Journal of European Economic History - 2021 issue 3

Volume L

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An Economic Perspective on the Irish Monetary Tithe: A Trigger for Irish Banditti and Secret Societies Disturbances
By the mid-18th century, the Irish tithe in kind was converted into a monetary tithe (known as the modus decimandi) that systematically produced relatively high tithing rates upon a poor harvest and shifted the revenue risks borne by the clergy to tillage farmers. But this added risk burden – best exemplified by high tithing rates relative to harvest revenues – only served to reinvigorate the groundswell of protest and violence that accompanied the many regional food riots provoked by a series of devastating harvests which, in turn, had created a subsistence crisis and the potential threat of famine. Taking the form of a secret society, these newest protestors – the “banditti” – took direct aim at the tithe, intervening by setting much lower rates backed up by violence (mostly against tithe agents). In 1823, Parliament responded to these disturbances by revamping the tithe in favour of a “composition”, making it compulsory only from 1832. However, the enactment of the mandatory provision triggered renewed protests and violence and the ensuing conflicts escalated into what became known as the Irish Tithe Warof 1831-1838. This paper examines the tithing rates of the modus decimandi regime in terms of its share of annual crop revenues under different harvest scenarios and estimates the potential added revenue risks borne by tillage farmers under both monetary tithe regimes. This investigation finds that the primary cause of these secret society tithe disturbances, like that of the Irish Tithe War, was an increase in revenue risk that fell harshly upon small tillage farmers and for which there was insufficient compensation.
Public Spending and Its Impact on the Pre-WWII Greek Economy: A Comparative Analysis for Civilian and Military Expenditure
This paper examines the economic effects of public spending on Greek economic growth over the period 1842-1938. In less developed countries, such as late-19th- and early-20th-century Greece, public spending played an important role in the construction of key infrastructures and the provision of basic public health and education systems. Such expenditures augment physical and human capital, enhancing aggregate production possibilities and boosting growth and development. As has been shown, the composition of public spending can be an important determinant of its impact on a country’s level of economic development. To test for such differential composition effects, the Greek public spending time series was divided into two broad categories: civilian and military expenditure. The results reported here point to a significant positive effect on growth in the case of civilian expenditure but not for military spending.
Reconsidering the Tariff Reform Controversy in Britain: Joseph Chamberlain’s Tariff Reform Versus Arthur Balfour’s Plan of Retaliatory Tariffs
The studies on the tariff reform movement from 1903 to 1913 in Britain can be classified into three main approaches, emphasising respectively: 1) a protectionist strategy to revive British industry, 2) an electoral strategy to widen the base of the Unionists or the Conservative Party, and 3) an imperial strategy to unite the British Empire through imperial preference. On the basis of new evidence, this study refutes the first and second views, and supports the third. However, even those scholars upholding the third view have not maintained that the domestic and imperial sides of tariff reform were unrelated. This study demonstrates instead that they were actually disconnected and that in order to achieve the unity of the British Empire, Joseph Chamberlain and leading tariff reformers formed a plan prioritizing the interests of the self-governing colonies or dominions over Britain’s own national interests. In their vision, even if their scheme of tariff reform were to strengthen the dominions’ economies rather than the home economy, it should be accepted as long as it reinforced the unity of the British Empire. To elucidate this point, we analyse Unionist Prime Minister Arthur Balfour’s retaliatory tariff plan in comparison with Chamberlain’s tariff reform. A new perspective that refutes the generally accepted view of Balfour’s plan as a compromise between tariff reform and free trade will also be suggested.
Control Over Administration, Repression of Corruption and Practices of Negotiation in the Spanish Monarchy. The Process of Residencia of the 10th Count of Lemos, Viceroy of Peru (1667-1672)
The debate around the definition of the political nature of the Spanish Monarchy in the modern age has widened its scope in recent years to include not only reflections on the relationships between the Court and the diverse territorial elements that made it up but also the various forms that “remote government” took at various times.
Retrospective Conscripts of “Transformation”: Europe in the High Middle Ages
Edited by Paolo Tedesco and Annette Grabowsky
Editors' Note
Alessio Fiore’s The Seigneurial Transformation was published by Oxford University Press in the middle of the 2020 pandemic, which precluded book presentations and discussions in traditional seminars like those held under normal conditions. As medievalists, it was our conviction that intellectual life had to continue and that Fiore’s book deserved some reflection, no matter the form this might take.
Conscripts of “Transformation”: An Introduction to the Seminar
No part of the Middle Ages in Europe has been more stringently defined by the debate on historical periodization than the centuries between 850 and 1150. This is hardly surprising, for the central centuries of the Middle Ages witnessed a radical process of political transformation – from centralization to fragmentation – that had profound implications for the mechanisms of the distribution of power and, to an extent that is still hard to define, for the economic and demographic expansion of western Europe.
From Revolution to Transformation and Back Again
There really was a “feudal revolution”. Not in southern France at the dawn of the second millennium, but in rural northern Italy around the year 1100. This is Alessio Fiore’s striking thesis in his newly translated book on the “seigneurial transformation” – or, “if we like it better”, “the feudal revolution.”
The Materiality of the “Seigneurial Transformation”
In this paper I offer some thoughts on Alessio Fiore’s The Seigneurial Transformation1 from an archaeological perspective. First, I examine how the book contributes to one of the most contentious issues in Italian archaeology, so-called incastellamento.
Fiscal Resources, the Regnum Italiae and an Empire in Crisis (1080-1130)
In recent years, analysis of the economic foundations of power in the early medieval kingdoms of western Europe has increasingly focused on fiscal assets. This is a wide-ranging and traditional topic of research, already present in works linked to an institutionalist conception of politics typical of the national-centric approach to the study of power of such nineteenth- and earlytwentieth- century European historians as Paul Darmstädter and Silvio Pivano.
The Seigneurial Turn, the Church and National Historiographies
Alessio Fiore’s important book on the transformation of the Italian countryside in the decades between 1080 and 1130 is a bold contribution to longstanding historical debates, suggesting what he calls a ‘seigneurial transformation’ in Italy at that time.
Three Notes on Alessio Fiore’s Seigneurial Transformation
Alessio Fiore’s 2017 book, now available in a superb English translation by Sergio Knipe, is a major achievement and a milestone in the field.2 Its elegantly constructed argument runs as follows. The “civil war” of the 1080s in northern and central Italy catalysed the decomposition of the old public order there.
A Reply
One of the great joys in writing a book is the opportunity to engage with quality readings of it, including critical ones, such as those offered by the various contributors in the previous pages. In this regard, already when writing Il mutamento signorile – an English version of which was published a few years later (with some changes and additions) as The Seigneurial Transformation – the idea of translating the book was one of my priorities, precisely in order to broaden my potential readership beyond the all-too-narrow confines of the Italian language. I like to think that this effort was not in vain.
Book Reviews
Augello M., Guidi M.
Economisti e scienza economica nell’Italia liberale (1848-1922), Una storia istituzionale
Simone Misiani

Augello M., Guidi M., Bientinesi F. (eds.)
An Institutional History of Italian Economics in the Interwar Period
Simone Misiani

Charly Coleman
The Spirit of French Capitalism: Economic Theology in the Age of Enlightenment
Charles Walton

Stefano Fenoaltea
Reconstructing the Past. Revised Estimates of Italy’s Product, 1861-1913
Manfredi Alberti

José Miguel López García
La esclavitud a finales del antiguo régimen. Madrid, 1701-1837. De moros de presa a negros de nación
Fabrizio Filioli Uranio

Luca Tomassini
Il grande salto. L’uomo, il digitale e la più importante evoluzione della nostra storia
Alessandro Albanese Ginammi