By Edwin S. Hunt, James Murray

A background of industrial in Medieval Europe, 1200-1550, demolishes the commonly held view that the word "medieval business" is an oxymoron. The authors assessment the full variety of industrial in medieval western Europe, probing its Roman and Christian historical past to find the industrial and political forces that formed the association of agriculture, production, development, mining, transportation, and advertising. Then they take care of the responses of businessmen to the devastating plagues, famines, and war that beset Europe within the overdue heart a long time. Medieval businessmen's awesome good fortune in dealing with this antagonistic new setting ready the best way for the commercial growth of the 16th century.

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Additional info for A History of Business in Medieval Europe, 1200-1550 (Cambridge Medieval Textbooks)

Sample text

Such contracts varied greatly by trade and by location. In some cases, the employer paid a small wage to attract the candidate; in others, the guardian paid a fee to get the appointment. The term was for several years, the exact length of time depending upon location, training needed to acquire the necessary skill, economic conditions, and relationship to the owner. During that time, the master assumed a parental role, with responsibility for the apprentice’s morals as well as his education. At the end of the period, the apprentice might be given a small sum or, in certain crafts such as turners and masons, a set of tools.

Their operations were small-scale, Tools of trade: business organization  capital investment was modest, risks were low, competition was plentiful, and their end product was for the most part a commodity, not a consumer good. The professional craftsmen, dyers and shearers, who completed the conversion were highly skilled and well rewarded, earning set fees for their work. At certain places and times, they enjoyed independence and owned their raw materials; at others, they were employees or partners of cloth merchants.

Markets were the key: they made possible the beginnings of agricultural and along with it artisanal specialization and the closely related return of cities to the European landscape. A market at its most basic is simply a meeting place of buyer and seller where the needs of one are satisfied by the surplus of another. In early medieval Europe, the move to a grain economy created regions of surplus production near or adjacent to regions of underproduction of grain which had potential surpluses in other commodities or manufactures.

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