The return of the guild? Network relations in historical pespective
Prior to the industrial revolution, the predominant form of economic organization in western Europe and north America was the guild. Guilds were network forms, loose associations of independent producers, with strong local and regional identities, in which cooperation and competition were combined. The decline of the guild was brought about in large part by legal changes which privileged the emerging conjunction of the vertically integrated enterprise and mass consumer market. If present- day network forms are not be consigned to the margins of capitalism as their predecessors were, we need a set of legal concepts and techniques which can underpin and protect network relations, most importantly in the context of competition law.
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