Hoarding, Speculation, and the Public Order of the Market in France, End of the Eighteenth Century–1914


Alessandro Stanziani is professor at the EHESS (Ecole de Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) and Senior Researcher at the CNRS (Centre National des Rercherches Scientifiques), Paris. He is the author of: L'économie en révolution, le cas russe, 1890–1930, Paris, Albin Michel, 519 pp. 1998; Histoire de la qualité alimentaire en France, XIXe-XXe siècle, Paris, Seuil, 2005; Rules of the Market. French Capitalism in Comparative Perspective, 18th-20th Century, Cambridge University Press, 2011. Inquiries regarding his research can be directed to alessandro.stanziani@ehess.fr. He would like to thank the anonymous referees for their suggestions and input on this article, as well as Amy Schlueter, the Editorial Coordinator at LSI, and Patty Lawson for her careful copyediting.


France regulated competition through the gradual development of jurisprudence rooted in Old Regime practices of speculation and hoarding. This article aims to understand the reasons for this institutional legacy in order to determine if and how these norms could be adapted to the new phenomena of industrial concentration as they appeared at the turn of the nineteenth century.

I argue that French regulation of futures trades and speculation are aimed to stabilize and enhance markets and not to limit them, and that continuities in market and capitalism regulation were much more important than usually held.