Are infidel merchants reliable? Some notes on spaces, institutions and commercial ethics in the Early-Modern Mediterranean
According to some widespread images, the Mediterranean of the early modern age is either a sea progressively emarginated by the ‘Nordics’, bearers of practices, ethics and institutions conducive to modernity and market economy; or the repository of a superior civilization not contaminated by a destructive modernity. On the basis of the recent specialized historiography, the essay focus on the variety of circuits, social and political actors, institutions and ethics that sustain the Mediterranean traffics, and produce forms of spaces unorthodox but endowed of specific and effective rationalities. For this very reasons, the exercise, often proposed in today’s public arenas, of extracting from these rationalities lessons useful for the present and the future appears highly problematic.