Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cranston on Law through Practice: London and Liverpool Commodity Markets, 1820-1975

Ross Cranston, London School of Economics, has posted a new paper, Law Through Practice: London and Liverpool Commodity Markets C.1820-1975. Here's the abstract:
Although now forgotten, organized markets in commodities like grain, cotton, sugar, coffee and spices became firmly established in London and Liverpool in the nineteenth century. These markets were stimulated by the rising volume of international trade, as Britain became the first industrial nation, a major importer of these commodities and a centre for organising their distribution elsewhere, especially in Europe. The story of these markets, and the role of law in their operation, is fascinating in itself. However, it also enables us to test some ideas about markets against the reality of what were, for a time, some of the leading physical and futures markets in commodities in the world. The first part of this article outlines key features in the organisation and operation of these markets; the second part concentrates on the central, if uncelebrated, functions of clearing and settling transactions in these markets; and finally there is a discussion of market integrity and the role of law in curbing abuse.