Commerce and Place: markets in the English landscape, 1086-2000

Lawrenson, David (2023) Commerce and Place: markets in the English landscape, 1086-2000. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis examines the history of markets in England from the Domesday survey to the start of the twenty first century. The markets examined are those that were regularly held trading events at locations designated for the purposes of trade, locations usually known or understood as market places. These places and events are what have been identified as markets for most of history. It is shown that the history of these ‘real’ markets has been overlooked because economists overwhelmingly define markets in a way that includes almost any manifestation of buying and selling. Their definition of a market is a metaphor that covers up the history of real markets and obscures its implications.

To reveal this hidden history, a data set containing records for markets across the whole of England since 1086 was created. Some historians argue that medieval market charters are not evidence of a functioning market. Therefore the data set included data on place names, market crosses, market halls and coin finds. Analysis of this data showed that charters are associated with markets, and, that the era with the most markets was the medieval period. Since that period, markets have declined and been supplanted by the private forms of trading that economists identify as an expansion of ‘markets’. In reality, the decline of open markets contributed to the decline and dispossession of petty commodity producers, and the creation of a class of wage-earners. The significance of markets at the turn of this century was investigated in a series of interviews with business owners and senior managers. The economy then and now is not organised by markets but is dominated by large enterprises engaged in ‘relational’ trading which most economists and politicians continue to describe as a ‘market’ economy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: James Tweddle
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2024 15:32
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2024 15:32

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