Medieval Economic Thought
Medieval Economic Thought / Diana Wood
This book is an introduction to medieval economic thought, mainly from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, as it emerges from the works of academic theologians and lawyers and other sources, from Italian merchants’ writings to vernacular poetry, parliamentary legislation, and manorial court rolls.
It raises a number of questions based on the Aristotelian idea of the mean, the balance and harmony underlying justice, as applied by medieval thinkers to the changing economy, and it attempts to relate theory to practice. How could private ownership of property be reconciled with God’s gift of the earth to all in common?
How could charity balance resources between rich and poor? What was money and how did it equalize the interests of buyer and seller? Did control of the standards of weights, measures, and coinage belong to the ruler or the people, or both?
Could the ‘balance of trade’ be applied to the medieval economy? What were the just price and the just wage? How was a balance to be achieved between lender and borrower and how did the idea of usury change to reflect this?
The answers emerge from a wide variety of ecclesiastical and secular sources.
- Introduction: problems, evidence, and background
- Private property versus communal rights: the conflict of two laws
- Wealth, beggary, and sufficiency
- What is money?
- Sovereign concerns: weights, measures, and coinage
- The mercantile system
- The just price and the just wage
- The nature of usury: the usurer as winner
- The theory of interest: the usurer as loser & Conclusion
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