Marketable ValuesInventing the Property Market in Modern Britain

Marketable ValuesInventing the Property Market in Modern Britain

Desmond Fitz-Gibbon

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780226584164

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Marketable Values: Inventing the Property Market in Modern Britain examines how Britons organized and conceptualized the property market from the late-eighteenth to early-twentieth centuries. It argues that while land and houses had been bought and sold for quite some time, the social and cultural conditions of exchange changed dramatically in this period, resulting in novel institutions and practices that gave new meaning to the property market as a whole. For the first time, new professions, places, forms of print culture, and government authorities made it possible to speak of the property market in the abstract and to represent the commoditization of real estate as a normal aspect of everyday economic life. The difficulty in thinking about land as a mere commodity never disappeared--indeed, it remains a problem today. To the contrary, the need to address the problem of property's marketable status was often used to rationalize further reform of commercial practice. At once a history of business and of culture, this book offers a new perspective on the meaning of land and commercial culture in modern life.