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Global Trade and Commercial Networks

Eighteenth-Century Diamond Merchants


Perspectives in Economic and Social History: 11

Tijl Vanneste

288pp: 234x156mm: 2011
HB 978 1 84893 087 2: £60/$99

'this fascinating volume is an invaluable addition to our knowledge of early modern trading institutions and organisations'

Business History


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At the heart of this study on cross-cultural trade lies a concrete case-study of a network of diamond merchants operating in the early eighteenth century. Trust was an important element within this cross-cultural network and a significant factor in its success. This trust was formed, over time, by the exchange of correspondence, allowing commercial friendships and a system of reciprocity to emerge. Such trusted exchange also allowed a system of credit – used for almost all trading agreements as well as becoming important in itself – to develop. Most of the merchants examined in this study belonged to a group of outsiders: an English Catholic in Antwerp, Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews in London and Amsterdam, and French Huguenots in Lisbon, to name a few. Traditionally, such diasporas have been seen as key to the development of a globalized economy. Vanneste argues that whilst this is generally correct, it is nonetheless hard to reconcile the idea of such intricate, trusted relationships with people who were detached from their surrounding societies. He suggests that these diasporas must be embedded in the social environment of the host society in a more profound way than previously assumed, and that such cohesion allowed the development of trusted trading networks and an early modern globalization.

Introduction
1 Models for Trade and Globalization
2 A Short Hisotry of the Diamond Trade
3 A Cross-Cultural Diamond Trade Network
4 Competition from an Ashkenazi Kinship Network
5 The Embeddedness of Merchants in State and Society
6 Trade, Global History and Human Agency
Conclusion
  • 'this fascinating volume is an invaluable addition to our knowledge of early modern trading institutions and organisations'

    Business History

  • 'Vanneste has written an important book about the functioning of commercial networks during the mid 18th century'

    Reviews in History

  • 'this book makes an important and original contribution to the study of Jewish economic history.'

    Economic History Review

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ISBNs: 9781848930872 978-1-84893-087-2 ISBNs: 9781848930889 978-1-84893-088-9 ISBNs: 9781781442463 978-1-78144-246-3

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