Jan de Vries traces a sociable and inclusive urban form of luxury consumption back to the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic, where he argues a precocious consumer culture developed. The Regent did make some demands of John Law; Law was required to settle 6,000 French citizens and 3,000 French slaves in the American territory. The intra-Asian trading activities of the European trading companies brought about a measure of global level price conversions in consumer markets. The joint stock company format had been used before by trade companies and the slave trade that the South Sea Company concentrated on was long established. A scholar of China has tried to eliminate this contrast between a booming, consuming, active Europe and a stagnant China contrast termed "the Great Divergence". Pomeranz argues the phenomenon of consumption is best documented for various regions of Western Europe, Renaissance Italy, Golden Age Spain and the Dutch Republic, the rise of consumer society was not unique to France and England.