Monopolies, Traders, Kings, and Cities
This chapter examines the establishment of monopolies or monopoly-like arrangements by states and private economic actors in the Hellenistic period. It is organized as follows. Section 2 looks briefly at definitions of ‘monopoly’ in modern economic literature. Section 3 consists of two parts. The first outlines nineteenth-century debates about the issue of free trade versus monopolies. The second part discusses some of the known Hellenistic monopolies outside Egypt to determine their most important features and their place in economic life. Section 4 argues that tax-exemption was a monopoly-like measure. Section 5 shows that cities forged partnerships with individuals with a view to establishing monopolies. Run as private businesses, some of these monopolies succeeded in breaking the king's own monopoly.
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