Sheilagh Ogilvie is professor of economic history at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of the British Academy. Her books include Institutions and European Trade and A Bitter Living.
Ogilvie's astounding and readable book demolishes the idea--as old as nineteenth-century German historical scholarship but revived recently as a blackboard possibility--that monopoly privilege is good for us. She presents the hypothesis fairly and with political and historical subtlety. And then she crushes it--overwhelmingly, definitively, scientifically--as the guild idea was once crushed by liberalism. Illiberalism has revived monopoly. Historical science raises the alarm. --Deirdre N. McCloskey, University of Illinois at Chicago This book is a powerful counterblast against the views of historians who emphasize the efficiency or social, political, and cultural virtues of guilds. Ogilvie's lucid arguments are based on a wide reading of the literature on guilds in almost every part of Europe, making this book an extremely important contribution to the debate on craft guilds as well as the debates about economic institutions in general. --Karel Davids, Vrije University Amsterdam In The European Guilds, Ogilvie displays her characteristically trenchant analytical skills and vast repository of knowledge. The result is a tightly and richly documented rebuttal to the view that European craft guilds were a positive force in economic development before the Industrial Revolution. This superb and provocative book will generate controversy and have a wide impact on vibrant debates in economic history. --Francesca Trivellato, Institute for Advanced Study