of the changes in socio-economic inequalities that constituted the emergence in capitalism. Though in some ways Eurocentric, this is still more of a history of the whole world than just a history of Europe.
This has to be one of the most, if not the most, exhaustive overview of the workings of commerce and, ultimately, capitalism during the subject period. It would appear that Mr. Braudel has read, or at least considered, thousands of source documents, and has also read every other researcher's study of the period. The constant references to other works become a little tiresome, and often deflect the reader's attention from the main thread of his arguments. Still, the scholarship is almost unbelie ...more
vol. II, pp. 237-239 are KEY to defining Braudel's project of defining what "capitalism" is and means, and what it means to search for the roots or typology of "capitalism" in the pre-industrial period (c. 1800). Indeed, astonishingly, though the word appears in the 1840s and in Proudhon, Marx never uses it; the word only gains currency after the Werner Sombert's use of it in 1902. Obviously, Braudel does not believe that a full-blown capitalism can be found in ancien régime societies; it only e ...more
A fascinating study of commercial systems in pre-industrial Europe and the second volume in Braudel's magisterial economic history. Whereas the first volume focused mainly on material life and relied heavily on mountains of minutiae, this book contains lots of thoughtful analysis on the machinery of trade and the development of sophisticated instruments of exchange in the earliest capitalist economies. As improbable as it may seem given the subject matter, this series is a fine read and worth th ...more
Vip Vinyaratn
I'm not sure wether to put this book in to "read" shelf or "currently-reading" shelf because I have read it several times although I haven't actually finished it. It is a long and fasinating book. Full of details that make the book difficult to conceptualize but you (or at lease "I") find those story that Braudel narrated it in a prose-like pace. And of course, this is one of the best books on the history of capitalism.
Mar 08, 2014 Scott marked it as to-read
I added this to my To Read list since both Brian Eno and Stewart Brand include Braudel in their Long Now lists. Eno lists Wheels of Commerce. Brand lists History of Civilizations.

I am intrigued after reading the Wikipedia article on Braudel and the Annales School of History. I appreciate their systems approach to history, the emphasis on long-term perspectives, geography and ecology, as well as Braudel's view of capitalists as monopolists protected by the state.
Nikolay Mollov
Несъмнено, една от най-добрите книги, за тези, които се интересуват от процесите бушуващи в европейската и световната икономика през периода 15-18 век (с многобройни сравнителни прелитания също и към периода 10-14 век). През 1453 г. Констнтинопол е завладян от Османската империя, докато в същата година се слага край на Стогодишната война, водена условно казано между Англия и Франция. И докато (до 1683 г.) османците правят опити да експанзират на запад, самия Запад, със своята експанзия, вече офо ...more
Bisser Dyankov
Превъзходна книга за всеки, който се итнересува как икономиката влияе на обществото. Не особено добър български превод. Малко тромава, изисква настройка.

Книгата дава представа за дълбинни връзки между икономически процеси и обществена структура и политика. По същество тя представлява научен труд с изобилна информация коя година колко тона от това или онова е изнесено тук или там, но според мен е итнересна поради динамиките, които разкрива, и които никога не са само икономически.

Другите две кни
Kevin Cordova
Da buena idea sobre la evolución del capitalismo, es fácil de comprender y no aburre.
Nov 12, 2014 Betty marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Readable, helpfully illustrated with period paintings, maps and graphs. I'm looking forward to continuing Braudel's economic history and awed by the immensity of the project that he took on.
Carl Johnson
The second volume in this series delves into the origins of banking and credit markets.
Sep 06, 2010 Joshua added it
Shelves: ay10-11, economics
The rise of money (and hence capitalism) was complicated.
Julie H.
The second volume in the series. (Thanks, Sampson!)
Josh Nelson
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Fernand Braudel was a French historian and a leader of the Annales School. His scholarship focused on three main projects: The Mediterranean (1923–49, then 1949–66), Civilization and Capitalism (1955–79), and the unfinished Identity of France (1970–85). His reputation stems in part from his writings, but even more from his success in making the Annales School the most important engine of historica ...more
More about Fernand Braudel...

Other Books in the Series

Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century (3 books)
  • The Structures of Everyday Life
  • The Perspective of the World
The Structures of Everyday Life The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Volume I A History of Civilizations The Perspective of the World The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Volume 2

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