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 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 facet of the area?
In A ideal Exchange, William J. Bernstein tells the intense tale of worldwide trade from its prehistoric origins to the myriad controversies surrounding it at the present time. He starts off in old 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 exchange battles of the early 20th century; from key thoughts reminiscent of steam, metal, and refrigeration to the fashionable period of televisions from Taiwan, lettuce from Mexico, and T-shirts from China.
Along the way in which, Bernstein, who's either a talented storyteller and an finished monetary theorist, brings to existence a gallery of interesting characters and synthesizes millions of years of history--social, cultural, political, army, and economic--into a wealthy and fascinating 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 usually takes a backseat to xenophobia and warfare, it truly is finally a strength for strong between countries, and he argues that societies are way more profitable and sturdy once they are curious about full of life alternate with their acquaintances.
Lively, authoritative, and excellent in scope, A most excellent Exchange is a riveting narrative that perspectives alternate and globalization no longer in political phrases, yet really as an evolutionary approach as previous as battle and religion--a ancient constant--that will proceed to foster the expansion of highbrow capital, scale back the realm, and propel the trajectory of the human species.
Includes 23 maps and forty black-and-white illustrations.
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Additional info for A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World
Whereas the ambitions of kings and merchants and the religion of the Prophet drove premodern history, secular ideologies have largely pro pelled the modern era. Chapters 11 through 14 examine today's global trade in light of its underlying modern economic doctrines. As so famously put by Keynes: Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct econo mist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.
From a safe distance, the attackers used slingshots, spears, and arrows that allowed them to achieve surprise. The farmers responded by closing in on the attackers with maces. The mace—a rounded stone attached to the end of a stout stick, designed to bash in the head of an opponent—was the first weapon specifically intended for use solely against fellow humans. ) Capable of crush ing a man's fragile, round skull whether he was coming toward an attacker or running away, the mace proved especially effective.
Chapters 3 through 6 trace the rise of trade in the Indian Ocean. This story properly begins in remote western Arabia in late antiquity and re counts the explosive spread of the religion of trade, Islam, whose influ ence ranged from Andalusia to the Philippines, and whose chosen conduit of divine revelation, the Prophet Muhammad, was himself a trader. Islam provided the glue that held together an advanced system of great com mercial ports, where tangles of local and mercantile families and castes from far and wide mingled together with one purpose: profit.