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The Perspective of the World: Civilization and Capitalism 15Th-18th Century, Vol. 3 Paperback – December 23, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0520081161 ISBN-10: 0520081161 Edition: First Edition

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The Perspective of the World: Civilization and Capitalism 15Th-18th Century, Vol. 3 + The Wheels of Commerce (Civilization and Capitalism: 15Th-18th Century -Volume 2) + Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century, Vol. I: The Structure of Everyday Life (Civilization & Capitalism, 15th-18th Century)
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Product Details

  • Series: Civilization & Capitalism, 15th-18th Century (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 699 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (December 23, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520081161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520081161
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #680,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This book concludes French historian Braudel's groundbreaking trilogy, in which he concentrates on the ordinary human activities that underlie modern politics, commerce and culture. Here he tells the story of Western Europe's gradual domination of international trade in the modern era. "A magisterial work," PW observed.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Originally published in the early 1980s, Civilization traces the social and economic history of the world from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution, although his primary focus is Europe. Braudel skims over politics, wars, etc., in favor of examining life at the grass roots: food, drink, clothing, housing, town markets, money, credit, technology, the growth of towns and cities, and more. The history is fascinating and made even more interesting by period prints and drawings.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on February 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Where the first two volumes of this trilogy covered living standards and the evolution of market mechanisms and capital accumulation, this one completes the picture with detailed historical examinations of the policies of the most successful cities and nations in the development of capitalism.
In fascinating detail, Braudel starts with the trade system of Venice, which allowed that tiny and resourceless city-state to dominate the world trade economy for centuries, and which culminated in the golden age of Amsterdam. THese cities, he argues persuasively, pushed commercial and financial capitalism to new heights, that is, with a combination of banking and control of trade routes, they created monopolies that benefitted themselves largely at the expense of their trading partners. They did so with a combination of readily mobilisable financial capital, clever warehousing (particularly in Amsterdam, which was like a perpetual market fair) that allowed them to control supplies and hence sell items at the right time for the higest price, domination of shipbuilding technologies as well as naval prowess (i.e. state piracy), and the control of the origin of their supplies, as in the Dutch East Indies for the spice trade. Braudel argues that it was a conscious policy. He also deliniates how Spain and then Portugal were beaten.
He then moves on to the birth of industrial capitalism in England in the late 18th C, which the loss of the American colonies - and hence ended its military obligations there while trade increased - facilitated. The great difference here, which he argues is a creative extension of the other long-existing forms of capitalism rather than its true beginning as many claim - was that investment was made in new technologies. It is similar to what the U.S.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Suckwoo Lee on July 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the third volume of Braudel's 'Civilization and Capitalism' The third volume is about the capitalism as world economy. This is the reason why Braudel says that capitalism is premised on market economy. But market economy is not capitalism. To grasp this point, we should pay attention to Braudel's conception of time.
Braudel sees three levels of time. Events time is the immediately observable. But the event doesn't explain itself. They have to be placed within the context of what Braudel called conjunctures, or the set of forces that prepare the ground for events. Conjectural time is medium term; the span of an economic cycle, of a certain configuration of social forces, or of a certain paradigm of scientific knowledge. At the deepest level is longue duree. It involves structures of thought (mentality) that are very slow to change: economic organization, social practices, political institutions, language, and values. These structures are all cohesive and interdependent, yet each moves at a different pace. Conjunctural changes that become consolidate and stabilized could signal a change in the longue duree. Events are conditioned and shaped by the structures of the longue duree, but events may also cumulatively challenge, undermine, and transform these structures. The explanation of history involves the interaction of all three levels of time.
Three levels of time correspond to three layers of economy. capitalism has the longue duree as its modality of time. But Braudel use the term, capitalism a bit different from Marx's definition. Braudel defines capitalism as world-economy. There have been several world-economies throughout history. Capitalism is only one of them. World-economy structures (or organizes) the space as a hierarchy of division of labor.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Francis McInerney on August 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Braudel was one of the greatest economic historians of all time. His scope alone was incredible. But what in the end hurt him and significantly diminished his findings was his unfamiliarity with Empire and Communications (Voyageur Classics) the landmark work that Harold Innis published a quarter century before Braudel published this book in the original French.

Braudel cited only Innis' early work on the Canadian fur trade (The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History) in his bibliography. Braudel missed Innis' later work on how the cost of information drives the creation of markets, and it shows. For example, Braudel demonstrates that there were many opportunities to create liberal capitalism but most failed and he has a hard time putting his finger on they key success factors. Innis identified these. Braudel would have made a lot from this.

Both looked at the economics of space and time, but what for Braudel ended in a series of uncertain conclusions ended for Innis in a profound theory of how the falling costs of information bestowed Ricardian comparative advantages (The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (Dover Value Editions)) that altered trade and communications patterns on a global scale.

Put the two together and you have a clear picture of paradigm shifts over the centuries and an excellent framework for understanding outcomes in today's globalized economy.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a huge reader of history, and this is one of my favorites of all time. While full of interesting facts and stories, it is set apart from most books by the depth of the analysis it provides. It walks the line between history and social science, hinting at a theory of civilization and capitalism based on case studies from around the world. Though professional it is not dry (though I am infamous for enjoying a good dry book). My only criticism of it is the parts where it ventures into the cyclic theory of history. This is a European (or French) historiographic technique of trying to edition long recurring cycles. Frankly I find the concept forced (even more frankly, it's bunk!) and it always annoys me when I come across it...but it is part of the historical tradition Braudel was involved in, so it must simply be tolerated as a blemish on an otherwise stunning achievement.
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