The weakness and unreliability of the public administration forced the government to work closely with private interests, leaving responsibility for policing and taxation to private corporations. Without the guilds, which provided a kind of self-interested policing system, it would have been extremely difficult for the government to tax and regulate the economy. This chapter examines the consequences of this in terms of how market justice was experienced in practice on the streets of Venice. It presents a detailed study of law enforcement in practice, using one of the few surviving registers of criminal denunciations at the Giustizia Vecchia. To understand the real meaning of market justice for ordinary people, the discussion focuses on the mundane and the everyday, the sort of ordinary crime that constituted the background to economic life.
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