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A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein
Admiral Zheng, asset allocation, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, British Empire, call centre, clean water, Columbian Exchange, Corn Laws, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, domestication of the camel, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, Gini coefficient, ice-free Arctic, imperial preference, income inequality, intermodal, James Hargreaves, John Harrison: Longitude, Khyber Pass, low skilled workers, non-tariff barriers, placebo effect, Port of Oakland, refrigerator car, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, working poor
If man's innate desire to challenge nature at sea paid handsome dividends, his decision to do so on land, by rescuing the slow, large, and defenseless camel from the brink of oblivion, reaped similar rewards. Already extinct in North America, and quickly headed for extinction in Eurasia, the camel was first valued, about six thousand years ago, solely for its milk. Not until twenty-five hundred years later, around 1500 BC, would humans begin to exploit the camel's ability to carry hundreds of pounds of cargo across otherwise impenetrable territory. Without the domestication of the camel, the trans-Asian silk and trans-Arabian incense routes would have been impossible. It is a little-known fact that the progenitors of the modern camel (along with the horse) originated in North America and migrated east across the Bering Strait land bridge to Asia. Although swift herds of camels or horses might manage the perilous journey from the heartland of North America to that of Eurasia in a matter of decades, it was a much tougher trek for fragile plant species from a temperate area.
Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.21 Trade's modern scribblers-David Ricardo, Richard Cobden, Eli Heckscher, Bertil Ohlin, Wolfgang Stolper, and Paul Samuelson-will help us to understand the massive upheavals seen in our ever more integrated global system. Although the structure of this book is chronological, its many interwoven narratives will supersede the flow of mere dates and events. For example, two closely related stories, the south Arabian incense trade and the domestication of the camel, both span thousands of years. At the other extreme, the memoirs of medieval travelers who left us extensive and intact records of their journeys-Marco Polo, the Moroccan legal scholar Ibn Battuta, and the Portuguese apothecary Tome Pires- will provide isolated but detailed snapshots of world trade spanning only a few decades. Ultimately, two deceptively simple notions anchor this book.
The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, buy low sell high, call centre, Columbian Exchange, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fragmentation, New Economic Geography, out of africa, paper trading, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus
DATA SOURCES: Ian Morris, Why the West Rules—for Now (London: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010); Ronald Findlay and Kevin O’Rourke, Power and Plenty (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007). Trade among Fixed Production / Consumption Clusters Trade as it is conceived of today—namely, made-here-sold-there goods moving among fixed regions—rose during this stage. The game-changing innovations were the domestication of the camel (around 1000 BCE), refinements of sailing technology, and advances in coastal navigation. Archaeological finds and literary sources shine some light on which goods were traded. For example, a fourteenth-century BCE shipwreck discovered off the western coast of Turkey contained copper and tin ingots (the ingredients of bronze), glass beads, ebony wood, ivory, tortoise shells, ostrich eggshells, ceramic jars filled with resin, and some weapons and tools as well as Egyptian jewelry.
Salt by Mark Kurlansky
British Empire, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, domestication of the camel, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, Honoré de Balzac, invention of movable type, Mahatma Gandhi, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route
Trans-Saharan commerce existed in ancient times, but crossings were rare events until the third century A.D., when the camel replaced the horse. The camel was a native of North America, though it became extinct there two million years ago. Around 3000 B.C. , relatively late in the history of animal domestication, camels were domesticated in the Middle East. The wild species has vanished. Between the domestication of the camel and its use in the Sahara, several millennia passed. But once the domestic camel made its Sahara debut, its use spread quickly. By the Middle Ages, caravans of 40,000 camels carried salt from Taoudenni to Timbuktu, a 435-mile journey taking as long as one month. Since then, continuing to this day, caravans of camels have moved bulk goods across the Sahara to western and central Africa.