By Stephen Greenblatt
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR NONFICTION
nearly 600 years in the past, a quick, genial guy took a truly previous manuscript off a library shelf. With pleasure, he observed what he had found and ordered it copied. The booklet was once a miraculously surviving reproduction of an historical Roman philosophical epic, at the Nature of items by way of Lucretius and it replaced the process history.
He discovered a gorgeous poem of the main risky principles - that the universe functioned with out assistance from gods, that non secular worry used to be destructive to human existence, and that topic was once made of very small debris in everlasting movement. those principles fuelled the Renaissance, inspiring Botticelli, shaping the options of Montaigne, Darwin and Einstein.
An leading edge paintings of background via one of many world's so much celebrated students and an exhilarating tale of discovery, The Swerve info how one manuscript, plucked from one thousand years of overlook, made attainable the area as we all know it.
Winner of the 2011 nationwide e-book Award for Nonfiction
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Additional info for The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began
Throughout most of history, the insecurity and consequent risks have made the costs of transacting so high that trade has been very limited. Second, the role that the state plays then becomes an important part of our examination. Throughout most of history, the state has acted more like the Mafia than an organization that was concerned with economic growth. What made rulers of some states perceive that their interests lay in promoting trade rather than holding trade and economic activity to ransom?
The two types of law did not accommodate each other very well to begin with. This was particularly true in cases of moral hazard and asymmetric information in insurance contracts as well as those associated with fraud in exchange. The law merchant was assumed by the court of common law but continued to be administered in the original spirit of the law merchant, that is, as a law based on custom. At first, it still applied only to proven merchants, whether they were the plaintiff or defendant. Cases seldom laid down a particular rule because it was virtually impossible to separate custom from the facts.
So, accordingly, rose the costs of survival of political units. Because kings were supposed to live on their own, they were faced with devising ways to increase fiscal revenues. This ''Crisis of the Tax State," to use the title of a celebrated essay by Joseph Schumpeter published in 1919, led to radical changes in the polities and economies of Western 26 Douglass C. North Europe. A king's revenues from his own estates and other traditional rights he held from feudal obligations were nowhere near enough to be able to pay the armies and mercenaries necessary for survival.