Forum Leader:
Jacob Soll, University of Southern California

Empire and the Origins of Capitalism


Jacob Soll, University of Southern California
Steve Pincus, University of Chicago

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Much work in the history of capitalism from a variety of perspectives takes as its starting point phenomena of the mid to late eighteenth century. This conference explores the earlier imperial roots and evolution of that history and follows them forward. From the Italian states and the Iberias to the Netherlands, England, France and beyond, we will discuss how private, state and hybrid imperial policies and companies laid the foundations of modern economies.

See the program for a full schedule.

University of Southern California
1002 West Childs Way, Los Angeles, CA
Michelson Center, MCB 101



“Budgeting India: The Making of a British Imperial State in South Asia”


“Private Trade Finance and Religion in the Catholic Environment”


“What was Potosí, Bolivia, worth in the mid-17th Century?”


“Money and the Origins of Capitalism”


“The Imperial Origins of Consumer Protection Law: The Case of Massachusetts Bay, 1692–1771”


“The Entangled Origins of Capitalism: Making Money between the English and Ottoman Empires”


“Conceptualizing Difference Before Universal Economic Laws”


“Failure as a Category of Study: Louis XIV and Entrepreneurial Imperialism in Persia and Siam”


“The Dutch Republic Comes to the Harz Mountains: Pieter Hartzing in Clausthal”


“The Epic Showdown between Two Political Economies that Shaped both Economics and Capitalism”

Image: James Gillray, Political Ravishment; or The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street in danger!, c. 1797.