Biagio Salvemini

Trade without information. Apulian 'seamen' in the Adriatic sea (XVIII century)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


In the Adriatic sea of the XVIII century the Apulian "seamen", protagonists of the olive oil exports to Ferrara and Triest, excite the interests of intellectuals, reformers and administrators. They seem to accomplish the mercantilistic ideal of the "active commerce", in a kingdom afflicted by the "passive commerce" controlled by foreigners: they sail on their own ships, trade on their own account, invest their own capitals. The article shows how they use and demand a very limited amount of informations, how they make choices scarcely related to the available informations and exclude a wide range of opportunities; and, at the same time, how they manage to take advantage from their commerce inside their kinship and professional network. A final part of the article examine the role of the institutional framework in relation to this particular seamen's trade, underlining how the day-to-day practice of commerce involves an active and continuous process of negotiation with the authorities and their norms.

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