The History of the Grain Trade in France 1400-1710 (Classic Reprint)

The History of the Grain Trade in France 1400-1710 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The History of the Grain Trade in France 1400-1710

The history of the grain trade acquired great prominence in France in the eighteenth century. The Physiocrats made it one of the issues in their struggle for commercial freedom, and the scandal attached to the King's name in connection with the Pacte de Famine still furnishes the political historian with an interesting episode in pre-Revolutionary history. The earlier history of the grain trade does not appeal to the same interests. There is none of the intensely dramatic tone of the great episodes of the eighteenth century. It is a chapter in the history of social evolution, interesting perhaps, but complicated and difficult because it involves an understanding of conditions so strangely different from those of our own day. Changes in the mode of marketing seem to be relatively unimportant and it is only with an effort that we bring ourselves to realize how closely these changes are associated with the development of economic solidarity.

The increasing complexity of the division of labor creates a necessity for more accurate determinations of value. Everyone is concerned either as a producer or as a consumer. Today there is a high degree of refinement in the valuation of the great staples, and the achievement of this success is one of the triumphs of modern institutions. Grain, cotton, wool, oil, iron and steel, beef, and some other products are valued today with reference to the demand of the world. It is perhaps the greatest novelty in our modem economic organization. The history of the grain trade is significant because it presents most clearly some of the first steps in the evolution of these new modes of marketing. France is peculiarly important, not because the general development is different in Germany and in England, but because the history of France exhibits more clearly some of the stages in the process. The story is more easily read.

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