지은: F. Braudel
Part 2. Collective Destinies and General Trends
1. Economies: The Measure of the Century
1-1. Distance, the First Enemy
Fairs, the supplementary network of economic life.
Commercial centers were the indispensible motors of economic life. They countered the obstacles of physical space and launched streams of traffic that triumphed as best they could over distance, travelling as fast as the century allowed. They were seconded in their task by other activities as towns, temporary commercial centers, differing as towns do, very much among themselves, some of minor, others of moderate, a few of exceptional importance, the latter developing in time from trade fairs to exchange fairs. But nothing could be taken for granted here. The fairs of Champagne died out in the 14th century, to be resurrected at Chalon-sur-Saône, Geneva, and later at Lyons. In northern Italy and the Netherlands, countries where there was intense ^urban^ activity, fairs although still glittering occasions in the 16th century, began to decline. When they survived, as at Venice, it was largely as a façade. At Ascensiontide the spectacular fair held in St. Mark's square and known as ^La Sensa^ (from religious festival), was the scene of much festivity and the celebrated marriage of the doge to the sea. But this was no longer the heart of Venice, which now beat on the ^piazza^ and the bridge of the Rialto.
In this constant dialogue between the towns (or commercial centers) and the fairs, the former since they operated without interruption (at bound in the long run to count for more than the fairs, which were exceptional gatherings. Or so one would assume, but evolution is never a simple affair. Surprises and about-turns were still possible. The establishment in 1579 of the exchange fairs(known as the Besançon fairs) at Piasenza in northern Italy was the event of the century from the point of view of the history of capitalism. For many years the relentless 'heart' of the Mediterranean and entire western economy heat here at Piacenza. We shall have more to say about the crucial event. It was not, in fact, Genoa, a city, but the discreet quarterly meeting of a few businessmen at Piacenza that dictated the rhythm of the material life of the West. Only paper changed hands, and not a penny of currency, reports a Venetian observer with only a little exaggeration. And yet everythingㅡnew arrivals and returns, arterial blood and veinous bloodㅡculminated at this vita 'pole', from which flowed drafts and remittances, debts and letters of credit, settlements and returns, gold and silver, the symmertrical or asymmetrical transactions upon which all trade depended.
2011년 3월 20일 일요일