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Why did commercial cities begin to emerge in Western Europe as they did after 1100 CE? In this chapter, I review and synthesize important thinking about the evolution of commercial cities as a market economy took hold. After discussing ideas about the state in prehistory , I trace thinking about the economic functioning of communities in the ancient world , Roman World , early medieval Western Europe , and into the rise of commercial cities. I integrate the work of Abu-Lughod, Bairoch, Braudel, Cooley, Heaton, Hurd, Mann, Marshall, Power, Smith, Tawney, Tilly, and Weber. I am not so much interested in the historical accuracy of their thinking as I am in how these writers each conceptualized a process based on purposeful behavior . Of particular interest to me is the how the notion and practice of the state changed and how this affected the formation of cities. I build this review around seven themes. Continuing from Chap. 1, I see these as follows: the importance of the governance of a nation to the urban economy; occupational division of labor, command and control, and power; decentralization and entitlement within governance; the functioning of a community as settlement , trading city , or commercial city; the significance of transportation costs, the spatial division of labor , and trade; importance of networks, routes, and nodes in circuits of trade ; and the conflicted role of the city.
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- State, Economy, and City: A Reconstruction
John R. Miron
- Chapter 2