Sunday, August 8, 2021

Emily Erikson's "Trade and Nation"

Emily Erikson is associate professor of sociology, professor in the School of Management by courtesy, and Joseph C. Fox Academic Director of the Fox International Fellowship at Yale University. She is the author of Between Monopoly and Free Trade: The English East India Company, 1600–1757.

Erikson applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Trade and Nation: How Companies and Politics Reshaped Economic Thought, and reported the following:
Page 99 of my book provides detailed historical evidence about the intended audience of the new economic literature of the seventeenth century. It presents quotes from John Locke, Daniel Defoe, Nicholas Barbon, Josiah Child, and a few other less celebrated authors to illustrate the intentions that motivated authors to write about economic matters in this century, which was generally to sway the opinion of prominent political elites and policy-makers on specific matters of trade policy. It is definitely a key piece of evidence and a pivotal moment in the book. In fact, it is the second page of the third chapter, in which I introduce the main argument and key actors. I think, however, that without a little bit more context, it might be difficult for a reader to understand why this particular evidence matters, since there is no discussion of the larger story of increasing corporate influence. The reader might also be a little misled about the type of analysis included in the book. Page 99 is qualitative evidence from the contents of the books. That kind of evidence plays an important role in the larger argument but is supplemented by quantitative evidence about how many books were written on different topics, what kind of topics occurred with what frequency in different books, and how those topics were interrelated in a network of emergent frameworks for understanding trade and commerce. You also miss the network of links between the authors, company leaders, merchants, and politicians that plays an important role in the emergence of this new way of thinking about economics.
Learn more about Trade and Nation at the Columbia University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Between Monopoly and Free Trade.

Follow Emily Erikson on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue