Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series
Edited by Ugo Mattei and John D. Haskell
Chapter 12: Less markets: a critical analysis of market existence and functioning
No subject can be well structured and organized without a thorough critical study of its assumptions and limitations. It is exactly this critical study of assumptions and limitations that always seems to have been left out of the branches of law dealing with the organization and discipline of private economic activity. Any critical study of this topic must therefore come from an analysis of the assumptions that have been used as a fundamental basis of study in recent times: the existence of markets. Since its modern origins, commercial law has been dedicated to the organization of markets. Leaving aside antiquity, there is no doubt that one of the most creative and structured periods in commercial law was the Middle Ages. It was precisely then when the issue of strengthening markets arose. As elaborated by commentators such as Bartolo and Baldo, negotiable instruments were fundamental to the surge in trade in the Middle Ages. Basically a negotiable instrument is nothing more than a way to build trust and provide assurance for business transactions (ie, to allow the formation of an incipient market). And this is what was done very effectively in the Middle Ages through medieval fairs. The markets there were driven mainly by the trust created through negotiable instruments.
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