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Dealing with Economic Failure

Between Norm and Practice (15th to 21st Century)

Edited By Albrecht Cordes and Margrit Schulte Beerbühl

Dealing with economic failure is one of the persistent and ubiquitous features of economic life. This volume brings together international scholars from several academic disciplines – economic and social history, legal history and law. They address a variety of different aspects on economic failure ranging from case studies on bankruptcy, insolvency, speculation, and strategies of coping with economic and financial squeezes. One focus throughout the book is on the in-betweens and the reciprocal impact of law and practice. The timeframe covers the period from the late middle ages to the present day. Irrespective of the temporal, spatial or cultural differences a slow and tedious evolution from a creditor-friendly to a more debtor-friendly perspective can be perceived. The chances for a fresh start have slightly improved.
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Mechthild Isenmann - Before Bankruptcy: Conflict Solution Strategies of Upper German Trading Companies in the Fifteenth and ‘Long’ Sixteenth Centuries

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Mechthild Isenmann

Before Bankruptcy: Conflict Solution Strategies of Upper German Trading Companies in the Fifteenth and ‘Long’ Sixteenth Centuries

Introduction

As an organisational form,1 family companies formed a central basic constant in the economic centres of Nuremberg and Augsburg in the Early Modern Era.2 The term ‘family’ is defined in a very broad, variable and dynamic way here, as a family recruited members from among its close or distant relatives, people related by marriage and, in some cases, those linked only by friendship, thus constantly changing, expanding and shrinking. In addition, the Upper German companies of such “relationship families”3 formed a “contract-based association of multiple persons for gainful economic employment”,4 whose identity was designed above all for longevity, continuity and trust5 and that were active in trading goods and credit with the help of flexible networks and clientele structures.6 ← 27 | 28 →

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