On Custom in Economics: The Case of Humanism and Trade Regimes
AbstractIdeas and beliefs can make a contribution to economic development. The case of Humanism and the Low Countries' sudden rise to prosperity prove the point. Humanism became of substantial economic value when it turned out that its norms and customs allowed the Dutch long-distance trader to find more, and more willing, trade partners in the East Indies. Both individual behaviour and the overall set of customs fitted better the existing trade regimes between the African East Coast and Japan. Non-discrimination on religious or racial grounds, voluntary excange, norms of hospitality and reciprocity sustained low transaction costs in long distance trade in and between the trade regimes. Yet, Humanism serves also as an example for showing that even after a specific set of norms has proved its usefulness, and even if scale economics can be expected, it can still collapse depending on sanctioning funds that are either missing or too weak.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.
Volume (Year): 155 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
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Web page: http://www.mohr.de/jite
Postal: Mohr Siebeck GmbH & Co. KG, P.O.Box 2040, 72010 Tübingen, Germany
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
- N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
- Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
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