By William J. Bernstein
A sweeping narrative heritage of worldwide trade--from Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C. to the firestorm over globalization today--that brilliantly explores trade's colourful and contentious previous and offers new insights into its future
Adam Smith wrote that guy has an intrinsic "propensity to truck, barter, and alternate something for another." yet how did exchange evolve to the purpose the place we don't think carefully approximately biting into an apple from the opposite aspect of the realm?
In A fabulous Exchange, William J. Bernstein tells the intense tale of world trade from its prehistoric origins to the myriad controversies surrounding it at the present time. He starts off in historic Mesopotamia, the place early investors floated barley, copper, and ivory up and down the Tigris and Euphrates, and he strikes directly to the Greeks, whose grain alternate helped ignite the Peloponnesian conflict. He transports readers from the ships that carried silk from China to Rome on monsoon gales within the moment century to the increase and fall of the Portuguese monopoly in spices within the 16th; from the frenzy for sugar that introduced the British to Jamaica in 1655 to the yankee alternate battles of the early 20th century; from key concepts comparable to steam, metal, and refrigeration to the fashionable period of televisions from Taiwan, lettuce from Mexico, and T-shirts from China.
Along the best way, Bernstein, who's either a proficient storyteller and an entire fiscal theorist, brings to existence a gallery of interesting characters and synthesizes hundreds of thousands of years of history--social, cultural, political, army, and economic--into a wealthy and interesting narrative. He explores how our age-old dependency on exchange has contributed to our planet's agricultural bounty, encouraged highbrow growth, and made us either filthy rich and susceptible. Bernstein concludes that even supposing the impulse to exchange frequently takes a backseat to xenophobia and battle, it's eventually a strength for stable between international locations, and he argues that societies are way more winning and good after they are desirous about full of life exchange with their associates.
Lively, authoritative, and awesome in scope, A correct Exchange is a riveting narrative that perspectives alternate and globalization no longer in political phrases, yet relatively as an evolutionary strategy as outdated as warfare and religion--a historic constant--that will proceed to foster the expansion of highbrow capital, cut back the area, and propel the trajectory of the human species.
Includes 23 maps and forty black-and-white illustrations.
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Extra info for A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World
It is no accident that the reindeerbone sewing needle appears simultaneously in the archaeological record, since it is necessary for the manufacture of sewn-skin vessels. These first boats predate the more "primitive" dugout canoe, for the cold, steppe-like vista of northern Europe could not grow trees wide enough to accommodate a fur-clad hunter. Only the most durable remnants, mainly stone tools, survive to pro vide hints about the nature of the earliest long-range commerce. One of the earliest commodities traded by boat must have been obsidian, a black Sumer 23 volcanic rock (actually, a glass) that is a favorite of landscapers and gar deners around the world.
The price of tin was about ten times that of copper, a ratio that held well into the early twentieth century. But where did tin come from? Brittany and Cornwall began producing tin well before 2000 BC, but no record of navigation beyond the Pillars of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar) exists until about 450 BC, when a Phoenician navigator, Himilco, ventured into the open Atlantic and brought back tin from these northern European mines. Historians hypothesize that tin traveled from northern Europe to the Fertile Crescent via multiple land routes through France, particularly along the valley of the Garonne River, which runs northwest from its sources in the coastal ranges above the Mediterranean to modern-day Bordeaux on the Atlantic.
In its center sat a municipal square, one end of which opened on the sea gate; at the other end stood a building filled with seals and scales, almost certainly a customs house. Piled high around the square would have been huge baskets of barley and dates from the banks of the Tigris; the more precious cargo—Mesopotamian cloth as well as ivory and ingots of copper bound for Ur—stood just outside the customs house, guarded by nervous sailors while their officers argued with, bribed, and cajoled the officials inside.
A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein