Provided for Public Welfare: Traffic Infrastructure and “The Bonum Commune Topos” with Examples from Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Brandenburg Electorate
Chapter from the book: Tanimoto M. & Wong R. 2019. Public Goods Provision in the Early Modern Economy: Comparative Perspectives from Japan, China, and Europe.
This chapter, by Sascha Bütow, examines the traffic infrastructure of roads and waterways in Brandenburg-Prussia. The author points out that the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire advocated the concept of “bonum commune topos” (good governance for the people), taking responsibility for constructing and maintaining the traffic ways to legitimize his rule. This idea was based on the success of medieval communities that were responsible for traffic and road construction in Brandenburg-Prussia. The author shows that this sense of governance legitimacy has been carried forward into contemporary law in Germany.