Author Archives: Francesca Trivellato

About Francesca Trivellato

Francesca Trivellato is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of History at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Her latest book is The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells us about the Making of European Commercial Society (Princeton, 2019). She is a co-founder and editor of Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

The Moral Economies of Early Modern Europe

Abstract: Scholars as diverse as E. P. Thompson and Thomas Piketty posit a clear break between pre-industrial, status-based economies and modern, contract-based capitalism. This essay revisits this standard account of the transition from feudalism to capitalism by focusing on a central and yet rarely discussed tenet of economic justice in early modern Europe: the need to balance individuals’ contractual freedom with the privileges assigned to different groups in any hierarchical society of status. In so doing, it reconstructs the pre-history of contemporary debates about the Continue reading → Continue reading →