Download The World That Trade Created: Society, Culture, And the by Steven Topik, Kenith Pomeranze PDF

By Steven Topik, Kenith Pomeranze

In a chain of short vignettes the authors convey to existence overseas exchange and its actors, and in addition exhibit that monetary task can't be divorced from social and cultural contexts. within the method they clarify that the probably glossy idea of monetary globalisation has deep ancient roots.

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Additional resources for The World That Trade Created: Society, Culture, And the World Economy, 1400 to the Present

Sample text

But Smith’s juxtaposition of trade with speech has an implication that his modern disciples have often forgotten—that trade, like speech, could sometimes serve expressive ends. Acquiring a particular good or sending it to others was (and still is) sometimes a way of making a statement about who a person or group was or wanted to be, or about what social relationships people had or desired with others, as much as it was a way of maximizing strictly material comfort. And because economic activities are social acts, they bring together groups of people who often have very different cultural understandings of production, consumption, and trade.

As transportation improved in the nineteenth century, the networks extended further—most of the Chinese who came to gold-rush California, for instance, came not from the counties hardest hit by poverty and violence, but from counties in Fujian and neighboring Guangdong whose commercial networks gave their sons access to superior information and start-up capital for venturing abroad. The firms that managed these overseas activities were usually organized on family lines and used those connections strategically.

But the looseness of Islamic rule was even more important: as long as tribute was paid, local rulers were allowed to do much as they pleased. Most rulers allowed traders of all faiths to move freely from port to port. Wars were frequent, but usually limited to land, while the seas remained open. Merchants who encountered problems in one port simply moved to another. Piracy was common, but manageable. Merchant groups, often organized on ethnic or religious lines, maintained insurance funds to ransom any members captured at sea.

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