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Origins of modern economic system: England or Holland

Origins of modern economic system: England or Holland

Journal of Institutional studies, , Vol. 7 (no. 3),

This paper, following the approach of the Dutch scholars de Vries and vab der Woude, claims that the Netherlands, rather than England (as it is generally assumed), were the first country, which performed the transition from the traditional society to modern one. Identification of criteria distinguishing traditional and modern societies follows the works of W. Rostow, S. Kuznets and other authors who studied the issue. In order to prove the thesis, author compares urbanization level in Holland and in England, as well as degree of commercialization of those economies, and considers the process of commercial and productive specialization in the United Provinces. Besides that, the formation of modern-type institutional system in Holland is analyzed: the genesis of the markets of factors of production, development of monetary and credit systems and of institutional and technological basis of the industry, strengthening of competitive forces in the economy. Land ownership structure in Holland is considered and its role in genesis of the markets of factors of production. Attention is paid to technological basis of the industry, examined is the impact of immigration. It concludes that the Netherlands were the first country where modern economic growth, as defined by S. Kuznets, started. It was Holland where for the first time the markets of factors of production were formed and, what is particularly important, the industry began to operate on a competitive basis.


Keywords: economic history of the Netherlands; traditional society; the formation of the factors of production; world trade; competition; modern economic growth.

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