Disciplining Commerce without Corporations

The Law, the Judge, the Arbiter, and the Businessman in the 19th Century Paris
By Claire Lemercier

How to reconcile the freedom of business with the maintenance of a certain market order? Which authorities can discipline merchants and factory owners after the end of corporations? These questions were posed throughout the French nineteenth century, and particularly by official and unofficial institutions which arbitrated or judged economic disputes. Drawing on their own personal qualities, these judges constructed a new equilibrium in which formal and informal forms of authority complemented each other, and in which judicial decisions were balanced by wider attempts to construct a moral, communal order.

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