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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

Many economic historians have attached great importance to international trade of the early modern period; their work is sometimes in-line with the discourse and politics of the Habsburg princes, but more often it is based on modern trade theory. The debate about the possible merits and the precise impact of overseas trade for economic development is continued by contemporary historians, who variously inflate and minimize the possible influence of international trade. The controversy over trade and economic development began in the United Kingdom. The author believes that studying the differing impact of international trade on a number of representative and/or key economic sectors of the eighteenth-century economy of the region yields the best results. To date, attempts to calculate trade balances in the past are very scarce and for the eighteenth-century Austrian Netherlands it lack any concrete estimate.

Keywords: early modern period; economic development; eighteenth-century Austrian Netherlands; international trade

10.1163/9789004272606_002
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