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A true breakthrough in Polish economic historiography was the work of Witold Kula An Economic Theory of the Feudal System: Towards a Model of the Polish Economy, 1500-1800 (Kula 1962, in English 1976) which drew inspiration from the Annales School. It is an idiosyncratic synthesis of serial history and Marxist theory enriched by Kula with his own perspective on the behaviour of economic participants. Kula examined structural changes and fluctuations within the boom-bust cycle in combination with emphasis on the contradictions of feudal system. He pointed to different starting institutional and social conditions of feudalism as against capitalism (the absence of free market and competition, the existence of non-market phenomena like serfdom and guilds), which forced economic participants to markedly different behaviour from that based on profit maximization and cost minimization. The peasant has used the market in fact only because he received money for amortization of his obligations towards manorial lords. His ‘income’ therefore did not preferentially depend on market conditions but on crop conditions. That is the reason for the specific logic of behaviour that reacts to price fluctuations in the market in a manner completely contrary to that which modern economics would assume: the peasant sells less during price growth and sells more during price decline. So the key factor in the peasant’s decision is not the situation of the market itself but the necessity to provide sufficient cash for repayment of his obligations. Likewise, the economic behaviour of manorial lords did not follow the market but rather the maintenance of their own standard of living and social status (the ‘negative market stimulation’). While a period of price growth in capitalism stimulates economic activities and mobilizes reserves, in feudalism it is, on the contrary, the decline of‘national income’, mostly caused by non-economic factors (poor harvest, war) which functions as needed stimulation of economic activity.
Within the dynamic of the long-term (longue durée), Kula pointed out tendencies in the Polish economy which differ from the countries of early modern Europe. First of all, it is noteworthy that the improving conditions for foreign trade (particularly for corn export) did not affect the total structure of production and consumption in any clear way, no matter how they managed to generate considerable profits for manorial lords. The reason was the general orientation of the Polish aristocratic dominion, which was not focused outwardly on foreign markets but inwardly on the peasant, his unpaid work and the surplus from which it benefited. Moreover, this tendency to form isolated and autarchic dominions was accompanied by a specific economic strategy of owners which was supposed to provide that not only potential expenses but also peasant’s potential monetary surpluses got back into the treasury of manorial lords. This way a specific form of closed monetary circle formed which Kula suitably describes as the economic per-petuum mobile.
Besides Kula’s monograph on the feudal economic model, the theoretical works of Polish historians examined the roots of the economic growth of East-Central Europe during the late Middle Ages (Malowist 1973a) and the origins of capitalism in Europe (Topolski 1965). Likewise, Malowist made an attempt to compare the social-economic structures between East and West in the 13th—16th centuries, placing emphasis on uneven economic development in the different regions of Europe (Malowist 1973b, in English 2010a, 2010b), he dealt with merchant credit (Malowist 1981) and with the circulation of capital in East-Central Europe (Malowist 1985). The role of money in Poland has been studied by Mqczak (1976) and Zabinski (1981) who presented a synthesis of the accounting and monetary systems with an economic analysis of the changes they underwent.
The link between economy and reformation was recently studied by Guzowski and Liedke (Guzowski 2010; Liedke& Guzowski 2017) who follow the older works of Bogucka (1972) and Lesinski (1976). The fiscal system in late medieval and early modern Poland was a subject of interest of several Polish historians (Brzeczkowski 1981; Horn 1985, 1986; Sepial 1998; Filipczak-Kocur 1999; Guzowski 2006; Mikulski 2008). Different strategies of fighting financial crisis in Poland have been recently analysed by Boroda and Guzowski in their common work (2016).
Following the fundamental monograph of Gilomen (1984), Polish historians paid intensive attention to rents, annuity sales, and credit in the towns of the southern Baltic coast: Gdansk (Samsonowicz 1961,1964,1969; Bogucka 1972; Mozejko 2004; Grulkowski 2009; Ortowska 2020), Elblqg (Czaja 1987; Girsztowt 2013), Torun (Czaja 1988; Mycio 1999), comparative study for Greifswald, Gdansk, Elblqg, Torun, Rewel (Kardasz 2013), as well as in Prussia (Janosz-Biskupowa 1958; Samsonowicz 1960; Dygo 1988, 2003), in Warsaw (Eozowski 2016) and Sieradz (Eydkowska-Sowina 1989) and in Silesian Wroclaw (Golinski 2006) and Swidnica (Goliriski 2003). Besides that, Samsonowicz (1991, 1994) is the author of generally designed studies about the role of credit in the economic life of medieval
Poland; Mysliwski (2008) dealt with the changeover to a tax system. From the comparison of these works, it is evident how much the developed Baltic region differed from the Polish inland lagging behind.
Capital importance for consideration of the various forms of credit in Central Europe have, among others, the works of Markus Denzel, focused on payment operations (Denzel 1994) and the system of cashless payment in Europe, including East European peripheries (Denzel 2008), two volumes Kredit im spätmittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Europa and Von Aktie bis Zoll edited by Michael North (1991, 1995), as well as the Banchi pubblici, banchi privati e monti di pietä nell' Europa preindustriale (Banchi 1991) with several contributions relating to the Holy Roman Empire. Just the study of credit became an exemplary theme of the economic anthropology, the intension of which is to clarify the cultural importance of economic practices (Muldrew 1998).
The management of merchant books and registers have been thoroughly analysed in the collection Kaufmannsbücher und Eiandelspraktiken vom Spätmittelalter bis zum beginnenden 20. Jahrhundert (Denzel, Hocquet & Witthöft 2002) in which Denzel presents trade practices of the Fugger family within the network connecting, among others, Naples with Cracow, Amsterdam with Wroclaw and Augsburg with Buda. Central European trade centres and their ties to the West and South are captured in the Netzwerke im europäischen Handel des Mittelalters (Fouquet & Gilomen 2010). From the Central European perspective, numerous works of Wolfgang von Stromer on finance still keep special importance (Stromer 1970, 1976, 1982). The role of Italian merchants in Central Europe was thoroughly analysed by Weissen (2001,2003,2006).
In Czech historiography, theoretical and legislative fundamentals for the study of credit relations have been elaborated by Urfus (1959, 1975) who focused on the types of credit practices, usury and the changing amounts of interest. Bunatovä (2018) and Vorel (2009, 2014) paid attention to the problems of financial and commodity credit, money changing and the trade practice of early modern merchants, presenting them in the broader European context. Besides that, Bunatovä (2010, 2011a, 2011b, 2016) wrote extensively about the trade and financial activities of Prague Jews. The Jewish credit in Moravia was studied by Blechovä (2015) and Zaoral (2015). Jaroslav Mezm'k paid special attention to annuity owners in Prague (1972) and in Brno (1960). He is also the author of important studies on the economic character of Prague (1969,1990) and on money circulation in the Czech lands (1993, 1994). The role of credit in Moravian towns Brno and Olomouc has been presented by Zaoral (2014). The financial economy of the towns Ceske Budejovice and Brno is a subject of the studies by Cechura (1993, 1998), who also examined the financial administration of monasteries (Cechura 1994) and of the royal court (Cechura 2012).
Accounting management and accounting systems used in the Czech lands are a subject of research carried out systematically by Pavla Slavickova (2014, 2017, see also Slavickova & Puchinger 2016). Various aspects of financing and credit granting in different social milieus (medieval court funding, town accounts, ledgers and customs registers, cathedral and metropolitan chapter accounts) were dealt in the collective monograph Money and Finance in Central Europe during the Later Middle Ages (Zaoral 2016). A special volume was devoted to financial conditions in Moravia between the 1350s and the early 17th century (Borovsky, Chocholac & Pumpr 2007).
Credit in the aristocratic entrepreneurship has been examined by Ledvinka (1985), Buzek (1989), and Sterneck (2004). Vorel (1998) investigated the role of credit in the financial transactions of Bohemian and Moravian nobility during the journeys abroad. In his later studies, Vorel documented that pressure put on the systemic reduction of the interest rate cannot be fully explained by the influence of German reformation. He argues that it was a more general problem, related to the credit policy of European powers and interwoven with the international banking market (Vorel 2002, 2006). With the creditors of George of Podebrady, King of Bohemia, dealt Boubh'k (2007,2011). Special attention was also paid to the financing of wars against the Hussites (Polivka 1993, 2004). The financial issues of the Prague metropolitan chapter were thoroughly studied by Mafikova (2018). Analysing account registers from 1358-1418, Mafikova proved that the volume of loans was in comparison with other incomes of the chapter fully negligible.
The first attempts to look into the financial management of subjects appeared in Czech historiography in connection with the study of prices and wages in the 1960s. The widely designed research of the experts from Prague and Brno brought a number of stimulating ideas but the more detailed research of this question was not realized at that time. Besides the classic book published by Prochazka (1963), based on the study of land registers and dealing with subject finance in the context of holding tenant farms and the legal status of subjects in property matters, one of the most important contributions represents a study written by Mainusova (1965). Another important work with the analysis of money and corn debts at the Roudnice manor in the 18th century has been published by Kfivka (1986). Research of the property and financial aspects of tenant farms in the 16th and 17th centuries continued then in the works of Chocholac (1989, 1990, 1999, 2001), Holakovsky (1993) and Odehnal (2000, 2011, 2013).
In Hungarian historiography a heated response was provoked by a paper of Oszkar Paulinyi published in 1972. Its controversial subtitle Gazdag fold -szegeny orszag (Rich Land - Poor Country) constantly recurs in debates on this subject and became the title for a collection of Paulinyi's studies on mining history (Paulinyi 2005). Paulinyi drew on the most-cited source of medieval Hungarian foreign trade, the 1457-58 Pressburg thirtieth register, to determine that Hungarian foreign trade ran a deep deficit which could only be settled by the trade in money stemming from precious metal mining and minting the gold florin. His thesis inspired many other Hungarian historians, notably Mälyusz in his work about the export of Hungarian livestock to Bavaria (1986) and Kubinyi in the broader designed study (1992).
A milstone in the recent research represents the collective monograph The Economy of Medieval Hungary (Laszlovsky et al. 2018), which covers various aspects of economic life, including financial administration, urban and ecclesiastic economy and foreign business interests in late medieval Hungary.
Detailed attention to the system of financial and tax administration in Hungary under Matthias Corvinus and the Jagellonians was paid by Kubinyi (1958,2001). Recently, two scholars from Hungary (Neumann 2019) and the Czech Republic (Kozak 2019) analysed the register of incomes and expenses of the Buda court of Vladislaus Jagiellon dated back to 1494-95 and made its modern critical edition. Public finances, taxes, king's revenues as well as loans to the king were studied by numerous Hungarian historians: Mälyusz (1965), Hermann (1975), Fügedi (1980, 1982), Bak (1987), Engel (1994), Draskoczy (2001, 2014), Kenyeres (2012) and Toth (2016, 2018).
With the use of the 1427 Catasto, the credit activities of Italian bankers in Hungary were researched byTeke(1984) and Arany (2007,2014). Numerous studies on this topic come also from Prajda (2013, 2017). The financial administration of Hungarian mining towns was researched by Weisz (2017), as well as by Slovak historians (Stefänik 2013; Dvofakova 2016).