Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Splendid Exchange - How Trade Shaped the World

A Splendid Exchange
How Trade Shaped the World
William J. Bernstein

Bernstein tells the story of trade from the dawn of civilization to the anti-globalization riots of 1999 in Seattle. Trade is a historial constant driving the wealth and military expansion of empires. This is a great story well told. The history of these trading empires explains so much about the modern world.

Chapters & notes

  1. Sumer

    Trade at the dawn of agriculture.

  2. The Straits of Trade

    Athenian trade routes through the Bosphorus. Access to trade drives the Peleponesian wars.

  3. Camels Perfumes and Prophets

    Camels, ships of the desert, and trade along the Arab peninsula - south to Yemen for incense, east to the Persian gulf for access to Asia through the Indian ocean.

  4. The Baghdad Canton Express

    Voyages of Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta to China. Indian ocean trade routes dominated by Middle Eastern Muslims and Jews. Zheng He leads Chinese naval expeditions into the Indian ocean.

  5. The Taste of Trade and the Captives of Trade

    Venice rises to power on mediterranean trade with the Muslim world. Asian spices and silk come to Europe only through trade with Muslims. Islam is governed through the unstable Mamluk system based on slave-soldiers. Venice trades in slaves from the Black Sea coast to the muslims. Crusades are tangled in efforts by the Venitians to protect this trade route from European rivals and to bypass muslim middlemen to access asian goods.

  6. The Disease of Trade

    The black plague follows trade routes through Europe and the Middle East.

  7. DaGama's Urge

    Vasco DaGama rounded the southern tip of Africa in 1498. The Portuguese established scattered trading colonies through which they brutally dominated the spice trade in the 16th century. Gao, Ceylon, Malacca, and the Moluccas and eventually Macau and Japan.

  8. A World Encompassed

    Worldwide trade routes established. Portuguese gradually give way to the even more brutal Dutch in the Indian Ocean.

  9. The Coming of Corporations

    The Dutch East Indies Company established monopoly on the spice trade. The Dutch had the most advanced financial markets of the day and invented of many of the tools of modern finance. Cotton, sugar, and tea rise as trade commodities as spices wane in profitability. The English are forced to favor free trade in order to compete.

  10. Transplants

    Boston tea party compared to an anti-globalization rally. England slowly turns toward peaceful free trade, to its advantage over the Dutch. Coffee. Cotton, fashion and the birth of mass marketing and consumer culture. Tea and sugar. Cane growing in the Carribean. The slave trade.

  11. The Triumph and Tragedy of Free Trade

    Breaking of the British East India Companies monopoly on the China trade. Canton, Macau, and Hong Kong. Cotton trade. Opium trade and wars with China. Henry Martyn, Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Comparative advantage. Corn laws - english landed aristocrats lobbied for tariffs on imported grain to their own advantage causing periodic hunger. The corn laws were repealed in 1846 after a long campaign led by Richard Cobden.

  12. What Henry Bessemer Wrought

    19th century. Copper mining and smelting in Jerome, AZ in 1882. American civil war free-trade south vs. protectionist north. Abe Lincoln's tariff. Invention of cheap steel. The displacement of sail powered shipping by steam over the 1800's. Rise of rail transport. Erie canal. Ice trade, leading to refridgerated shipping.


A political economy

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