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

By William J. Bernstein

A sweeping narrative heritage 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 alternate 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 best suited Exchange, William J. Bernstein tells the extreme tale of worldwide trade from its prehistoric origins to the myriad controversies surrounding it this day. 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 exchange helped ignite the Peloponnesian struggle. 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 yank alternate battles of the early 20th century; from key options comparable to steam, metal, and refrigeration to the trendy 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 complete fiscal 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, motivated highbrow development, and made us either filthy rich and weak. Bernstein concludes that even supposing the impulse to alternate frequently takes a backseat to xenophobia and warfare, it truly is finally a strength for stable between countries, and he argues that societies are way more profitable and strong after they are fascinated about lively alternate with their buddies.
Lively, authoritative, and marvelous in scope, A excellent Exchange is a riveting narrative that perspectives alternate and globalization now not in political phrases, yet relatively as an evolutionary procedure as previous as struggle and religion--a old constant--that will proceed to foster the expansion of highbrow capital, diminish the realm, and propel the trajectory of the human species.
Includes 23 maps and forty black-and-white illustrations.

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Certainly, the Roman, Greek, Arab, and Indian traders who plied the Indian Ocean trade routes did not suddenly lose their maritime abilities after the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Introduction 9 Now consider the contribution of trade to our planet's agricultural bounty. Try to imagine Italian cuisine without the tomato, the highlands around Darjeeling without tea plants, an American table without wheat bread or beef, a café anywhere in the world beyond coffee's birthplace in Yemen, or German cooking without the potato.

The farmers had never seen copper before, since none was produced in 2 Sumer 21 the flat alluvial land between the Tigris and Euphrates. Their nomadic rivals had in fact obtained the metal from traders who lived near its source hundreds of miles to the west, in the Sinai Desert. It was not long before Sumerian farmers obtained their own supplies, enabling them to devise more lethal spiked copper-headed maces, to which the herders responded with thicker helmets. Thus was born the arms race, which to this day re­ lies on exotic metals obtained through commerce.

The historical value of obsidian lies in two facts: first, it is produced in only a handful of volcanic sites, and second, with the use of sophisticated atomic fingerprinting techniques, individual samples can be traced back to their original volcanic sources. Obsidian flakes dating to over twelve thousand years ago found in the Franchthi Cave in mainland Greece originated from the volcano on the island of Melos, one hundred miles offshore. These artifacts must have been carried in watercraft, yet there are no archaeological remains, liter­ ary fragments, or even oral traditions that inform us just how the obsid­ ian got from Melos to the mainland.

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