Notes on Brucker, Ch 2, Economy
The main issue/ thesis here is to identify those elements that contributed to economic growth, and to the creation of "capital" that made it possible for the Florentines not only to defend themselves, but also to support the civic, religious and cultural institutions of their city, page 56.
Consider then what were the sources of wealth? What does it say about other Renaissance cities that they could not compete effectively with Florence? What is the difference?
What was the role of guilds? of the church? of merchant banking? What were the conditions that allowed Florentine merchants (as well as those of other states) to succeed internationally? How were non-Florentines treated in Florence? How much effective control could the guild system exercise over the economy?
What were the constraints on economic activity? and how did the Florentines cope? Can we identify a "system" or pattern in the economic activity? open markets? closed markets? flexible or inflexible labor market?
Consider the relationship between commerce and law. How were disputes resolved?
How does the Marxist analysis account for the behavior of Florentines in a period of social revolution? Can you suggest an alternative?
Brucker writes a great deal about the "profit motive" of Florentine merchants. What does that mean? How did it work? Why do you find that "motive" to be repugnant?
How to account for the fiscal resources that made the support of culture and a higher civilization possible?