Commercial Capitalism and Global History
Jairus Banaji’s A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism recenters the concept of «commercial capitalism» as a key heuristic to understand the operation of capital in the long period preceding the advent of industrial capitalism. Banaji’s breathtaking sampling of case studies spanning the whole globe and over a millennium raises fundamental issues as to the present state of the debates on the formation of a world economy, the origins of capitalism, transitions to modernity, and economic «divergences». The papers collected in this Forum address, challenge, and expand Banaji’s theoretical and historical arguments, each contributor critically engaging with A Brief History’s methodology, questions, and conclusions from the vantage point of their own field and specialist expertise.
Keywords: Capitalism; Global History; Merchants; Labor