The Plow, the Hammer, and the Knout

An Economic History of Eighteenth-Century Russia

Arcadius Kahan

The Plow, the Hammer, and the Knout
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Arcadius Kahan

With the editorial assistance of Richard Hellie
407 pages | 8 1/2 x 11 | © 1985
Cloth $115.00 ISBN: 9780226422534 Published September 1985
In this extraordinary rich and subtle work, Arcadius Kahan analyzes a massive collection of documents which revise traditional interpretations of eighteenth-century Russian economic history. Kahan stresses economic rationality in the context of social constraints, offering the fullest and most convincing explanation yet of the economic foundations of Russia's power. He shows that what have been taken as major failings in the Russian economy were in fact resourceful and even ingenious methods of circumventing deeply rooted structural obstacles to change. Kahan also escapes two extremes that have bedeviled Russian historians since the nineteenth century: he avoids depicting the state as an autonomous structure that acted with impunity upon a passive society, and he refutes the notion of the state as a mere instrument for advancing selfish class interests.
Foreword, by Roger W. Weiss
Preface, by Richard Hellie
Introduction: Russia in the Eighteenth Century
1. The Record of Population Growth
2. Agriculture
3. Industry
4. Foreign Trade
5. Internal Trade
6. Transportation
7. Banking and Credit
8. The Fiscal System
9. The Political Order
Conclusion, by Richard Hellie
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