Book Reviews

31 agosto, 2008

199) Nas origens da cliometria

John S. Lyons, Louis P. Cain and Samuel H. Williamson, editors:
Reflections on the Cliometrics Revolution: Conversations with Economic Historians
New York: Routledge, 2008. xiv + 491 pp. $160 (hardback), ISBN: 978-0-415-70091-7.

Reviewed for EH.NET by Michael Haupert, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.

A better set of editors could not have been selected for the assemblage of this volume. John Lyons, Lou Cain and Sam Williamson certainly know the story of cliometrics. All three have extensive experience in the running of the Cliometric Society and deep roots in the annual conferences. Williamson was the original executive director of the society, PI for the NSF grant, and editor of the association’s newsletter; Cain and Lyons were associate editors for the newsletter during Williamson’s term; and Williamson and Cain were among the earliest attendees at the annual Clio meetings, then known as the Conference on the Application of Economic Theory and Quantitative Methods, held on the Purdue University campus.

There is little new here, with the bulk of the text consisting of reprints of the ever popular newsletter interviews. Having said that, there is little else with which to find fault in this effort. The hefty price tag will unfortunately deter many potential buyers, but the volume does pull together a nice selection of the interviews along with a well researched history of the cliometrics revolution and economic history in general. All in all the value added by the editors to the interviews is considerable.

The bibliography alone, stretching nearly forty pages, makes this book a worthy addition to any economic historian’s library. It is a reference of every fundamental building block of economic history and every serious study of the role, evolution, and critical review of the discipline of economics from a historical perspective.

The interviews themselves have little new material, but pulling them all together is a valuable contribution. They are not merely the first several published in the newsletter. Rather, they represent a carefully selected collection, logically organized to help tell the story of the “new economic history” revolution that changed the face of the discipline and spawned a generation of cliometricians.

The interviews are not all reproduced verbatim. Some have been updated with recent additions by the subjects. However, these are few in number and for the most part update the reader on what he or she probably already knew: the recent research interests of the subjects.

After a concise but thorough history of the discipline of economic history, the interviews are organized into chapters that detail the revolution that became cliometrics. The editors start with a recognition of the preconditions for the new economic history. In “Before the New Economic History: North America” and its companion chapter for Great Britain, we meet the forefathers in interviews with the likes of Walt Rostow, Moses Abramovitz and Phyllis Deane. These are followed with a chapter focusing on the acknowledged elders of cliometrics, Douglass North and William Parker. There are separate chapters of interviews focusing on the cradle of clio at Purdue (Lance Davis, Jonathan Hughes and Nate Rosenberg), as well as the workshops of two of the most heralded economic historians, Simon Kuznets and Alexander Gerschenkron. Finally, there is a chapter focusing on noted expatriates R.M. Hartwell, Eric Jones and Charles Feinstein. Each of these chapters of interviews is preceded by an introductory chapter that sets the interviewees’ contributions to economic history, and the cliometric revolution in particular, in context. Patrick K. O’Brien then provides a critical but fair appraisal of the achievements and shortcomings of cliometrics to round off the story.

When it is all added together, we have a book that, while mostly reprinted material from the Newsletter of the Cliometric Society, still makes a worthwhile contribution. The bringing together and organizing of the interviews in a logical order is of itself a value, especially to younger scholars looking to get a sense of the history of the discipline, or more seasoned economic historians looking to refresh their memories. The most important contribution made by _Reflections on the Cliometrics Revolution_ is the perspective it provides on the discipline from the viewpoints of some of its major contributors.

Lyons, Cain and Williamson are to be commended for their efforts. The organization and compilation of this material has brought together for the first time the necessary ingredients for telling the story of the growth of our discipline. If you haven’t spent time meeting your intellectual ancestors, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Mike Haupert (University of Wisconsin–La Crosse) was editor of the Newsletter of the Cliometric Society from 2000-08 and recently succeeded Lee Craig as the Executive Director of the Cliometric Society.

Copyright (c) 2008 by EH.Net. All rights reserved. This work may be copied for non-profit educational uses if proper credit is given to the author and the list. For other permission, please contact the EH.Net Administrator (; Telephone: 513-529-2229). Published by EH.Net (August 2008). All EH.Net reviews are archived at

19 agosto, 2008

198) Comercio internacional no longo prazo

Ronald Findlay and Kevin H. O’Rourke:
Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. xxvi + 619 pp.
$39.50 (cloth), ISBN: 978-0-691-11854-3.

Reviewed for EH.NET by Sevket Pamuk, London School of Economics and Bogaziçi-Bosphorus University.

Ronald Findlay of Columbia University and Kevin H. O’Rourke of Trinity College, Dublin have written a magisterial account of the history of international trade during the last millennium. They provide a theoretically coherent account of the interaction between the patterns and evolution of inter-regional trade, on the one hand, and long-term global economic and political developments, on the other. The two way interaction between power and plenty as formulated by Jacob Viner but going back much earlier in its origins, constitutes the analytical backbone of the volume. Findlay and O’Rourke argue convincingly that no history of international trade can ignore conflict, use of force, military exploits, and in turn, geopolitics. They draw upon a large volume of secondary historical and political literature as well as economic theory and succeed in integrating a vast amount of detail as well as their own research into their conceptual framework.

A large part of the exposition and analysis of the major developments in international trade proceeds in terms of the interaction between the seven regions of Eurasia as defined by the authors and the contributions arising from these interactions, in terms of the movements of people, crops, ideas, and techniques as well as commodities. A good deal of emphasis is placed on the importance of geography in explaining the interactions between the seven regions with very different physical features and endowments. This skillfully written volume is a work of extraordinary scope, a major achievement.

For the first half of the millennium, the authors should be commended for focusing on two key events, the Pax Mongolica and the Black Death, both of which involved most, if not all, of the seven regions. The unification of the central Eurasian landmass by the Mongols in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries facilitated the interaction of Western Europe and different regions of Asia from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Mongols encouraged trade and made the routes across Eurasia safer and busier. Arguably, this was the first episode of globalization in history. Moreover, it was the disintegration of the Pax Mongolica and the shift of the trade to the southern routes across the Indian Ocean and the Middle East that led to the search for alternative ways of reaching Asia by western Europeans. As the authors point out, the ultimate legacy of the Pax Mongolica was not, perhaps, the increase in the interaction between Europe and Asia but the mutual discovery of Europeans and native Americans.

The Black Death, which originated in Mongol-controlled Asia but ended up in the Middle East and Europe, brought about far-reaching consequences for these regions. The sharp decline in the population led to an even sharper rise in wages. This high-wage environment, which lasted for at least two centuries, brought about very different demographic, economic, social and other responses not only between Europe and Asia but also within Europe, between the northwest and the south. As the authors make clear, the long-term consequences of the Black Death have not been fully analyzed and deserve more attention from economic historians.

For the second half of the millennium the focus of the volume is on the rise of an international economy and its contribution to the Industrial Revolution. The authors see the Industrial Revolution as the culmination of a long historical process involving the interaction of all the world’s regions through trade and transfer of technology. Findlay and O’Rourke emphasize that any account of the “Rise of the West” that focuses purely on domestic developments -- such as western institutions, cultural attributes or endowments and ignores the vast web of interrelationships between Western Europe and the rest of the world -- is hopelessly inadequate. They argue that the Industrial Revolution needs to be understood as the outcome of a historical process with multiple causes going back to the medieval era in which international movements of commodities, warriors, microbes and technologies all played important roles. They also make clear that the Industrial Revolution not only transfor
med the international trading system but also gave rise to huge disparities around the globe as the spread of industrialization has been very uneven in the two centuries since.

Plunder or primitive accumulation may not have fueled the Industrial Revolution directly, but the authors emphasize that by expanding markets and ensuring the supply of raw materials, mercantilism and imperialism were an important part of the story. Violence did matter and often shaped the environment in which this exceptional event took place. The authors acknowledge that Asians and those from other regions of the world were not passive actors. They also ask two key questions with regard to the Industrial Revolution: why Britain and why Europe? The answers to both include not only the domestic factors but also control of long distance trade, overseas markets and raw materials. They emphasize in many parts of the text the key role played by the British navy in a world in which nations systematically excluded their enemies from protected markets.

The remaining chapters of the book are devoted to the analysis of the unprecedented expansion of international trade during the last two centuries, based on the “Great Specialization” (manufactures vs. agriculture) that emerged in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution and remained in place until recently. The ratio of world trade to GDP is sharply higher today than it was two centuries ago, but this rise has not been continuous. The powerful trend for globalization during the nineteenth century was followed by the collapse of world trade or deglobalization after 1914 and a more or less steady expansion of trade once more or reglobalization since the end of World War II.

One theme that is conspicuously absent in this volume is institutions -- which have occupied center stage not only in the economic history literature but also in economic theory in recent years -- and their impact on trade and economic development. While the authors emphasize the importance of international trade for the “Rise of the West,” they could have focused more explicitly on the linkages between international trade and institutional change. One can think of at least two major channels through which long distance trade facilitated institutional change in Europe. During the period before 1000 and even until 1500, trade with other regions allowed Europe to learn about and then adapt some commercial, monetary and financial institutions. The transmission of the Islamic institution of business partnership or the _mudaraba_ to the north of the Mediterranean in the form of the _commenda_ is an important example of such borrowing and adaptation. These exchanges were very impor
tant for the development of western European institutions and the authors mention some of them. In the early modern era (that is after 1500) trade with other regions of the world led to institutional change in Europe through another mechanism. By giving greater power to merchants, long distance trade enabled them to shape the institutions in early modern Europe more forcefully in the direction of capitalism, as Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson have recently emphasized. Arguably, greater political as well as economic power for merchants is an important characteristic that sets Europe apart from the other regions. It also provides another dimension to Viner’s power and plenty couple which is at the analytical center, as well as the title, of this book.

This is a well researched volume which is simply delightful to read. In most of the topics about which I have some knowledge, I found the analyses and the judgments offered by the authors both balanced and insightful. I expect this book will remain the standard text for many years to come.

Sevket Pamuk teaches economic history and political economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Bogaziçi-Bosphorus University, Istanbul. His recent publications include _A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire_ (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and “The Black Death and the Origins of the Great Divergence inside Europe, 1300-1600,” _European Review of Economic History_, 2007.

Copyright (c) 2008 by EH.Net. All rights reserved. This work may be copied for non-profit educational uses if proper credit is given to the author and the list. For other permission, please contact the EH.Net Administrator (; Telephone: 513-529-2229). Published by EH.Net (August 2008). All EH.Net reviews are archived at

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04 agosto, 2008

197) O Pacto de Varsovia: quem se lembra?

Resenha de livro, neste link.

A Cardboard Castle?: An inside history of the Warsaw Pact
Vojtech Mastny e Malcolm Byrne

Por Flávio Augusto Lira Nascimento, 16/7/2008

Publicado em 2005 por Vojtech Mastny e Malcolm Byrne, “A Cardboard Castle? An inside history of the Warsaw Pact” é uma obra que se destaca por sua ousadia e bom planejamento ao fornecer ao leitor uma alta gama de materiais de boa qualidade. Publicado pela Central European University Press, a proposta do livro é levar ao público documentos dos arquivos de países-membros do Pacto de Varsóvia durante a Guerra Fria. Apesar de os arquivos de Moscou seguirem fechados à consulta pública até hoje, a utilização das atas e documentos de reuniões do Pacto presentes nos arquivos oficiais de seus ex-satélites dá um grande panorama da funcionalidade do bloco.

A Guerra Fria é vista como um momento singular na história, pois foi um período durante o qual duas superpotências, Estados Unidos e União Soviética, foram capazes, pela primeira vez na história, de se enfrentarem com um risco de aniquilação total. Durante a Guerra Fria, que se iniciou durante a década de 1940 e perdurou por mais de quatro décadas, a oposição ideológica entre Moscou e Washington levou à criação de blocos que representavam essa divisão, em especial em solo europeu. A Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte (OTAN) foi criada em 1949 e o Pacto de Varsóvia, em 1955, constituído por União Soviética, Bulgária, Romênia, Albânia (até 1968), Polônia, Hungria, Tchecoslováquia e Alemanha Oriental.

Para além da unidade que se percebia em relação ao bloco controlado por Moscou, os autores surpreendem ao mostrar, por meio de documentos, as dinâmicas internas que faziam com que as suas políticas não fossem tão monolíticas assim, ainda em se tratando dos governos aliados a Moscou. A análise pré-documental do livro pode ser vista em duas partes.

Primeiramente, e talvez mais ostensivamente, mostra-se as ações do Pacto de Varsóvia como contraponto às ações da OTAN. Os autores apresentam o desejo soviético, em especial durante a era de Krushov (1953-1964), de que se desmantelasse a OTAN antes mesmo da criação do bloco do leste. Isto não ocorreria e ainda após a criação do Pacto era claro o desejo, por parte de Moscou, de que ambos os grupamentos fossem desfeitos. Porém, a aposta de Moscou na desunião dos aliados atlânticos não era verificável. Conquanto a OTAN enfrentasse crises, como a retirada das forças francesas do comando militar da aliança em 1959 e os desentendimentos entre Grécia e Turquia sobre a questão cipriota em 1974, sua unidade ideológica, preponderantemente pautada em sua oposição à expansão da área de influência soviética, manteve-os unidos.

Em segundo lugar, apresentam-se as pressões sociais que levaram o Pacto de Varsóvia a ter uma dinâmica tão diferente da OTAN. A constante insatisfação das populações dos países-membros levavam a inquietudes como as observadas na Hungria (1956) e na Tchecoslováquia (1968), as quais foram suprimidas por forças do Pacto. Intervenções de países-membros do bloco em outros países-membros não condiziam com o próprio Tratado fundador do Pacto, e as desculpas utilizadas por Moscou para a intervenção são tão interessantes quanto os documentos dos países a serem invadidos clamando pela não-intervenção. A contraposição de documentos é outro caráter interessante da obra, que os dispõe de forma cronológica.

Quanto aos documentos traduzidos para o inglês, eles não apenas se referem a atas de reuniões ou descrições de operações militares do Pacto, mas também às interações entre centro e satélites. Durante a crise húngara, Imre Nagy foi rápido ao enviar suas condições de que não se contraporia a Moscou, apesar de desejar se retirar do bloco. O mesmo com os acontecimentos de Praga em 1968. A obra expõe tais documentos cronologicamente, mas também de uma maneira causal, para que se entenda, a partir de cada um deles, no que resultou cada ação descrita. Os comentários e visões dos autores, focados nas tentativas perenes de Moscou de salvaguardar sua preponderância, são percebidos, mormente, na introdução histórica do livro, sendo que as intervenções nos documentos são feitas por notas de rodapé, mais ou menos discretas.

O ineditismo de um livro que compila os documentos mais relevantes para a compreensão do bloco do leste na Guerra Fria faz com que entendamos mais a fundo o comportamento político-militar dos países leste-europeus: desde a teimosia da Romênia de Ceauşescu, que fazia de suas desobrigações um mantra para divergir de Moscou, até o comportamento oportunista da Alemanha Oriental ao defender o bloco sempre que possível, disputando com a Polônia a preferência de Moscou. Isto mostra a falácia em se afirmar um comportamento comum do bloco; se este existia, era porque as decisões de Moscou eram sempre de última instância. As discrepâncias entre seus países-membros sempre foram presentes.

O ponto fraco do livro, contudo, é a grafia. Erros de digitação e de inglês não são poucos, e isto compromete, em alguma medida, a confiabilidade do material. Em se tratando de documentos, isto traz um risco a leitores que não podem pesquisá-los em suas línguas originais. Estudantes do tema que não têm domínio dos idiomas da Europa do Leste encontram apenas neste livro, atualmente, a oportunidade de entrar em contato com tais fontes. Sendo esta a primeira edição, porém, espera-se que tais problemas sejam sanados futuramente.

Um ponto negativo talvez de maior impacto, mas que foge às possibilidades dos editores, são os arquivos de Moscou. Embora as decisões dos blocos resultassem em documentos que seriam guardados pelos governos de cada país-membro, é intrigante pensar que havia uma absoluta distribuição de material entre os membros. A relutância de Moscou em abrir seus arquivos ao público pode ser uma prova disso, e resta a dúvida se bases relevantes ainda se encontram a sete chaves.

Os autores apóiam, pela leitura que se faz, a existência da OTAN e a utilização da história do Pacto de Varsóvia como um estudo de um caso mal-sucedido. Pretende-se que a derrocada do bloco de defesa do leste, juntamente com a União Soviética em fins da década de 1980 e início da década de 1990, sirva de alerta para que a OTAN seja a mais inclusiva e participativa possível, apesar da preponderância dos Estados Unidos.

Vojtech Mastny é membro-sênior do National Security Archive, coordenando o “Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact” (PHP), que busca uma nova visão acerca dos dois blocos antagônicos durante a Guerra Fria. Entre sua extensa bibliografia, destacam-se “War Plans and Alliances in the Cold War: Threat Perceptions in the East and West” (CSS Studies in Security and International Relations, 2006), “The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years” (Oxford University Press,1998) e “The Helsinki Process and the Reintegration of Europe: Analysis and Documentation” (New York University Press, 1992). “A Cardboard Castle?” é uma boa seqüência para um autor que fez dos estudos de segurança européia sua razão acadêmica.

Malcolm Byrne é diretor de pesquisa também do National Security Archive, no qual coordena acadêmicos russos e leste-europeus em pesquisas documentais. É autor de “The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents” (CEU Press, 2003), “From Solidarity to Martial Law: The Polish Crisis of 1980-1981: a Documentary History” (id., 2008).

A união de dois autores com forte experiência acadêmica na área de estudos de segurança leste-européia é bem-sucedida ao irradiar uma nova luz sobre as empoeiradas visões que se tem da Guerra Fria e de seus atores. Fugindo da clássica e enviesada análise que faz de Moscou o único centro pensante no bloco comunista, percebe-se uma fluidez que, embora não se refletisse em políticas efetivas de defesa (as quais eram sempre únicas), delineava diversas decisões tomadas por Moscou e, como corolário, pelo bloco. Uma leitura altamente recomendada a todos que seguem a história da Europa Oriental, seus problemas de defesa e segurança antigos e atuais, suas relações com a Rússia e, como contraponto, o atual afã de muitos ex-membros do Pacto de Varsóvia que têm entrado para a OTAN.

Flávio Augusto Lira Nascimento, bolsista da CAPES, é mestrando do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Relações Internacionais San Tiago Dantas (Unesp/Unicamp/Puc-SP). E-mail.


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