By William J. Bernstein
A sweeping narrative historical past of global trade--from Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C. to the firestorm over globalization today--that brilliantly explores trade's colourful and contentious prior and gives new insights into its future
Adam Smith wrote that guy has an intrinsic "propensity to truck, barter, and trade something for another." yet how did exchange evolve to the purpose the place we don't consider carefully approximately biting into an apple from the opposite part of the realm?
In A most excellent Exchange, William J. Bernstein tells the extreme 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 battle. 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 push for sugar that introduced the British to Jamaica in 1655 to the yank exchange battles of the early 20th century; from key suggestions resembling 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 comprehensive financial theorist, brings to existence a gallery of attention-grabbing 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 alternate has contributed to our planet's agricultural bounty, prompted highbrow development, and made us either filthy rich and susceptible. Bernstein concludes that even though the impulse to alternate usually takes a backseat to xenophobia and battle, it's finally a strength for solid between international locations, and he argues that societies are way more winning and reliable once they are concerned with energetic exchange with their associates.
Lively, authoritative, and extraordinary in scope, A best Exchange is a riveting narrative that perspectives exchange and globalization no longer in political phrases, yet really as an evolutionary strategy as outdated as conflict and religion--a old constant--that will proceed to foster the expansion of highbrow capital, diminish the area, and propel the trajectory of the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
Yet however expensive, unpleasant, and perilous medieval sailing was, traders preferred it to the overland route. Even along main roads in the heart of the Egyptian Fatimid Empire, a letter of safe conduct did not protect against bedouin raids. Weeks on a heaving, rancid deck were still preferable to months on the lookout for brigands from the back of a don key or camel. The Geniza papers also describe the high expense of land transport. For most of recorded history, the primary manufactured trade commod ity was cloth.
Representative Willis Hawley and Senator Reed Smoot congratulate each other on the signing of their 1930 tariff bill. This disastrous legislation gave rise to virulent antiAmericanism, devastated international commerce, and contributed in no small part to the outbreak of the Second World War. Cordell Hull, the longestserving American secretary of state, clearly discerned the damage to world security done by the tariff wars of the early twentieth century and laid the groundwork for the GATT and WTO.
From Dioscordia, the cargo floated on Greek vessels through the entrance of the Red Sea at the Bab el Mandeb (Arabic for "Gate of Sorrows") to the sea's main port of Berenice in Egypt; 4 A Splendid Exchange 4 then across the desert by camel to the Nile; and next by ship downstream to Alexandria, where Greek Roman and Italian Roman ships moved it across the Mediterranean to the huge Roman termini of Puteoli (modern Pozzuoli) and Ostia. As a general rule, the Chinese seldom ventured west of Sri Lanka, the Indians north of the Red Sea mouth, and the Italians south of Alexandria.
A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein