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L'Evolution Industrielle de la Belgique. By JAN ST. LEWINSKI. Instituts Solvay. (Brussells: Misch et Thron. 1911. Pp. xiii, 340.)
The author of this volume has limited his study to the era beginning with the latter part of the eighteenth century. Considering the universality of the industrial evolution within that period, his task was chiefly to describe and explain that development in terms of Belgian history. Part I, occupying 150 pages, however, is devoted to a preliminary statement of the author's view of the originating causes of this industrial evolution. These, he thinks, have been erroneously sought in the inventions of the eighteenth century. On the contrary, every step in the development of the technique or organization of economic life has been taken, not in advance of the need for it, but in response to that need, and only so. The real cause of the economic revolution, therefore, is to be sought in the forces which created the demand for the new technique.
His explanation of these causes may be briefly stated: Supply lags more and more behind demand because the progressive exhaustion of nature's ready-to-use materials of production forces a resort to raw materials which require more and more labor to prepare them for manufacture. The productive energy of a population is thus required to compass an increasing range of preparatory efforts before finished products are realized, and relatively fewer finished products can be carried through this longer course of production to supply the increasing demand of the growing population. Hence arises an urgent need for a more efficient technique and organization of production. An extended discussion endeavors to show why society became ripe for a new economic structure at the time it did, and not earlier.
There is the originating cause of the industrial transformation during the nineteenth century. Many factors, commonly considered as causes, our author regards only as the conditions which were indispensable to the transformation. Such are a proletariat, capital, a commercial or "capitalistic" spirit, and a new legal system.
This laborious theory, when boiled down, becomes merely a special phase of the familiar fact that diminishing returns to human effort is a constant stimulus to the improvement of productive efficiency. To develop this feature of the struggle with nature has been a useful service. But to account for the revolu
tion in productive technique and organization on this ultimate basis, though perfectly sound, is somewhat platitudinous and The questionings of most minds will be better satisfied with an explanation in terms of factors which, though not so final, are closer to the events themselves. In this view, what our author subordinates as merely "indispensable conditions" become "determining conditions" which mould the character of the transformation through which the demand for more products is met. That is, they become proximate causes of that particular step in the everlasting forced march of productive improvement.
It remains only to say that the author traces the development of industrialism in Belgium through the decline of the handicrafts and of house industry and the rise of concentration in industrial organization. On the controverted question of the endurance of handicrafts and small industries, the author argues strongly that these have in fact steadily declined in Belgium, notwithstanding many statistical indications to the contrary, and that the essential nature of the economic forces at work is such that economic development must tend constantly away from the dispersed organization under the handicrafts and toward concentration. His treatment of Belgian development is thus limited to the industrial phases, in the strict sense of the word. But the title promises no
An extensive bibliography fills the last 84 pages of the book. ARTHUR SArgent Field.
Washington, D. C.
Der Geldhandel der deutschen Juden während des Mittelalters bis zum Jahre 1350. By MOSES HOFFMAN. Schmoller und Sering's Staats- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschungen, Heft 152. (Leipzig: Duncker und Humblot. 1910. Pp. x, 236. 6.90 m.)
Rabbi Hoffmann's monograph ably maintains the high standard of careful research which has characterized this series. It is one of three recent contributions in this field. Although not so extensive as either Caro's Sozial-und Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Juden im Mittelalter und Neuzeit (Vol. I, Leipzig, 1908) or Sombart's Die Juden und das Wirtschaftsleben (Leipzig, 1911), the present work is of special interest because of the fact that it is the first adequate effort to utilize a large body of Hebrew sources on the subject. Half of the publication is made up of some two hundred
and fifty documents conveniently translated into German. These are chiefly contemporary records of loans and trade agreements in which one or both parties were Jews. The bibliography contains a list of the collections of Hebrew sources from which these have been gathered together with the titles of fifty German monographs. The limits of the work have been frankly restricted, no effort being made to unearth the rich mines of material imbedded in the innumerable collections of town records and archives. The text of the essay is, then, simply a guide to these hitherto untouched data, preceded by a useful review of the general economic activities of the Jews during the period in question.
The author has made liberal use of the works of Ehrenberg, Schulte, Schaub and other well-known authorities. Certain original digressions are noticeable, however, and these are in most cases well substantiated by memoranda of business agreements, partnerships, accounts, etc. The chapter on the slave traffic carried on by the Jews is singularly free from the prejudice, either philo- or anti-semitic, which has persisted in even the most recent works. The section on the agricultural pursuits of the Jews during the tenth and eleventh centuries is brief but suggestive of a new and interesting field for research. The work shows clearly that the economic activities of the Jews of the period under investigation were by no means confined to money-lending, although they later became the dominant factor in this field. The date of the attainment of this supremacy the author is inclined to fix at a much earlier period than that usually accepted. In this connection he questions Lamprecht's attempt to periodize by assigning the twelfth century to the church, the thirteenth to the nobility and burgers, and the fourteenth to the Jews. The evidence offered by Hoffmann, however, on the Jewish supremacy in the money markets before 1300 is little more than fragmentary, although he does establish the fact that, after the middle of the twelfth century, church restrictions and a growing interest in foreign trade left the field of money-lending more and more to the Jews.
Rabbi Hoffmann's monograph cannot be called a real contribution to the fund of knowledge on this subject, nor does it purport to be such. It is useful as a brief resumé of the information already available with the tinge of prejudice conveniently removed. Its chief value lies in the introduction which it affords to a valuable body of hitherto unused Hebrew material.
Leitfaden der Handelsgeographie (Wirtschafts- und Verkehrsgeographie) mit besonderer Berücksichtigung Deutschlands und der deutschen Kolonien. By MAX ECKERT. Third edition, improved and enlarged. (Leipzig: G. J. Göschen. 1911. Pp. 296; 53 maps; 211 diagrams. 3.60 m.)
Commercial geography originated in Germany something over a century ago under the name of Kaufmannsgeographie, which was later changed to Verkehrsgeographie or Handelsgeographie. The subject appeared first in schools patronized by the trading classes and was in no sense scientific, comprising merely unrelated scraps of information about whatever was thought to be of interest to traders. This encyclopedic character is found even in such relatively recent writers as Deckert and Scherzer, whose book (Das Wirtschaftliche Leben der Völker, 1885) formed the basis of Chisholm's Handbook; and through Chisholm, the same character has been impressed on most of the texts published in this country. In view of the German tendency to methodology, it is remarkable that no one until recently undertook to define the scope and method of the subject. The discussion of this question, begun by Goetz and Kraus, was taken up with great vigor by Eckert; and from this discussion dates the modern era in economic geography in Germany.
The first fruits of the new movement were Friedrich's Allegemeine und spezielle Wirtschaftsgeographie (1904), and Eckert's two-volume Grundriss der Handelsgeographie (1905) which is still one of the best balanced and most scientific books on the subject in German. In the first place, Eckert clearly distinguishes between Wirthschaftsgeographie and Wirthschaftskunde, which had been hopelessly confused by Deckert and Scherzer, as they are by Chisholm. In the second place, he does not overemphasize the physical and neglect the human factors, as has been done by most of those who sought to rationalize the subject. On the contrary he focuses attention, not on nature in relation to man, according to the usual formula, but on man in relation to nature, that is to say on the economic activity of man, so far as conditioned by nature. This change of point of view necessarily introduces many economic concepts and gives the subject scientific unity: in brief, makes economic geography a genuine and worthy part of the science of economics.
Eckert's Leitfaden der Handelgeographie, of which the first edition appeared in 1905, is essentially an abbreviated edition of his
Grundriss. Part I, pp. 13-84, is devoted to a general or systematic treatment of the physical factors in economic life, the principal materials of commerce, and methods of transportation. Part II is regional, taking up in succession the various economic regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, South America and North America, closing with the United States (pp. 278-287) and Canada. The third edition contains a large number of black and white maps and statistical diagrams which have for the most part been well brought up to date. On the whole it is probably the best brief text-book on the subject in German.
Space is lacking for a detailed criticism. One point, however, cannot be passed over, the insertion of discussions of European colonies directly after the countries in question. The effect is seriously to break up the regional plan of Part II, especially in view of the large part of the world included in various colonial empires. EDWARD VAN DYKE ROBINSON.
University of Minnesota.
ADAMS, C. C. A text-book of commercial geography.
(New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1911. Pp. xvi, 508, illustrations, plates, maps. $1.30.) BARRETT, J. The Pan-American union; peace, friendship, commerce. (Washington: Pan-American Union. 1911. Pp. 253. $1.00.)
Information in regard to population, area and commerce of the Latin-American republics.
BELL, (Lady). At the works: A study of a manufacturing town. (London: Nelson. 1911. Pp. 376. 1s.)
BRIGHAM, A. P. Commercial geography. (Boston: Ginn & Co. 1911. Pp. xv, 469, illustrations, maps. $1.30.)
BROEMEL, M. Italiens national Erhebung und seine wirtschaftliche Entwicklung 1861-1911. No. 259 of Volkswirtschaftliche Zeitfragen. (Published by the Volkswirtschaftliche Gesellschaft of Berlin.) (Berlin: L. Simon Nf. 1911. Pp. 31. 1 m.)
ECHEVERRIA, V. The economic resources of Chile. (London: Chamber of Commerce Pamphlet Series. No. 78. Pp. 28. 1d.) GROTHE, H. Zur Natur und Wirtschaft von Voderasien. I. Persien. Series III, No. 2 of Angewandte Geographie. (Frankfurt: Heinrich Keller. 1911. Pp. vii, 132. 4 m)
HAYEN, J. Memoires et documents pour servir à l'histoire du commerce et de l'industrie en France. Preface by M. Paul Delombre. (Paris: Hachette et Cie. 1911. Pp. xii, 253. 7.50 fr.) HERTZ, F. Die Schwierigkeiten der industriellen Produktion in Osterreich. (Vienna: W. Braumüller. 1910. Pp. 102. 2 m.)