The economic surge across Europe at the turn of the first millennium created new opportunities for long distance trade. Merchants thus had an incentive to take political action to lower the transaction costs associated with doing business. The overlapping taxes and incompatible monetary systems of the feudal system gave them reason to escape to territory where they could conduct their business without interference from feudal lords.Marten, Kiberly in “Warlordism in Comparative Perspective”. International Security, Vol. 31, No. 3: Winter 2006/2007; p. 60.
Merchants who were able to form or settle in self-regulating towns, where impersonal legal codes protected their property rights and set predictable tax rates, prospered. In turn, this prosperity gave them the power and means either to form their own armies for self-defense against warlord predation, or to bargain with kings who promised them protection and universal fair trade rules that extended over larger territories
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