246 results back to index
3D printing, Asian financial crisis, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business climate, business process, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, colonial rule, Commodity Super-Cycle, corporate governance, crony capitalism, currency peg, dark matter, debt deflation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Freestyle chess, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, mittelstand, moral hazard, New Economic Geography, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, working-age population
The richest of the three Andean members, Chile, has also become a major investor in the other two, pouring $2.3 billion into Peru and Colombia in 2011, up from $70 million in 2004. That’s not to say the prospects for all three nations are equal, but a shared commitment to making the most of a location well off the major global trade routes is positive for all involved. Geography Is Not Destiny With sufficient political will and the right policies, nations can redraw the map of global trade routes to their own advantage. In the early twentieth century, the major global trade routes crisscrossed the Atlantic, but after World War II Japan and China managed to carve out a new route anchored at one end on their own coasts. Within a generation the Asian powers used cheap labor to more than make up for the cost of shipping goods all the way from the Pacific to Europe and the United States.
Geography matters for growth: Today Poland and Mexico have a big potential advantage in global competition thanks to their location on the border of the vast commercial markets of western Europe and the United States. Vietnam and Bangladesh are taking advantage of their position on existing trade routes between China and the West to take away some of the export manufacturing business that had been done mainly in China. (For a map of the current geographic sweet spots and global shipping routes, see p. 402.) But geography is not destiny; the potential advantage of proximity to the United States or China will ebb and flow with the strength of those economies, and many countries on or near major trade routes and rich markets will not take the steps necessary to prosper from their position. Morocco is taking advantage of its location, a short hop across the Mediterranean from southern Europe, to develop export industries, but nearby on the same coast Libya and Sudan are crumbling politically and economically.
It is no accident that during their long runs of strong economic growth, the postwar Asian “miracles” in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore also sustained average annual manufacturing export growth of more than 10 percent. A nation’s chances of economic success are greatly improved by prowess in manufacturing goods for export, which highlights the importance of location. Any nation that wants to thrive as an export power has a huge advantage if it starts with a base close to trade routes that connect the richest customers to the most competitive suppliers. It Is Partly the Luck of Location Economic growth has followed existing trade routes since well before the modern era. In the sixteenth century the nations of western Europe suddenly started to grow faster than their rivals in Asia and Latin America; for the first time in history, the inhabitants of one region clearly distanced themselves from all others in terms of average income. In a 2005 article titled “The Rise of Europe,” the development experts Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson and James Robinson set out to explain this continental boom and found that the answer was a combination of geography and a readiness to exploit it.3 Between 1500 and 1850, they argued, the boom in Europe was driven mainly by nations with two key advantages: port cities on major Atlantic trade routes, and monarchies that respected private property rights and granted merchants the most latitude to exploit growing trade channels.
1494: How a Family Feud in Medieval Spain Divided the World in Half by Stephen R. Bown
Atahualpa, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, charter city, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, Peace of Westphalia, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, UNCLOS
WHEN THE walls of the ancient city of Constantinople were battered to the ground by the siege cannons of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, the patterns of travel and trade in the Mediterranean that had reigned for centuries rapidly changed. One of the immediate consequences, as long-standing trade routes closed, was the decline of Genoa’s influence and power. Thousands of Genoese seafarers, cartographers and merchants emigrated from their home city seeking a livelihood, and a good many were drawn by the flourishing slave trade south along the African coast. One of the beneficiaries of this great outpouring of Genoese talent was Portugal, then the pre-eminent maritime nation of Atlantic Europe. Portugal was opening new trade routes in Africa and the western Atlantic islands, secure in its monopoly by papal decree and international treaty. By 1481 there were so many Genoese in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, that King João II’s councillors advised the king to expel them from the country, out of fear that they would steal valuable trade secrets and launch illegal trading voyages.
When Columbus returned to Spain in 1493 after a seven-month voyage, Spanish society was transfixed by his tales of primitive peoples inhabiting islands far to the west. Spaniards were particularly interested in the golden ornaments and jewellery worn by the kidnapped “Indians” of Cuba and Hispaniola. Gold meant wealth and power. There was, however, a complication. Columbus’s successful return infuriated King João II of Portugal, who claimed that a series of papal decrees clearly intended that any new trade routes to heathen lands belonged to him alone. The king soon began outfitting a fleet to cross the ocean and claim the “Indies” for Portugal. With war imminent, the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella sent an official envoy to the papal court in Rome to argue their case. Pope Alexander VI, also head of the notorious Borgia clan, issued the first Inter Caetera, which proclaimed “by the authority of the Almighty God” that Ferdinand and Isabella and their heirs in perpetuity were to have the exclusive right to travel in, trade with and colonize Columbus’s new-found lands.
The punishment for violating the papal proclamation was excommunication. Spain and Portugal affirmed the papal decrees of the Inter Caetera in the treaty signed in the Spanish town of Tordesillas in June 1494 . But they moved the line of demarcation between the Spanish and Portuguese zones of influence several hundred miles farther west. This placed an as-yet-undiscovered Brazil in the Portuguese half of the world, as well as protected Portugal’s African trade route from any European competition. The world was now officially divided. Although it was initially believed that Columbus had discovered the eastern extremity of Asia, it soon became apparent that the world was much larger than supposed, and that the pope had given to Spain and Portugal far more territory than anyone could have imagined. The official reason for the Inter Caetera was to prevent war between the two most powerful Christian nations of the era and to reward them for their crusading work.
Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future by Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron, Meera Balarajan
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, conceptual framework, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, guest worker program, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Lao Tzu, life extension, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Malacca Straits, microcredit, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, open borders, out of africa, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spice trade, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce, working-age population
By 300 CE, camel-riding pastoralists and traders were connecting West Africa with the Mediterranean—they carried gold, copper, and sometimes slaves into the north. The wealth and traffic along these trade routes eventually fostered the growth of cities and states where farmers had settled to produce sorghum and millet.59 Near the end of the millennium, the trading empire of Kanem had developed near Lake Chad, and the Wagoudu (or Ghana) Empire emerged near contemporary Mali and Mauritania. The development of the Silk Road trade routes corresponded with the consolidation of vast empires between 400 and 200 BCE. Prior to this time, merchants faced significant threats of banditry along trade routes. An increased tempo of long-distance trade required the security that was provided by large Eurasian states and the nomadic barbarians in between. The Qin and Han dynasties in China, the Mauryan Empire in India, the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great, and the Parthian and Roman states helped to provide the stable political order necessary for a new era of cross-civilizational trade.
This “Golden Age” of Islamic civilization drew the cultural resources of the world into an age of discovery and advancement in science, medicine, and mathematics. Positional value notation was adapted from the Indians in the creation of Arabic numbers (which are still used today), and Chinese inventions like the compass passed through the Arabs to Europe. Trade routes linking Europe, Africa, and Asia became increasingly significant during the Abbasid Caliphate. Islam spread widely through trade, establishing Muslim populations where Arab armies never trod—such as Indonesia and China, where the world's largest Muslim populations currently live.74 The improved security of long-distance trade routes under the Caliphate led to the expansion of trade diasporas, among the most important of which was the Jewish Radaniyya, which means “those who know the way” in Persian—the dominant trade language. The Radanites shared a single culture and controlled a system of trade that extended from Europe to China, lasting until nomadic Tatars from Asia began to imperil the overland routes to China in the early ninth century.75 It was not only merchants who traveled the trade routes within the Muslim realm; soldiers, slaves, administrators, diplomats, pilgrims, missionaries, and refugees also flowed between India, the Mediterranean, and Africa.76 The increased tempo of movement among regions spread new crops, including staples, like wheat and sorghum; vegetables, like spinach and eggplant; and tropical fruits, such as lemon, lime, banana, and mango.
–John Stuart Mill Contents List of Illustrations and Tables Acknowledgments Introduction PART I: PAST 1 Migration from Prehistory to Columbus Early Migration Connecting Humanity Migration and Humanity 2 Global Migrations: Toward a World Economy The Age of Exploration Imperialism and Coercion Unfree Migrations: Slavery and Indentured Labor Global “Free” Migrations (ca. 1840–1914) Builders of the Modern World 3 “Managed” Migration in the Twentieth Century (1914-1973) The End of the Liberal Period The Interwar Period: Economic Decline and Regulated Migration Post-WWII Migrations Finding Reasons to Regulate PART II: PRESENT 4 Leaving Home: Migration Decisions and Processes Micro-Level: Individuals and Families Meso-Level: Networks and Systems Macro-Level: Demographic, Political, and Economic Conditions Individual, Society, and National Influences 5 Immigration and Border Control Channels and Flows of Migration Economic Migration Social Migration Refugee Migration Border Control Beyond Border Controls 6 The Impacts of Migration Impacts on Receiving Countries Impacts on Sending Countries Impacts on Migrants Impacts on Societies and Migrants PART III: FUTURE 7 The Future of Migration The Backdrop of Globalization Supply of Migrants Demand for Migrants 8 A Global Migration Agenda Thought Experiments A Long-Term Vision of Freer Movement Principles for Global Migration The Need for Global Leadership Notes References Index Illustrations and Tables ILLUSTRATIONS Figure 1.1. The genetic pathways of human migration Figure 2.1. African slave trade routes, 1500-1900 Figure 2.2. Estimates of slave exports to America from Africa, 1662-1867 Figure 2.3. Annual average slave and indentured labor imports (by thousands) into the Caribbean and Mascarenes, by decade, 1801-1810 to 1911-1920 Figure 2.4. Gross migration of indentured workers by origin, 1840-1920 Figure 2.5. Annual emigration rates, 1860-1913 (absolute deviations from trend) Figure 3.1.
An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage
agricultural Revolution, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, carbon footprint, Columbian Exchange, Corn Laws, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, food miles, Haber-Bosch Process, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, special economic zone, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce
Once civilizations had emerged in various parts of the world, food helped to connect them together. Food-trade routes acted as international communications networks that fostered not just commercial exchange, but cultural and religious exchange too. The spice routes that spanned the Old World led to cross-cultural fertilization in fields as diverse as architecture, science, and religion. Early geographers started to take an interest in the customs and peoples of distant lands and compiled the first attempts at world maps. By far the greatest transformation caused by food trade was a result of the European desire to circumvent the Arab spice monopoly. This led to the discovery of the New World, the opening of maritime trade routes between Europe, America, and Asia, and the establishment by European nations of their first colonial outposts.
One of them, al-Biruni, wrote of “a gap in the mountains along the south coast [of Africa]. One has certain proofs of this communication although no one has been able to confirm it by sight.” Al-Biruni’s informants were undoubtedly merchants. Religious beliefs were another kind of information that spread naturally along trade routes, as missionaries followed routes opened up by traders, and traders themselves took their beliefs to new lands. Mahayana Buddhism spread along trade routes from India to China and Japan, and Hinayana Buddhism spread from Sri Lanka to Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam. Tradition has it that Thomas the Apostle took Christianity to India’s Malabar coast in the first century A.D., arriving on a spice-trader’s ship in Cranganore (modern Kodun-gallur) in 52 A.D. But trade’s most striking religious symbiosis was with Islam.
But the full extent of this network was generally unknown to its participants, since they were not always aware of the origins of the goods they traded. Just as the Greeks thought that the Indian spices that reached them via Arab traders actually originated in Arabia, so too the Chinese seem to have assumed that nutmeg and cloves came from Malaya, Sumatra, or Java, though these were in reality just ports of call on the way along the maritime trade routes from their true source farther east, in the Moluccas. Spices also crossed the world by land. From the second century B.C. overland routes connected China with the eastern Mediterranean, linking the Roman world in the west and Han China in the east. (These routes were dubbed the Silk Road in the nineteenth century, even though they carried far more than silk and there was in fact a network of east-west routes, not a single road.)
Venice: A New History by Thomas F. Madden
big-box store, buy low sell high, centre right, colonial rule, Columbine, Costa Concordia, double entry bookkeeping, facts on the ground, financial innovation, indoor plumbing, invention of movable type, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Murano, Venice glass, spice trade, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning
Goods unloaded in Venice were then sold to merchants who bore them northward, across the Alps. Along the way, the state taxed every transaction and the Venetian economy flourished. Safe trade routes overland had traditionally not been a concern of Venetians, who very deliberately focused their attention on the lagoon and the sea. Since northern Italy was fragmented into competing communes and petty regional powers, there was little fear that all routes could ever be closed. But by the late fourteenth century the rise of the signori had produced powerful and expansionistic states in Italy that could conceivably cut off Venice’s access to the trade routes, produce, and raw materials of the mainland. Indeed, that had been the goal of Genoa and Padua during the War of Chioggia. The Venetian government responded by first neutralizing the threat posed by the Carrara family, and then establishing colonial rule over lands stretching from the lagoon all the way to Lake Garda, near Verona.
Venetian military power grew dramatically in this period—all of it in response to the suddenly dangerous world in which the Venetians found themselves. The thirteenth century saw the creation of the state Arsenale, a vast workshop for the production of war vessels that would remain active for centuries—indeed, it remains a military installation to this day. Venetian expansion into the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean Seas also came at a fortuitous time. The recent victories of Genghis Khan in China and westward had allowed stable trade routes to develop along the Silk Road stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the markets of the Black Sea, Constantinople, and Syria. At the same time, the growth of towns, revival of trade, and return of capital in western Europe meant that there was now a ready market for Eastern luxury goods, which the Venetians were in an ideal position to exploit. Although Venice did well in the thirteenth century, the Latin Empire of Constantinople did not.
Precious relics were brought out and paraded through the streets in an attempt to purify them. Patron saints and the Virgin Mary were invoked to save their people. And eventually all those things worked. After a few years of carnage, the plague invariably faltered, unable to make headway among those who had developed antibodies against it. But new victims lived just down the road. Just as it had followed the merchants from China to Italy, the Black Death moved along the trade routes in Europe from Venice, Genoa, and Marseille to every point northward, even as far away as Iceland. Everywhere the death toll was horrendous. Millions perished—probably 50 percent of the total population of Europe died in the first decade of the disease. And this blow came only a few years after some of Europe’s worst famines, brought on by a sustained period of global cooling. It seemed that God truly was smiting his people.
After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 by John Darwin
agricultural Revolution, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, Columbian Exchange, cuban missile crisis, deglobalization, deindustrialization, European colonialism, failed state, Francisco Pizarro, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Malacca Straits, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, open economy, price mechanism, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade
Europe’s Atlantic coast had become an important trade route between the Mediterranean and North West Europe. Lisbon was where the two great maritime economies of Europe – the Mediterranean and the Atlantic – met and overlapped.1 It was an entrepô t for trade and commercial information and for the exchange of ideas about shipping and seamanship.2 It was the jumping-off point for the colonization of the Atlantic islands (Madeira was occupied in 1426, the Azores were settled in the 1430s), and for the crusading filibuster that led to the capture of Ceuta in Morocco in 1415. Thus, long before they ventured beyond Cape Bojador on the west coast of Africa in 1434, the Portuguese had experimented with different kinds of empire-building. Their geographical ideas were shaped not only by knowledge of the great Asian trade routes that had their western terminus in the Mediterranean, but also by the influence of crusading ideology.3 Ironically, the crusading impulse assumed that Portugal lay at the western edge of the known world and that the object was to drive eastward towards its centre in the Holy Land.
South of Morocco, no important state had the will or the means to contest Portugal’s use of African coastal waters. Most African states looked inland, regarding the ocean as an aquatic desert and (in West Africa) seeing the dry desert of the Sahara as the real highway to distant markets. In these favourable conditions, the Portuguese traversed the empty seas and then pushed north from the Cape until they ran across the southern terminus of the Indo-African trade route near the mouth of the Zambezi. From there they could rely upon local knowledge, and a local pilot who could direct them to India. Once north of the Zambezi, Vasco da Gama re-entered the known world, as if emerging from a long detour through pathless wastes. When he arrived in Calicut on India’s Malabar coast, he re-established contact with Europe via the familiar Middle Eastern route used by travellers and merchants.
‘Russia and Spain’, remarked a Spanish writer, ‘[are] the two extremities of the great diagonal of Europe.’31 The origins of Rus’ lay in the eastern migrations of Slav peoples to the edge of the forest zone, where it met the steppe and its warrior nomads (the ‘Tatars’ as the Russians called them). The first Russian state had been centred on Kiev, where a Viking or ‘Varangian’ ruling class had built an entrepô t to exploit the waterborne trading route that ran from Byzantium and the Near East to Baltic Europe. With the arrival of Orthodox Christianity in the ninth century, Kievan Rus’ became a great cultural wedge of the Byzantine Occident, between steppe peoples to the east (Polovtsy, Khazars and Pechenegs) and pagan Lithuanians (or West Russians) to the west. Kiev became the headquarters of a vast missionary enterprise, which founded monasteries in the northern forests as far away as the White Sea.
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
Then, just as rapidly as the trade between Rome and the East had swelled during the early empire, it abruptly decreased to a trickle as Rome began a long decline after the death of Marcus Aurelius in the late second century. The silk of Elagabalus was in fact one of the rare luxuries to arrive from India after that period. The dramatic increase in long-distance trade following the battle of Actium and its waning two hundred years later had nothing to do with changes in maritime technology. 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. 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 cafe anywhere in the world beyond coffee's birthplace in Yemen, or German cooking without the potato.
During the seven centuries between the death of the Prophet Muhammad and the Renaissance, the Muslim states of Europe, Asia, and Africa outshone and towered over western Christendom. Muhammad's followers dominated the great conduit of long-range world commerce, the Indian Ocean, and in the process spread his powerful message from west Africa to the South China Sea. Then, with breathtaking speed, a newly resurgent West took control of global trade routes in the decades following the first roundings of the Cape of Good Hope by Bartholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gama. Can we understand these events under the larger banner of the history of trade? The great national trading organizations, particularly the English and Dutch East India companies, spearheaded Europe's commercial dominance and made world trade the nearly exclusive province of large corporate entities and, in the twentieth century, of the multinational corporation.
14 How, then, did we get from the world of the ancient silk trade and the Geniza papers, in which the trader's job was so solitary, expensive, and heroic that only the most precious of cargoes paid their way, to the modern corporate world of wines from Chile, cars from Korea, and apples from New Zealand? Stable countries are trading countries. Commerce between Rome and East Asia took off after Octavian's victory at Actium and ushered in nearly two centuries of relative peace throughout the Mediterranean and Red Sea trade routes. While the Romans controlled, at most, the western third of the route between Alexandria and India, their influence was felt as far east as the Ganges. Although individual merchants rarely carried goods all the way from India to Rome, there were frequent face-to-face diplomatic contacts between various Indian states and Rome. Within a few years of Octavian's ascension as Augustus, Indian rulers honored him with elaborate embassies and wondrous gifts-snakes, elephants, precious gems, and gymnasts, all of which the emperor exhibited at home-and in India itself, temples were built to honor him.
9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, California gold rush, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Hans Island, LNG terminal, market fragmentation, megacity, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, oil shale / tar sands, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, trade route, transcontinental railway, Transnistria, UNCLOS, UNCLOS
It was always about ensuring that Moscow controlled that space in order to prevent anyone else from doing so. Crucially, the invasion of Afghanistan also gave hope to the great Russian dream of its army being able to “wash their boots in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean,” in the words of the ultra-nationalistic Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and thus achieve what it never had: a warm-water port where the water does not freeze in winter, with free access to the world’s major trading routes. The ports on the Arctic, such as Murmansk, freeze for several months each year: Vladivostok, the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean, is ice-locked for about four months and is enclosed by the Sea of Japan, which is dominated by the Japanese. This does not just halt the flow of trade; it prevents the Russian fleet from operating as a global power. In addition, waterborne transport is much cheaper than land or airborne routes.
Al-Qaeda and other groups, which have a foothold in places like Tajikistan, are indeed attempting to forge links with the Uighur separatists, but the movement is nationalist first, Islamic second. However, gun, bomb, and knife attacks in the region against state and/or Han targets over the past few years do look as if they will continue and could escalate into a full-blown uprising. China will not cede this territory and, as in Tibet, the window for independence is closing. Both are buffer zones, one is a major land trade route, and—crucially—both offer markets (albeit with a limited income) for an economy that must keep producing and selling goods if China is to continue to grow and to prevent mass unemployment. Failure to do so would likely lead to widespread civil disorder, threatening the control of the Communist Party and the unity of China. There are similar reasons for the party’s resistance to democracy and individual rights.
It rises in Germany’s Black Forest and flows south on its way to the Black Sea. In all, the Danube basin affects eighteen countries and forms natural borders along the way, including those of Slovakia and Hungary, Croatia and Serbia, Serbia and Romania, and Romania and Bulgaria. More than two thousand years ago it was one of the borders of the Roman Empire, which in turn helped it to become one of the great trading routes of medieval times and gave rise to the present capital cities of Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade. It also formed the natural border of two subsequent empires, the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman. As each shrank, the nations emerged again, eventually becoming nation states. However, the geography of the Danube region, especially at its southern end, helps explain why there are so many small nations there in comparison to the bigger countries in and around the North European Plain.
Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies by Jared M. Diamond
affirmative action, Atahualpa, British Empire, California gold rush, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, discovery of the americas, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, invention of movable type, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, James Watt: steam engine, Maui Hawaii, QWERTY keyboard, the scientific method, trade route
Evidently, those crops reached southern Nige- ria only after languages began to break up into subgroups, so each sub- group coined or received different names for the new plants, which the modern languages of only that particular subgroup inherited. Last come crop names that aren't consistent within language groups at all, but instead follow trade routes. These prove to be New World crops like corn and peanuts, which we know were introduced into Africa after the beginnings of transatlantic ship traffic (A.D. 1492) and diffused since then along trade routes, often bearing their Portuguese or other foreign names. Thus, even if we possessed no botanical or archaeological evidence whatsoever, we would still be able to deduce from the linguistic evidence alone that native West African crops were domesticated first, that Indone- sian crops arrived next, and that finally the European introductions came in.
When the Portuguese navi- gator Vasco da Gama became the first European to sail around the south- ern cape of Africa and reached the Kenya coast in 1498, he encountered Swahili trading settlements and picked up a pilot who guided him on that direct route to India. But there was an equally vigorous sea trade from India eastward, between India and Indonesia. Perhaps the Austronesian colonists of Mada- gascar reached India from Indonesia by that eastern trade route and then fell in with the westward trade route to East Africa, where they joined with Africans and discovered Madagascar. That union of Austronesians and East Africans lives on today in Madagascar's basically Austronesian language, which contains loan words from coastal Kenyan Bantu lan- guages. But there are no corresponding Austronesian loan words in Kenyan languages, and other traces of Austronesians are very thin on the ground in East Africa: mainly just Africa's possible legacy of Indonesian musical instruments (xylophones and zithers) and, of course, the Aus- tronesian crops that became so important in African agriculture.
Worse yet, sumpweed is a wind- pollinated relative of ragweed, the notorious hayfever-causing plant. Like ragweed's, sumpweed's pollen can cause hayfever where the plant occurs in abundant stands. If that doesn't kill your enthusiasm for becoming a sumpweed farmer, be aware that it has a strong odor objectionable to some people and that handling it can cause skin irritation. Mexican crops finally began to reach the eastern United States by trade routes after A.D. 1. Corn arrived around A.D. 200, but its role remained very minor for many centuries. Finally, around A.D. 900 a new variety of corn adapted to North America's short summers appeared, and the arrival of beans around A.D. 1100 completed Mexico's crop trinity of corn, beans, and squash. Eastern U.S. farming became greatly intensified, and densely populated chiefdoms developed along the Mississippi River and its tribu- taries.
The Fallen Blade: Act One of the Assassini by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
“And who are the predators?” Roderigo regarded him sharply. “We have the German emperor to the north. The emperor of Byzantium to the south. The Pope has declared the Millioni false princes. Making them fair game for any penitent with a sharp dagger and a guilty conscience. The Mamluks covet our trade routes. The King of Hungary wants his Schiavoni colonies in Dalmatia back. Everyone offers to protect us from everyone else. Who do you think the predators are?” “So you marry Giulietta to Janus because it will help protect those trade routes? Poor child…” Finding them watching her, Giulietta turned away. “She makes no pretence to be pleased,” said Sir Richard, then shrugged. “Why would she? Janus is years older. I imagine she dreams of the Florentine.” “Cosimo?” “He’s… what? A few years older than her? Educated, loves music, dresses well.
Who abandoned the purity of pain.” Her lips curled in disgust at the words. “To become king,” Atilo said simply. “He’s a monster.” “Giulietta… The Germans want Venice. The Byzantines want it too. The Mamluks want your colonies. Even my people, the Moors, would happily see your navy sunk. King Janus was Black only briefly. Cyprus is an island we can use.” “Use?” she said in scorn. “Venice’s strength rests on its trade routes. It needs Cyprus. Besides, you have to marry someone.” “It might as well be him?” The Moor nodded, and she wondered if he could read the fury in her eyes. Anger kept her fear at bay. Her fear of what being bedded by a Black Crucifer might involve. “My lord,” Josh interrupted. Atilo raised his bow. “Did I tell you to speak?” His finger began tightening on the trigger. “Let him speak.” “My lady, you’re in no…” “… position to demand anything?”
“Enough of the hiding in darkened rooms and refusing to appear in public. Take Marco and let the city see you.” “Impossible,” the duchess said. “You know…” “He can’t be let out in public?” “Alonzo…” “It’s the truth. And, speaking of truth, are you behind this?” “Behind what?” “Giulietta’s abduction?” “Why would I do that?” “Answer me.” “If you remember,” Alexa said tightly, “I suggested her marriage to Janus. We need Cyprus to secure our trade routes. In fact, our future wealth depends on it. You seem over-friendly with the sultan’s ambassador. Should I be asking you the same?” “Believe me, that’s changing.” Stamping to the balcony, Alonzo glared through fretted shutters at a crowd on the Molo, the palace’s water terrace. Beyond them, to his left, the Riva degli Schiavoni was equally thronged. Most of those gathering were Arsenalotti. “Venice needs a duke who can control it,” he said.
airport security, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, global rebalancing, global supply chain, income inequality, informal economy, Julian Assange, labour mobility, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nixon shock, nuclear winter, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, trade route, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War
If this is bad news for U.S. foreign policy, it is worse news for many other countries, because America has acted for decades as the primary provider of global public goods. The American security presence in Europe and Asia has bolstered confidence in both regions that disputes and tensions need not provoke war. Europe can afford to invest in economic and political union rather than military hardware. The presence of U.S. troops in East Asia reassures the Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese that Japan does not need an army. The U.S. Navy safeguards important trade routes. Washington can’t single-handedly halt the proliferation of the world’s deadliest weapons; the past two decades have made that clear. But the United States has done more than any other country to ensure that nuclear development in states like North Korea and Iran comes at the highest possible cost and risk to discourage other would-be nuclear weapons states from following their example. Yet growing public concern over mounting federal debt virtually ensures that the United States will have to become more sensitive in coming years to costs and risks of its own when making potentially expensive strategic choices.
To create those jobs, the economy must grow, and to achieve that growth China needs access to oil, gas, metals, minerals, and advanced technology from outside the country. A blue-water navy can help safeguard that access and might one day partner with American vessels to do this. Beyond this mission, though, why should China take on the risks and burdens that come with heavier responsibilities abroad? The U.S. Navy patrols major trade routes and has helped in the past to limit the risk of conflict in every region of the world. China has benefited from that commitment. Beijing, of course, could dedicate huge amounts of money toward sharing this responsibility, but what incentive does it have to do so? The problem for China, and for everyone else, is that the United States has increasingly limited means to carry this weight—and Americans are likely to retreat from some of their overseas commitments faster than the Chinese, or anyone else, can afford to fill the vacuum.
-CHINA FRICTIONS Rhetorical flourishes (from both camps) aside, Beijing has had good reason to value American power and Washington’s willingness to use it over the past thirty years. A generation ago, China’s state-owned enterprises and political bureaucrats had little experience with potentially volatile emerging states in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, not to mention moving tankers through troubled waters. America’s willingness to play the global policeman has given China time to open and maintain trade routes and sea lanes, and develop trade and investment relations abroad. The willingness of successive U.S. presidents to pull punches on Beijing’s human rights record in favor of better trade relations created the makings of, if not a beautiful friendship, at least a profitable partnership. Despite the delay imposed by events in Tiananmen Square, the death of European and Soviet communism helped the aging Deng Xiaoping persuade China’s elite that only a rising standard of living would save the country’s one-party system and that a more ambitious experimentation with market-driven capitalism was the only way to get there.
Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P. W. Singer, August Cole
3D printing, Admiral Zheng, augmented reality, British Empire, energy security, Firefox, glass ceiling, global reserve currency, Google Earth, Google Glasses, IFF: identification friend or foe, Just-in-time delivery, Maui Hawaii, new economy, RAND corporation, reserve currency, RFID, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, stealth mode startup, trade route, Wall-E, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, zero day
The reminder of their ancient and recent past was another deliberate choice to set the scene for where he wanted to take them next. Wang pulled an imaginary trigger with his right pointer finger, and the smart-ring on it transmitted a wireless signal that initiated the presentation visuals his aide had sent ahead. Behind him, a 3-D hologram map of the Pacific appeared. Glowing red lines moved across the map, marking the history of China’s trade routes and military reach through the millennia. The lines moved out and then back in. Toward the end, a blue arc appeared, showing the spread of U.S. trade routes and military bases over the past two centuries. Eventually the blue lines reached across the globe. Then, as the decades closed in on the present, the red lines pushed back out, crossing with the blue. Wang didn’t need to explain this graphic; everyone knew its import. “I began with Master Sun’s ancient wisdom to remind us that while we all would like to think that we have regained our historic greatness, in reality we face a situation in which there is ‘no way out.’
They took a regime mired in corruption and on the brink of civil war and forged a locked-down country marching in the same direction, the nation’s business leaders and the military joined at the hip. “But net assessment, as they teach you back in the schoolhouse, isn’t only about looking outward; it’s also about knowing yourself and your own place in history.” A visual of two maps of the globe appeared, the first of British trading routes and colonies circa 1914, the second a current disposition of U.S. forces and bases, some eight hundred dots spread across the world. “Some say we’re fighting, or rather not fighting, a cold war with the Directorate, just like we did with the Soviet Union more than half a century ago. But that may not be the right case to learn from. About a hundred years back, the British Empire faced a problem much like ours today: How do you police an empire when you’ve got a shrinking economy relative to the world’s and a population no longer so excited to meet those old commitments?”
Then you won’t make assumptions about the benefits of using arms either.’ ” She smiled, but he saw her eyes scanning her glasses rather than looking directly at him. She was likely researching a retort. He realized that he had to move the discussion beyond the level of trading quotations. Wang turned to the wider group. “Of course, we are all aware of the reasons given for why it will never be our time. Our population demographics are not optimal, they say. Our trade routes are too vulnerable, they say. Our need for outside energy is too great, they say. These statements are all true. And they will always be true if we turn our backs on our duty to make our destiny manifest. The worst thing we can do is fear our own potential.” His finger clicked one last time, and around them played the famous scene of the tank in People’s Square crushing the old Communist Party’s riot-control truck, the crowd of protesters’ initial looks of surprise and then their celebration as they realized that the military was on their side.
Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day
But it was no less inevitable. Cities and regions along the overland trade routes that had flourished as centers of commerce and culture since antiquity—Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, the Black and Red Seas—declined into relative backwaters. Venice herself did not so much decline as start to fall behind. Her economic lords struggled long and bravely, trying in turns to pivot towards shipbuilding, manufacturing and agriculture, but their city-state was too poorly located to compete against emerging ocean-going empires. Venetians, like so many others, thought their long boom would last forever. They were unable to see the disruptive, non-linear shocks coming—the rise of Ottoman power and the discovery of more and better trade routes—to which their own accumulating trade success had made them so vulnerable.
Ten years later, his compatriot Vasco da Gama navigated around it, then up Africa’s east coast and across the Indian Ocean to the port of Calicut (or Kozhikode), the “City of Spices.” His voyage proved Ptolemy wrong: the Indian Ocean was not landlocked after all. That news, in turn, threatened the viability of communities all along the Silk Roads between Asia and Europe—vastly lucrative overland trade routes that had been built atop the belief that no sea route existed. Of less significance to contemporaries, but of more importance to world history, in 1492, Christopher Columbus—himself in search of a new sea route to Asia—hit upon the island of Hispaniola (today’s Haiti and Dominican Republic). He had found the New World.** Their successes fueled ever-bolder truth- and treasure-seeking. The Portuguese continued to develop their sea route eastward to Asia.
This variety is, first, geographic. In 1990, a majority of trade was confined to the developed world. Fully 60 percent of the global exchange in goods was made up of rich countries exporting to one other. Developing countries trading among themselves made up just 6 percent. But now those respective shares are approaching equality. Trade everywhere has grown, but it has grown twice as fast along the new trade routes that have opened between emerging markets. Rankings of the world’s container ports reflect this rebalancing. In 1990, all the world’s top 10 ports by annual volume were in developed economies. By 2014, 14 of the top 25 were in the developing world, and China by itself boasted 7 of the top 10. The world’s busiest container port since 2011, Shanghai, did not appear in the top 25 in 1990.9 The trade mix has also become more varied.
Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader
agricultural Revolution, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, clean water, colonial rule, discovery of the americas, illegal immigration, land reform, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, new economy, out of africa, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, surplus humans, the market place, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, urban sprawl, women in the workforce
Their inherited experience of the region encompassed the climatic fluctuations which had alternately drawn people into the region during periods of good rainfall and driven them out again when it reverted to desert (see Chapter 16). Contact with the highlands of the central Sahara and across the desert survived the climatic perturbations through a string of settlements, where pastoralist Berbers exploited the resources of isolated natural wells and oases.21 These connections, along which goods already passed sporadically from group to group across the desert, were the ready-made foundation of trade routes that flourished when the Phoenicians arrived in Carthage. Herodotus writes of the Berbers' Saharan trade, and their routes across the desert are recorded in paintings of loaded mules and horse-drawn carts the camel was not introduced to the Sahara until the second century AD) discovered at rock-shelter sites along the way.22 One route passed via Ghat in the Fezzan region of the northern Sahara, through the Hoggar mountains and down to the Niger River near Gao; another took a westerly route, skirting south of the Atlas mountains, through Morocco and Mauritania and on to the Niger River again.
For more than 1,000 years the Egyptians had maintained a colonial presence in Nubia, at first as a means of exploiting the resources of the region itself – principally gold, ivory, timber, animal products, and slaves – and subsequently to facilitate the transit of these goods from points further south when Nubian sources of supply were exhausted. But increasingly, as the Egyptian lines of communication lengthened and their authority abroad was weakened by political difficulties at home, Nubians took over sections of the trade. Eventually they controlled the entire trade route from Aswan to Khartoum and the lands beyond. With only modest resources of their own, Nubians had become rich and powerful from handling the resources of others. Predisposed towards the Egyptian model of centralized authority and power, the local Nubian rulers had created a powerful independent state by 1000 BC, known to the Egyptians as Kush. Once they had assumed total control of trading and cultural links, the kings of Kush subsequently became powerful enough to conquer even Egypt itself in 730 BC, where they ruled for more than sixty years – a period of Egyptian history known as the twenty-fifth or Ethiopian dynasty.
An authoritative review of the evidence concerning the ‘corridor through which men, things and ideas were said to have passed from the civilized world to Africa’, 14 concludes: ‘… any residual feeling that Egypt or Nubia must have been responsible for developments in sub-Saharan Africa will have to be abandoned and Bantu-speaking people accepted as innovators in their own right.’15 CHAPTER 21 The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea A mariners' handbook from the first century AD indicates that although trading vessels from Roman Egypt sailed to sub-Saharan Africa, the region offered meagre profits and attracted little interest. Two thousand years ago the patterns of civilization founded in Athens and Rome radiated across Europe to the Rhine and Britain in the north, and to the Atlantic coast of the Iberian peninsula in the west. Trade routes carried their influence across Asia to link up with patterns of civilization developing independently in China and India. The Mediterranean world was of course entirely under the sway of Rome – including North Africa and the resources of the Nile. At that time Rome had a population of close to 1 million people (no other city was as large until 1800, when a census recorded 959,310 people living in London) and the complexities of everyday life in Rome would not have been unfamiliar to residents of the modern urban world.
Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up by Philip N. Howard
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, national security letter, Network effects, obamacare, Occupy movement, packet switching, pension reform, prediction markets, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stuxnet, trade route, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day
Entrepreneurs have an easier time figuring out supply and demand. Military leaders have an easier time defending the empire, and political leaders have more information about public needs. The Romans had such an empire, because they built the roads and aqueducts that provided their empire structure and stability. The British also had such an empire, because they had a network of fortifications and a superior navy to manage their global trade routes. In this chapter I map out the expanding infrastructure of networked devices. I explore this domain with some hard data—a kind of census—on the size of the empire of connected things. Then I discuss some of the ways these networks of connected devices get used in political ways. When governments fail to protect us, and are unable to even warn the public of danger, we use digital media to build new systems of early warning.
The botnet that Amanda exposed could be very destructive if it is ever used, and some might even see her as a threat because she was fooling around with the world’s device networks. Still, in exposing these dark secrets, Amanda revealed a lot about what our internet is becoming. What’s in a Pax? The Pax Britannica was a period of history, between Napoleon’s defeat and World War I, during which the British Empire managed global affairs. London was the center of power, the British navy controlled the most important sea-trading routes, and relatively efficient bureaucracies put the world’s resources and people into the Empire’s service. Several aspects of the Pax Britannica may actually describe our future as much as that moment of our past. The British were strong because their network infrastructure gave them unparalleled levels of political, economic, and cultural control. The Pax Britannica was hardly a period of universal peace—it was a period of stability more than peace.
We need to develop a public policy that ensures that this internet serves us responsibly. We need to map the new world order of the pax technica. 3 NEW MAPS FOR THE NEW WORLD Maps are expressions of political power, both perceived and claimed. When the Romans set out to organize their expanding empire, they mapped the great lengths of roads and aqueducts that structured their social world. British cartographers provided merchants with maps of the best trading routes and equipped military officers with maps that identified the best places for fortifications. In recent years, we’ve started producing new kinds of digital maps that reveal new kinds of power. What new maps do we need to understand the new world order? The usual map of the world reveals a patchwork of countries. Yet there is a surprising number of people and places that aren’t really connected to the countries they are supposed to be part of.
Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe by Noam Chomksy
British Empire, cuban missile crisis, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, energy security, Howard Zinn, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Malacca Straits, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks
President Obama recently secured military basing rights in Australia and formed a new free-trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which excludes China. Is this move related to the South China Sea? Yes, in particular that, but it’s more general. It has to do with the “classic security dilemma” that I mentioned before, referring to the strategic analysis literature. China’s efforts to gain some measure of control over nearby seas and its major trade routes are inconsistent with what the US calls “freedom of the seas”—a term that doesn’t extend to Chinese military maneuvers in the Caribbean or even most of the world’s oceans, but does include the US right to carry out military maneuvers and establish naval bases everywhere. For different reasons, China’s neighbors are none too happy about its actions, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, which have competing claims to these waters, but others as well.61 The focus of US policy is slowly shifting from the Middle East—though that remains—to the Pacific, as openly announced.
To what degree are current maritime sovereignty disputes related to oil and gas reserves? In part. There are underseas fossil-fuel resources, and a good deal of contention among regional states about rights to them. But it’s more than that. The new US base on Jeju Island in South Korea, bitterly protested by islanders, is not primarily concerned with energy resources. Other issues have to do with the Malacca Straits, China’s main trade route, which does involve oil and gas but also much else.63 In the background is the more general concern over parts of the world escaping from US control and influence, the contemporary variant of Grand Area policies. Much of this extends the practice of earlier hegemonic powers, though the scale of US post–World War II planning and implementation has been in a class by itself because of its unique wealth and power.
The Origins of the British by Stephen Oppenheimer
Cunliffe neatly resolves some of the reasons for Strabo’s disbelief at Pytheas’ travel times by using his own text to suggest that Pytheas, as a Greek pioneer, actually took this trade route across Keltiké. By his discoveries further north, Pytheas could have opened up an opportunity for the rest of the Mediterranean to bypass the Punic/Phoenician Atlantic coastal monopoly in their search for tin (Figure 1.2).36 However, if Cunliffe is correct, then Pytheas, with such satisfactory travel arrangements, is unlikely to have been travelling alone, without a courier, or as a novice tourist. In other words, he would have been taking advantage of a pre-existing river– land–river–sea trade route worked out by the established local inhabitants of Keltiké. According to the Central European home land theory, these locals could not have been Celts when Pytheas made his trip in the fourth century BC since, as Cunliffe goes on to show,37 the Celts would have been either still in their Central European homeland or moving east into northern Italy.
Avenius says that Tartessus traded with the Oestrimnides, which would certainly fit the archaeology of the long-term trade between the Cadiz (then known as Gadir) area and north-west Spain.29 One might even add the peninsula of Brittany, also a source of tin, to the ‘peninsular’ tin islands of the Cassiterides. The tip of the Breton Peninsula is nearer to that of Cornwall (Land’s End) than it is to any other part of France outside Brittany. The lack of any reference by Avenius to the English Channel highlights this key geographical feature, which through the ages determined and directed the Atlantic coastal trade route from Spain and southern France and then along the western fringes of the British Isles (Figure 1.2).30 Cornwall would make sense as one of the Oestrimnides, because Avenius goes on to say that it is two days’ sailing from there to the Sacred Isle (Ireland), inhabited by the race of Hiberni, with the island of the Albions (Britain) nearby. Finally getting to Celts – the ultimate point of the quote – Avenius’ report of Himilco’s sea voyage takes us further north.
The derivation of the name may be from the Celtic mother-goddess Brigit, also known as Brigantia. Ptolemy mentions in his Geography three tribal locations with this name, one in northern England, another in south-east Ireland and Brigantinus Portus of the northern Gallaeci tribe. Also known as Brigantium Hispaniae, this was the ancient seaport of La Coruña in northwest Spain and the western terminus of a major trade route in tin, gold, lead and silver.25 There was also a clutch of similar place/tribal names connected with Lake Constance on today’s Swiss/Austrian border. The people of Central Raetia were called the Brigantii. Their tribal capital was Brigantium Raetiae (now Bregenz), and Lake Constance itself was then called Brigantinus Lacus.26 John Collis has an interesting map on which he shows the relevance of such Brigant-name links between the Continent and various parts of the British Isles.
Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, megacity, Mercator projection, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day
India is the longest stretch, and while the government has upgraded the northern flank of the “Golden Quadrilateral” from Delhi to Kolkata, much of the fifteen-hundred-kilometer route remains a morass of belching trucks, rickshaws, and stray cattle. Beyond the tedious border crossing into Bangladesh lie the final five hundred kilometers of swerving traffic and broken-down trucks to the port of Chittagong. Over the years that I’ve driven the Grand Trunk Road’s various national segments from the Hindu Kush Mountains to the Bay of Bengal, I’ve been on the lookout for archaeological and architectural reminders that this trade route predates the nations it crosses by more than two thousand years. From the ancient Mauryan Empire to the colonial British, the Grand Trunk Road has been upgraded and renamed every few centuries. Whatever name it goes by, across all of South Asia everyone knows it simply as the GT Road. Kipling had a more elegant term for this great artery: “a river of life.” Even if you merely fly this route, you can look down and see the slanted Radcliffe Line separating India and Pakistan just east of Lahore that so blatantly (and senselessly) bisects a perfectly organic natural geography.
Jordan, Syria, and Iraq have served as the eastern edge of the Roman Empire, the seat of great caliphates, and the site of European competition for spheres of influence, but they have only ever been powerful when unified. Unlike the caliphate eras, however, the future Pax Arabia should have multiple capitals such as Cairo, Dubai, and Baghdad—a borderless archipelago of connected urban nodes. If one rule of counterinsurgency is to find, protect, and build stable enclaves, that is also the right bottom-up approach to replacing Arab colonial cartography with a more legitimate order of urban hubs and their trade routes. The Ottoman era Hejaz Railway, which stretched from Istanbul to Mecca, with branches to Cairo and even Haifa in present-day Israel, is precisely the intercity model that should guide our thinking. Arabs reject a restoration of Turkish or Persian hegemony, but if they ever want to recover the vast geographic strength they enjoyed a millennium ago, it will have to be through connective cartography.
*8 Europe produces 90 percent of all the world’s wind power, and China most of the remaining 10 percent. CHAPTER 8 INFRASTRUCTURE ALLIANCES GETTING GRAND STRATEGY RIGHT Geopolitics has for centuries been synonymous with the conquest of territory, the domination of one’s neighbors and rivals. Today the principle could simply be called competitive connectivity: The most connected power wins. States must protect their borders, but what matters are which lines they control: trade routes and cross-border infrastructures. All great strategists know the importance of the saying “Amateurs talk strategy; professionals talk logistics.” Empires have always focused on infrastructure as a tool of extending influence. The Romans and the Ottomans built sturdy roads stretching far from their capitals and placed these on maps used by armies and traders. From the fifteenth century onward, European colonial empires built standing supply lines and overseas administrative capitals across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order by Parag Khanna
Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, complexity theory, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, knowledge economy, land reform, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Pax Mongolica, pirate software, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Potemkin village, price stability, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, special economic zone, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce
Few in Azerbaijan know precisely what the European Union is, but because they are sure it is preferable to the Russian-dominated CIS still fewer want to be excluded from it. But Azerbaijan already is part of Europe. Though it depends on European investment to develop non-oil sectors such as wine, citrus, and cotton, thousands of European energy-sector employees—from oil-platform riggers to executives—also depend on high-paying jobs in Baku, from which pipelines extend around the Caspian Sea’s southern rim, superimposed on ancient trade routes. The Caucasus may be the most distant and troublesome corner of the West’s East, but it is also the corner on which Europe’s future as a self-sufficient superpower most depends. CONCLUSION: STRETCHING EUROPE THE “COMMON EUROPEAN House” is growing far larger than historian A.J.P. Taylor ever could have expected, turning into a multitiered commonwealth of members, partners, and associates with varying degrees of privileges, commitments, and subsidies.
Its “new security concept” then sought to bind countries close to China by initiating confidence-building measures among the original “Shanghai Five” (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) to confront their common “three evils”: separatism, terrorism, and extremism.4 Like NATO in the Caucasus, the SCO sets the common rules and procedures for customs and border checkpoints, upgrades highways along ancient trade routes, and coordinates joint counternarcotics activities. What began as a forum for anti-American rhetoric is now considered by some to be either the “NATO of the East” or an energy club of oil-rich despots. “The SCO isn’t waiting for NATO to get things done,” warned an Uzbek official intimately involved with the SCO process. “Our sherpas are in continuous contact, and our defense officials are cooperating as well.”
Soon it will be possible to travel from Aberdeen to Singapore or Seoul on the Trans-Asian Railway Network, whose various sections have been under construction since the 1960s. Barbarians retreating across the steppe once watched their larger enemies weaken with distance from their core, but today China’s growing reach along its infrastructural axes is steadily and confidently compressing the Central Asian space. CHAPTER 10 KAZAKHSTAN: “HAPPINESS IS MULTIPLE PIPELINES” NO ONE COMES to Kazakhstan for the weather. But much like dominating trade routes ensured geopolitical advantage centuries ago, today controlling the flow of oil and gas pipelines brings profits and political ties. The combined oil reserves of the Caspian Sea are estimated at over two hundred billion barrels (as compared with the Persian Gulf’s proven reserves of over six hundred billion barrels), making the region indispensable as an alternative source of oil for both the West and the East.
Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, automated trading system, bank run, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buttonwood tree, Claude Shannon: information theory, Corn Laws, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, fiat currency, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Grace Hopper, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, packet switching, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, railway mania, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
The bill passed and Boulton and Watt had the patent on Atmospheric Steam Engines (with cool condensers) until 1800, even though it still didn’t work that well. *** The Brits were at war on and off with the French for centuries, but never more so than in the 18th century over territories in the New CANNONS TO STEAM 25 World, especially in Canada over fur, in the West Indies over sugar, cotton and rum, and over trade routes to central Asia. Add to that those rebellious, thankless colonists from Massachusetts to Georgia. King George needed cannons for his troops in the American Colonies as well as for his warships to keep the French on their side of the English Channel. Back to John Wilkinson, the Iron Master of Shropshire, who had a precision cannon-boring tool, which was in essence a big monster lathe. This tool cut true, making highly effective cannons with ever so narrow “windage”, the gap between a cannon’s barrel and the cannon ball.
Bookbinder-turned-physics wizard Michael Faraday showed that when wires were rotated next to magnets, they created electricity. Turbines, driven by steam engines or flowing water, would be the perfect solution for generating cheap electricity in the 20th century. What a long way the steam engine had come. Watt improved the Newcomen design and improved its power from 3-5 horsepower to maybe 25 horsepower. By the end of the 19th Century, steam power had increased by a factor of 1000, on a warship to protect trade routes, trade enabled by those very same steam engines. *** I think the lesson here is not any specific piece part for computing, but instead the parallels of the industrial revolution and the digital revolution. Elasticity and scale, or the ability to constantly lower the price of goods and services, drove the industrial era. So too, the parallels of the microprocessor and networking with steam engines and transportation.
These trading companies were provided access to capital to build ships and finance trading expeditions, and the era of organized capital markets for the English was born. On Dec 31, 1600, when everyone else was singing Auld Lang Syne, 218 knights and merchants in the City of London created the East Indies Company, and were given exclusive rights by the crown to all trade in the East Indies. At the time, this was no lay-up as the Dutch and those nasty Portuguese controlled the trade routes. But the EIC, with a trading business and its own private military to protect it, became the largest Non Government Organization. Think Exxon with weapons. The creation of the East Indies Company was the first of many government-anointed trading companies that formed the backbone of mercantilism. Free enterprise was not yet ready for primetime, the 62 HOW WE GOT HERE monarchy was having too much fun doling out favors to friends of the crown.
An Island to Oneself: The Story of Six Years on a Desert Island by Tom Neale, Noel Barber
Through the glasses I saw him run to a tiny boat, push it into the water, and a few minutes later he had a sail up to help him as he rowed towards the Manua Tele. Within twenty minutes he was climbing aboard with the agility of a boy of twenty. "Not bad for fifty-eight," he grinned; and this was my introduction to a man who had done what millions of us dream of doing, but never seem to do. For Tom Neale, a New Zealander, had left the world behind for life alone on a coral island so remote from the trade routes that he was fortunate if one ship a year called by chance to disturb his solitude. What had made him do it? Was he intelligent — or was he slightly mad? He didn't look a crank, as he sat there on the deck, the Manua Tele rolling gently in the swell. Tall and spare, his skin was stained dark brown; he wore tennis shoes, a pair of ragged shorts, ("Usually I wear a strip of pareu, but I thought there might be women aboard!")
He looked ill, but I remember how his eagerness and enthusiasm mounted as he started to talk about "our" islands and told me of his desire to write more books about them. We liked each other on sight, which surprised me, for I do not make friends easily; and it was after lunch — washed down with a bottle of Andy's excellent rum — that Frisbie first mentioned Suvarov. Of course, I had heard of this great lagoon, with its coral reef stretching nearly fifty miles in circumference, but I had never been there, for it was off the trade routes, and shipping rarely passed that way. Because its reef is submerged at high tide — leaving only a line of writhing white foam to warn the navigator of its perils — Suvarov, however, is clearly marked on all maps. Yet Suvarov is not the name of an island, but of an atoll, and the small islets inside the lagoon each have their own names. The islets vary in size from Anchorage, the largest, which is half a mile long, to One Tree Island, the smallest, which is merely a mushroom of coral.
Two weeks were to elapse before the ship called to pick me up. Looking back, although I had to be very careful about moving around and was always conscious of my back, these were the happiest weeks of my life. 12. Farewell to the Island LONG BEFORE I could set eyes on her, I knew it must be the Manihiki schooner. That smudge dusting the horizon where the sea met the sky could only mark her arrival, for no other schooner would be so far off the trade routes. And though I had been anxiously scanning the horizon for days, worried about my back, a sudden thought now hit me like a blow between the eyes, a truth I had stubbornly refused to admit until now. Within a few hours I was going to be aboard that schooner. And once there I might never see Suvarov again. I can never forget that moment. I sat down on my beach chair to steady myself, and sliced open a drinking nut as I watched the sail take shape.
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Doomsday Clock, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, Francisco Pizarro, global village, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, market bubble, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pink-collar, place-making, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, upwardly mobile, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery
I call this pattern the “advantages of backwardness,”* and it is as old as social development itself. When agricultural villages began turning into cities (soon after 4000 BCE in the West and 2000 BCE in the East), for instance, access to the particular soils and climates that had favored the initial emergence of agriculture began to matter less than access to great rivers that could be tapped to irrigate fields or used as trade routes. And as states kept expanding, access to great rivers started mattering less than access to metals, or to longer trade routes, or to sources of manpower. As social development changes, the resources it demands change too, and regions that once counted for little may discover advantages in their backwardness. It is always hard to say in advance how the advantages of backwardness will play out: not all backwardness is equal. Four hundred years ago, for instance, it seemed to many Europeans that the booming plantations of the Caribbean had a brighter future than North America’s farms.
Each built up Arab client kingdoms, Persia absorbed southern Arabia into its empire, and Byzantium’s Ethiopian allies invaded Yemen to balance this. Arabia was being drawn into the core, and Arabs were creating their own kingdoms in the desert, building oasis towns along trade routes, and converting to Christianity. The great Persian-Byzantine wars convulsed this Arab periphery, and when the empires fell apart, Arab strongmen battled over the ruins. In western Arabia, Mecca and Medina (Figure 7.6) fought through the 620s over trade routes, their war bands fanning out across the desert to find allies and ambush each other’s caravans. Old imperial frontiers meant little in this game, and by the time Medina’s leader took over Mecca in 630, his raiders were already fighting in Palestine. There Arabs loyal to Medina clashed with Arabs loyal to Mecca while other Arabs, paid by Constantinople, fought both groups.
In the West it shifted from the Hilly Flanks (in the age of early farmers) southward to the river valleys of Mesopotamia and Egypt as states emerged and then westward into the Mediterranean Basin as trade and empires became more important. In the East it migrated northward from the area between the Yellow and Yangzi rivers to the Yellow River basin itself, then westward to the Wei River and the region of Qin. A second consequence was that the West’s lead in social development fluctuated, partly because these vital resources—wild plants and animals, rivers, trade routes, manpower—were distributed in different ways across each core and partly because in both cores the processes of expansion and incorporation of new resources were violent and unstable, pushing the paradox of development into overdrive. The growth of Western states in the second millennium BCE, for example, made the Mediterranean Sea not only a highway for commerce but also a highway for forces of disruption.
Frommer's Israel by Robert Ullian
airport security, British Empire, car-free, East Village, haute cuisine, Khartoum Gordon, Maui Hawaii, place-making, Silicon Valley, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yom Kippur War
A S I D E T R I P TO P E T R A continued to be the center of a highly profitable trading route, with connections to all parts of the Roman Empire. In the early 4th century, Christianity became the dominant religion of the Nabataeans. Important churches were built in every Nabatean community; the bishops of Petra participated in ecumenical councils that helped shape the development of the early church. As the Roman Empire collapsed, and the amount of trade moving on the exotic desert routes through Petra shrank, the city’s economy faltered. What trade there was tended to be shipped up the Red Sea to Egypt, bypassing the overland route through Nabatean territory. A series of earthquakes in late Byzantine times hastened the Nabataeans’ decline. After Petra’s conquest by the armies of the newly formed Muslim religion in A.D. 633, traditional trading routes changed, and the region became a forgotten backwater.
Ask the driver to let you off at the closest stop, which is 1km (1⁄2 mile) from the church. C A P E R N A U M ( K E FA R N A H U M ) This site marks the site of Kfar Nahum (the village of Nahum), a lakeside town where Jesus preached and his disciples, Peter and Andrew, made their homes. During the lifetime of Jesus, in the 1st century A.D., Kfar Nahum was a prosperous fishing community, port, and way station on the main trade route from Israel’s Mediterranean coast to Damascus. It even had its own Customs House and was probably the most cosmopolitan of the lakeside towns until the building of the Roman resort of Tiberias, in the mid–1st century. The town was abandoned around A.D. 700 and never reconstituted. Today, you’ll find a modern Franciscan monastery, which was built on the abandoned site in 1894, as well as ancient excavations spanning 6 centuries.
When Israel’s War of Independence ended, the fragile scrolls were unraveled, in some cases using surgical instruments. Only then was it learned that the only scrolls of the Bible to survive from the time when The Temple stood in Jerusalem had been restored both to the Jewish people and to the world. than the communal settlement of a religious sect. Qumran lies at a strategic point in an ancient trade route: Goods from Arabia and Africa were shipped up the Red Sea to Eilat, and then overland through the Arava Valley to the southern tip of The Dead Sea, where they were floated across to Qumran. At Qumran, cargo was unloaded and sent along the ancient Salt Road to Jerusalem. According to this theory, the otherworldly Essenes would not have settled at the crux of a major commercial route, but in a more remote location such as the caves in the mountains “above Ein Gedi.”
Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay
3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kangaroo Route, knowledge worker, kremlinology, labour mobility, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Yogi Berra
“All of them.” To the jaundiced American eye, New Songdo and its clones might appear to be fantasies left over from the Bubble. But dismissing them as the product of Asia’s infatuation with all things mega misses the carefully calibrated machinery underneath. It’s a machine the rest of us ignore at our peril as we enter the next phase of globalization—one marked by the shift from West to East and the trade routes up for grabs in between. It even has a name, which Stan Gale pronounced for me with a flourish: “It’s an aerotropolis.” It isn’t his word. The man who taught it to him is John Kasarda, a professor at the University of North Carolina who has made a name for himself with his radical (and some might say bone-chilling) vision of the future: rather than banish airports to the edge of town and then do our best to avoid them, we will build this century’s cities around them.
Taken on its face, it’s a reduction-ist worldview, but his underlying point is that our slightest whims, multiplied several billion times and duly noted by the marketplace, have already had the effect of conjuring aerotropoli where you’d least expect them, transforming everything and everyone they touch. It’s no wonder, then, that developing nations such as China and India have been the aerotropolis’s most eager adopters. They see it as an indispensable weapon for hijacking the world’s trade routes. China’s grand plans are perhaps more ambitious than anyone realizes—it intends to keep adding factories, corner the market on green energy technologies, double down on its export-driven growth strategy, and chart a New Silk Road to markets in Africa and the Middle East. The goal is to keep a lid on dissent by lifting another six hundred million citizens out of absolute poverty. The plan is to pack up the factory towns along the coast and move them inland.
Frictionlessness is the product of a whole host of attributes, many of which are invisible: tariff-free trade zones, faster customs clearance, fewer and faster permits, and a right-to-work workforce that knows what it’s doing. “It’s the way you reduce time, the way you reduce costs, the way you reduce space,” Kasarda says. “The aerotropolis is where the elastic mile, the friction of space, community without propinquity, and trade routes all come together.” They combine to cut costs and red tape for corporations, often at the expense of their employees and the taxpayers, in exchange (theoretically) for greater gains for all down the road. Companies wanted governments that would respond to their needs unflinchingly, and so he would give them one that was. This is why Dubai is so dazzling to Kasarda; China too. It took as long to air the grievances surrounding Heathrow’s Terminal 5 as it did to build Beijing’s epic new one from raw ground.
Travels in West Africa by Mary Henrietta Kingsley
Each chief takes a certain understood value in goods as a commission for himself — nyeno — giving the trader, as a consideration for this, an understood bond to assist him in getting in the trust granted to his village. This nyeno he utilises in buying trade stuff from villages not on the trade route. Among the Fans the men who have got the goods stand by with these to trade for rubber with the general public and bachelors of the village, in a way I will presently explain. In tribes like Ajumbas, Adooma, etc., the men having the goods travel off, as traders, among their various bush tribes, similarly paying their nyeno, and so by the time the goods reach the final producing men, only a small portion of them is left, but their price has necessarily risen. Still it is quite absurd for a casual white traveller, who may have dropped in on the terminus of a trade route, to cry out regarding the small value the collector (who is often erroneously described as the producer) gets for his stuff, compared to the price it fetches in Europe.
This question struck me as requiring explanation. The result of my investigations, and the answers I have received from the men themselves, show that there is a reason why the natives do not succumb every time to the temptation to kill the trader, and take his goods, and this is twofold: firstly, all trade in West Africa follows definite routes, even in the wildest parts of it; and so a village far away in the forest, but on the trade route, knows that as a general rule twice a year, a trader will appear to purchase its rubber and ivory. If he does not appear somewhere about the expected time, that village gets uneasy. The ladies are impatient for their new clothes; the gentlemen half wild for want of tobacco; and things coming to a crisis, they make inquiries for the trader down the road, one village to another, and then, if it is found that a village has killed the trader, and stolen all his goods, there is naturally a big palaver, and things are made extremely hot, even for equatorial Africa, for that village by the tobaccoless husbands of the clothesless wives.
Then when the black trader turns up with his boxes of goods, it kills him, has some for supper, smokes the rest, and takes it and the goods, and departs to found new homes in another district. The bush trade I have above sketched is the bush trade with the Fans. In those districts on the southern banks of the Ogowe the main features of the trade, and the trader’s life are the same, but the details are more intricate, for the Igalwa trader from Lembarene, Fernan Vaz, or Njole, deals with another set of trading tribes, not first hand with the collectors. The Fan villages on the trade routes may, however, be regarded as trade depots, for to them filters the trade stuff of the more remote villages, so the difference is really merely technical, and in all villages alike the same sort of thing occurs. The Igalwa or M’pongwe trader arrives with the goods he has received from the white trader, and there are great rejoicing and much uproar as his chests and bundles and demijohns are brought up from the canoe.
airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, colonial rule, computer age, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, illegal immigration, index card, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning, women in the workforce
But to the west and north lay new possibilities for commerce and influence. Bhutto wanted, as she said later, to “market Pakistan internationally as . . . the crossroads to the old silk roads of trade between Europe and Asia.” Like every young student on the subcontinent, she had grown up with history texts that chronicled invasions across the Khyber Pass. These ancient conquests had been inspired by lucrative trade routes that ran from Central Asia to Delhi. “So I thought, ‘Okay, control of the trade routes is a way to get my country power and prestige.’ ” She imagined Pakistani exporters trucking televisions and washing machines to the newly independent Muslim republics of former Soviet Central Asia. She imagined cotton and oil flowing to Pakistan from Central Asia and Iran.23 But when she and her advisers looked at the map in 1994, they saw Afghanistan in the way, an impassable cauldron of warlords, a country engulfed by a civil war fueled by Pakistan’s own intelligence service.
It was only the Arab volunteers—from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria, and other countries, who had been raised in an entirely different culture, spoke their own language, and preached their own interpretations of Islam while fighting far from their homes and families—who later advocated suicide attacks. Afghan jihadists, tightly woven into family, clan, and regional social networks, never embraced suicide tactics in significant numbers.18 Afghan fighters also often refused to attack bridges or trade routes if they were important to civilian traders or farmers. The Afghan tolerance of civilian commerce in the midst of dire conflict frustrated visiting Americans. A congressman on tour would fly over Afghanistan, see a bridge standing unmolested, and complain loudly on his return to Washington that it ought to be blown up. But when the satellite-mapped attack plan was passed down through ISI to a particular Afghan commando team, the Afghans would often shrug off the order or use the supplied weapons to hit a different target of their own choosing.
Naqibullah and his allies, unable or unwilling to resist their youthful and highly motivated attackers, simply melted away.28 By mid-November the Taliban’s six-member shura ruled not only Kandahar but its airport, where they captured six MiG-21 fighter jets and four Mi-17 transport helicopters. They seized tanks and armored personnel carriers.29 They announced that all highway roadblocks would be dismantled, all non-Taliban militia disarmed, and all criminals subject to swift Islamic punishments. They lynched a few resisters to make their point. Benazir Bhutto was suddenly the matron of a new Afghan faction. The Taliban might provide a battering ram to open trade routes to Central Asia, as she hoped, yet they also presented complications. Pakistani intelligence already had one Pashtun client, Hekmatyar. The ISI Afghan bureau was in turmoil. The Rawalpindi army command had recently appointed a secular-minded, British-influenced general, Javed Ashraf Qazi, to take charge of ISI. Qazi’s immediate predecessor, the bearded Islamist missionary Javed Nasir, had led the intelligence service toward overt religious preaching.
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
clean water, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Donner party, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, means of production, new economy, North Sea oil, Piper Alpha, polynesian navigation, profit motive, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transcontinental railway, unemployed young men
Finally, the new afterword, “Angkor’s Rise and Fall,” describes recent findings that go a long way toward resolving another great romantic mystery from the past. The Khmer Empire, with its capital at Angkor, used to be Southeast Asia’s most powerful state, and Angkor’s population then was more than 20 times that of London’s at that time, around 1200. Tree-ring records now show that the region’s monsoon climate became more unstable, and that floods, droughts, deforestation, enemies, and shifting trade routes combined to bring down Angkor. For the first time in history, we face the risk of a global decline. But we also are the first to enjoy the opportunity of learning quickly from developments in societies anywhere else in the world today, and from what has unfolded in societies at any time in the past. That’s why I wrote this book. PART ONE MODERN MONTANA CHAPTER 1 Under Montana’s Big Sky Stan Falkow’s story ■ Montana and me ■ Why begin with Montana?
Ironically, raising sheep in Greenland doesn’t pay even in the short run: the government has to give each sheep-farming family about $14,000 each year to cover their losses, provide them with an income, and induce them to carry on with the sheep. The Inuit play a major role in the story of the demise of Viking Greenland. They constituted the biggest difference between the histories of the Greenland and Iceland Norse: while the Icelanders did enjoy the advantages of a less daunting climate and shorter trade routes to Norway compared to their Greenland brethren, the Icelanders’ clearest advantage lay in not being threatened by the Inuit. At minimum, the Inuit represent a missed opportunity: the Greenland Vikings would have had a better chance of surviving if they had learned from or traded with the Inuit, but they didn’t. At maximum, Inuit attacks on or threats to the Vikings may have played a direct role in the Vikings’ extinction.
The U.S. is the world’s leading importer nation: we import many necessities (especially oil and some rare metals) and many consumer products (cars and consumer electronics), as well as being the world’s leading importer of investment capital. We are also the world’s leading exporter, particularly of food and of our own manufactured products. Our own society opted long ago to become interlocked with the rest of the world. That’s why political instability anywhere in the world now affects us, our trade routes, and our overseas markets and suppliers. We are so dependent on the rest of the world that if, 30 years ago, you had asked a politician to name the countries most geopolitically irrelevant to our interests because of their being so remote, poor, and weak, the list would surely have begun with Afghanistan and Somalia, yet they subsequently became recognized as important enough to warrant our dispatching U.S. troops.
The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby
1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War
But breaking that hole required curiosity, luck, determination, and the courage to go against the grain and withstand the powerful pressures to conform. Just as the capitalist system has global reach today, so its beginnings, if not its causes, can be traced to the joining of the two halves of the globe. Europe, Africa, and Asia had been cut off from the Americas until the closing years of the fifteenth century. Even contact between Europe and Asia was confined to a few overland trade routes used to transport lightweight commodities like pepper and cinnamon. Then European curiosity about the rest of the world infected a few audacious souls, among them Prince Henry the Navigator. Prince Henry never left Portugal, but he funded a succession of trips down the west coast of Africa. Merchants, enticed by a trade in gold and slaves along the western Africa coast, increased the number of voyages.
The thrill of seasoning sent Dutch, French, and English trading companies throughout the Indies to establish trading outposts. Going by sea made it much easier to carry heavy cargo than overland. Since the time of the Roman Empire, Europeans had had some contact overland with the Orient, but famines and epidemics could wipe out commercial connections for decades. Arab traders were often successful in rupturing the European trade routes as well. It took experienced merchants like the Venetian family of Marco Polo to carry on this hazardous trade. The lateen-rigged ships and recently discovered sea routes gave Europeans a cheaper, safer way of establishing what turned out to be permanent contact by sea. Four years after Dias made his way to the Orient, Columbus’s pioneering route to the New World triggered another round of explorations.
The creation of great wealth distinguished capitalism from preceding economic systems, but so did the reorganization of labor and the enlargement of the pool of consumers to buy the new products. The earth-spanning commercial networks that Europeans began laying down in the sixteenth century vastly increased the places where capitalists could send their goods. When capitalism acquired its momentum, investors didn’t stay put in Europe. They followed the trajectory of Europe’s trading empires. The significance of expanded trade routes and partners could not possibly be overstated, but the key point to make about trade in a history of capitalism is that it had existed for centuries before capitalism and would have continued to flourish without it. Because we can see the obvious connections between the sixteenth-century voyages to the Orient and the New World, we’re tempted to connect it seamlessly to the eighteenth-century invention of the steam engine and the emergence of full-blown capitalism as though the one followed the other inexorably, but there is no inevitability in life.
The Last Lingua Franca: English Until the Return of Babel by Nicholas Ostler
barriers to entry, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, open economy, Republic of Letters, Scramble for Africa, statistical model, trade route, upwardly mobile
But such large-scale languages were known in the West too: in London, in AD 1600, the foremost English intellectual of his age, Francis Bacon, was claiming that if his writings had any hope of a future, it lay in their translation into Latin, a language of southern Europe then over two millennia old. World languages are not just a modern phenomenon: they are at least as old as world empires, global trade routes, and proselytizing religions. Many, many more can be found in the world’s history. But they are strangely fleeting: Greek is now restricted to the small country of its origin; Arabic (outside the mosque) is not current north of Morocco or west of Iraq; and neither Sanskrit nor Latin are in active use outside small priestly enclaves. Despite the appearance of permanence that they always offer in their heyday, global languages tend to wane after they wax.
Kyrgyzstan, southern Kazakhstan) all the way along the Silk Road through Khotan and Gansu to the Chinese capital Chang’an, with outlying colonies northward in the Ordos loop of the Yellow River (in Inner Mongolia), and near Lake Baikal in Siberia.17 Inscriptions in Sogdian, which often show a link to the Samarkand area, have been found near the newly built highway across the Himalayas between China and modern Pakistan, demonstrating that, in the fourth to sixth centuries AD, Sogdian speakers were, at the very least, responsible for most of the graffiti on this trade route to India and hence were quite likely present in major northern cities of that country.18 The Sogdian monk known as Kang Senghui, whose surname Kang shows that his family came from Samarkand, and who became a famous translator of Buddhist literature in the Chinese metropolis of Luoyang ca AD 250, had been born in Hanoi, of a family that had been resident (for trade) in India. There is a report too of one Maniakh, a Sog-dian merchant, heading a Turkic trade delegation that went round Sassa-nian Persia to reach Constantinople in AD 567.19 But only in one period and area (namely, among the Turks in Xinjiang from the seventh to mid-ninth centuries) does Sogdian seem to have been accepted as an elite language by non-Sogdians and so perhaps become a true lingua-franca in our sense.20 But apart from spreading their language, Sogdians had a considerable reputation, especially in Chinese sources.
Henning identified some forty, apologizing that he could not discern any particular domains, and it is indeed difficult: disappointment, trouble, nib, topsy-turvy, mountaintop, plain, frog (two words), owl, ornament, stoning, tooth decay, winepress . . . All human life seems to be here. Given the Sog-dians’ mercantile reputation, it is surprising not to see more words for more serious, gainful activities, but there is only alfagdan ‘earn’, from ax . Having fifteen hundred years of their own civilization to look back on when they supplanted the Sogdians on their principal trade routes, perhaps the Persians had little to learn in arts of expression from their northeastern neighbors.38 But de la Vaissière has noted among them a cluster of words for sensory indulgence (r ‘desire’ and also ru de ‘greedy’ are identical in the two languages; rab xe ‘lust’ is from Sogdian arp x; bal d ‘depraved’ from pa t ; fude ‘frivolous’ from ‘adulterous’). These certainly correspond with some of the few graphic scenes that have survived of Sogdians at play.
The Price of Everything: And the Hidden Logic of Value by Eduardo Porter
Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Credit Default Swap, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, happiness index / gross national happiness, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, new economy, New Urbanism, pension reform, Peter Singer: altruism, pets.com, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, ultimatum game, unpaid internship, urban planning, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, young professional
Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index tripled in real terms between January 1985 and December 1989, only to fall 60 percent over the next two and a half years. The very concept of a financial bubble is three hundred years old, added to the vernacular of finance in 1720 when French, Dutch, and British investors succumbed to euphoria over the potential of new trade routes across the Atlantic—pushing up stock prices before they ended in a precipitous crash. The British South Seas Company was established to buy the debt of the crown. To make money, it was given a royal charter to exploit trade routes between Africa, Europe, and Spain’s colonies in America. Spain and Britain being at war, the routes were of dubious value. But that didn’t stop investors from jumping on the vaunted opportunity. The share price of the South Seas Company soared. So did the shares of the maritime insurers covering its trips.
Investment decisions, he thought, are the result of “animal spirits—of a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.” Robert Shiller, an economist at Yale, has proposed a model based on Keynes’s insight. In it, rationality takes a hike: a plausible new economic opportunity—say the Internet or new trade routes across the Atlantic—leads early investors to make a lot of money. This generates enthusiasm. The prices of the hot new asset—dot-com stocks, shares in shipping companies, whatever—are bid up as investors rush to partake of the profits. This leads to euphoria. Eventually the investments overrun the underlying logic. Investors see the price of stocks go up and assume they will continue to do so.
The Outcast Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
If he reached the rails he might be able to jump before Atilo struck. Only then the Regent would have him hung for cowardice. The look on the messenger’s face said he knew he was doomed either way. “Those are the Council’s orders, my lord.” “Damn the Council. I’m coming ashore.” “You’ll be arrested.” Even Lord Atilo looked shocked at that. “I’ve just sunk the Mamluk fleet. Saved Cyprus from capture and protected our trade routes. Do you really think anyone would dare?” “My lord. Your orders…” Atilo il Mauros wanted to say that no one gave him orders. Except that wasn’t true: Duchess Alexa did; her son would have done had he not been simple. And Prince Alonzo, the Regent of Venice, also had the right. “I’ve fought storms for three days. My ship is battered. My crew are exhausted. I did this to bring you news of our victory.”
There, now she was crying. Standing, Giulietta felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to find Marco wide-eyed and offering her a purple scarf. Having wiped her nose, she hesitated about handing it back. “K-k-keep it.” “You arranged my marriage to Janus. And don’t you dare say I had to marry someone. You arranged my marriage to a Black Crucifer because he ruled Cyprus, and Cyprus controlled the trade routes out of Egypt.” “He was Black only briefly.” “So everyone says. Black Crucifers torture people.” “For the remission of their sins.” “I don’t care.” Her voice cracked. “You arranged the marriage. And then…” She stopped and glanced sidelong at Marco, wondering how to word what came next. She’d been told to murder Janus, but slowly using the poisons her aunt provided. Every kiss would harm him a little more.
Eleanor smiled more, was happy to leave Giulietta to her own company. “I’ve been making friends.” It sounded like one of the local girls to Giulietta. She’d never had the fierce friendships other girls had because she’d never been allowed. Still, why would she stop her cousin? Giulietta spent much of her own nights talking to Tycho. He seemed willing to listen, eager to learn. He asked questions and she answered: about Sigismund’s empire, how the trade routes made Venice rich, what might happen to the Byzantine Empire after John V Palaiologos died. Like her, he found Venice easier to like at a distance. In fact, she was sure they could grow to love it provided they didn’t have to return there. Why would they want to? When they had Alta Mofacon. Her wheat was cut, threshed and stored, her hay was made and straw gathered. Fences were mended, hedges replanted and ditches dug for the coming winter.
Earth Wars: The Battle for Global Resources by Geoff Hiscock
Admiral Zheng, Asian financial crisis, Bakken shale, Bernie Madoff, BRICs, butterfly effect, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, flex fuel, global rebalancing, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, Masdar, megacity, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Panamax, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, trade route, uranium enrichment, urban decay, working-age population, Yom Kippur War
Contents Maps Introduction Chapter 1: The Four Essentials Clean Energy Technologies Lithium Triangle of the Andes Bolivia’s Ambitious Pitch Multitude of Factors New Products for Old Trading Routes The World in 2050 Chapter 2: Geographical Flashpoints Long Trading History The Opium Wars China’s Northern Borders Caspian’s Strategic Significance Arctic Ocean Disputes Chapter 3: The Key Players Commodity Trading Skills Russia’s Billionaire Oligarchs The AAR Connection Money in Metals World’s Most Valuable Companies Chinese Miners on the Prowl Rapid Emergence on the Global Stage Chapter 4: Food and Water Challenge for India, Pakistan Taming the Yangzi Aral Sea’s Damage Waters of the Nile High Food Prices Frozen Fresh Water Pressure on Prices Chapter 5: “Going Out” for Energy U.S.
According to the EIA, these “pre-salt” oil deposits, found in rocks beneath the salt layer at combined water, salt, and rock depths of up to 6,700 metres (22,000 feet), have the potential to transform Brazil into one of the largest oil producers in the world.13 Venezuela, a founder member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has bigger reserves and is the world’s seventh largest oil producer, but since President Hugo Chavez’s nationalization of the oil industry in 2007, output has declined. Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador all produce oil and are the subject of interest from national and global oil companies. Colombia is growing its role as a coal exporter, too, with more supply earmarked for China and India. New Products for Old Trading Routes In a sense, this scramble for resources is simply a continuation of history—only the players and the products have changed. The Romans had been trading with India since before the first century, either via the overland caravan route through Persia, or by boat through the Red Sea. Indian trade extended east to China and Southeast Asia, as well as west to Africa and beyond. In 1514, when the first Portuguese explorers sailed up the Pearl River to the port we now know as Guangzhou on the South China coast, adventurers and merchants from Africa, India, Persia, and the Arabian Peninsula had been living and trading there for more than 700 years.
We both have much more to gain from cooperation than from conflict. —U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, November 2011 National leaders may make soothing noises about peaceful cooperation, but given the level of mistrust between China and India, China and Japan, and China and the United States, it’s far from inconceivable to see future clashes in the East and South China Seas or the Indian Ocean trade routes as China seeks to safeguard the resources it believes belong to it, and to manage its sea lanes of communication. That rationale applies to scores of other hotspots around the globe—Cuba looking for oil 100 km (60 miles) off the coast of Florida irritates the United States, as does Venezuela’s own version of resources diplomacy. Neighbourhood squabbles over subsea oil and gas field rights range from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, and Africa’s Gulf of Guinea.
agricultural Revolution, Columbian Exchange, demographic transition, double helix, European colonialism, food miles, Francisco Pizarro, Haber-Bosch Process, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, out of africa, planetary scale, premature optimization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade
Because the planet spins faster than the air, this big single conveyor belt breaks up into three smaller cells, each one continually turning like a wheel. The cells form the trade winds—so named for the routes they opened for exchange between the Old and New Worlds—on either side of the Equator. These engines of the trade winds are sometimes called the Hadley cells, a name honoring the English amateur meteorologist George Hadley, who noted the link between the rotating Earth and the trade routes of his era in 1735. The trade winds carried Columbus westward, where he landed in the Bahamas in October 1492. He returned via the northward loop of a Hadley cell that blows winds eastward toward Europe. The New World that Columbus opened to other conquistadors and explorers—Hernando Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, and Vasco Nuñez de Balboa—during the wind-powered Age of Discovery had little resemblance to the Old World.
Varieties with shorter and stiffer straw, with names like Wichita, Pawnee, Comanche, and Triumph, started to replace their taller counterparts, and yields took off. In Search of the Soybean Soybeans, the third in the triumvirate of the industrializing agriculture of the Midwest in the early twentieth century, took another path. The Chinese first domesticated the bean in the northeastern part of China several thousand years ago, and it had gone on to become one of the sacred grains of Chinese civilization, along with rice, wheat, barley, and millet. Trade routes spread the bean throughout Asia, where miso, tempeh, and tofu, all produced from high-protein soy, became a cornerstone of nutrition in the region. Missionaries and scholars brought soybeans to Europe in the late sixteenth century and throughout the seventeenth, but the crop failed to take a prominent place in European agriculture. Samuel Bowen, a seafaring employee of the East India Company, first carried soybeans to North America from China by way of London.
[A]ppertaining to the United States”: United States Code 1856. 90Christmas Island off the coast of Australia: The political history of the islands claimed under the US Guano Act is given in Orent and Reinsch (1941), Nichols (1933), and Burnett (2005). 90A little over half that amount: Leigh 2004, 81. 91“. . . [A]nd poorly fed fields: New York Daily Times 1855, 4. 92“. . . [L]asting fertility of the soil”: Quoted in Clark and Foster 2009, 315. 92New sources for fertilizer: Brown 1963. 93Yams, banana, pearl millet, and sorghum: The National Research Council (1996) described traditional African staple grains in detail. 94Trade routes of his era in 1735: Hadley wrote that “the action of the Sun is the original Cause of these Winds, I think all are agreed,” and further deduced that “without the assistance of the diurnal Motion of the Earth, Navigation, especially Easterly and Westerly, would be very tedious, and to make the whole circuit of the Earth perhaps impracticable” (Hadley 1735–1736, 62). 94“. . . [S]tones and everything”: Columbus et al. 1991, 93. 94“. . .
Sextant: A Young Man's Daring Sea Voyage and the Men Who ... by David Barrie
centre right, colonial exploitation, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, lone genius, Maui Hawaii, Nicholas Carr, polynesian navigation, South China Sea, trade route
Now they could determine their latitude at noon as the sun crossed their meridian, as well as after dark (from the height of Polaris), subject to the limitations of the instruments then at their disposal. Moreover, they could continue to find their latitude when south of the equator—when Polaris had disappeared below the northern horizon. This breakthrough helped the Portuguese to open up an enormously valuable trade route into the Indian Ocean around the Cape of Good Hope. Early in the sixteenth century the Portuguese also devised a rule for determining latitude by reference to the stars of the Southern Cross—which lie some distance from the south celestial pole.2 While latitude could be determined quite easily, the earth’s motions meant that the measurement of longitude was a much more difficult challenge. Early in the sixteenth century, the astronomer Gemma Frisius (1508–55) realized that a promising approach to solving the longitude problem would be to find a way of measuring time accurately—whether on land or sea.
Beyond doubt was the fact that the vast Pacific Ocean had only so far been explored in a haphazard, piecemeal fashion and that the available Pacific charts were full of gaps and baffling inconsistencies. It was therefore not unreasonable to suppose that the “southern continent,” if it existed, might lie hidden in its unexplored reaches, and that the Pacific coast of North America might reveal a new and commercially valuable trade route between Europe and the Far East. It was against this background that, in 1768, the British Admiralty decided to send an expedition to the South Seas, under the command of an obscure warrant officer in the Royal Navy who was soon to become a celebrity throughout Europe. Envisaged initially as a contribution to the international scientific effort to observe the second Transit of Venus of the eighteenth century (the first having taken place in 1761), the expedition had the additional task of exploring the southern Pacific in search of the fabled continent.
Michel, 3, 15n and natural navigation methods, 314n27 Pacific Northwest, 143, 147–48, 149, 151–53 and pack ice, 242 and position errors, 267–68, 275 and satellite navigation, 282 Straits of Magellan, 203, 206, 229 and Thetis wreck, 214 Torres Strait, 158 and voyage of the Beagle, 212 Tierra del Fuego and Anson’s explorations, 53 and Bougainville’s explorations, 115 and Cook’s explorations, 92 discovery of, 194–95 and voyage of the Beagle, 201, 203–8, 204–5 Timor, 39, 42–43, 175 tin clock, 228, 236 Tinian, 55 Titanic, 45 Tofoa (Tofua), 38, 41 Tom Thumb, 160 Tonga Islands, 37, 91, 133 Torres Strait and Bligh’s explorations, 41, 158 and Bougainville’s explorations, 120 and Cook’s explorations, 103 and Flinders’s explorations, 173–74, 175, 178, 182 and Slocum’s circumnavigation, 238 tourism, 95 trade routes, 139, 168 Trafalgar, Battle of, 147n transatlantic cruises, 7 Transit of Venus, 75, 88, 268 TRANSIT satellite system, 281 “Traverses” of St. Lawrence River, 10 treasure ships, 55–56 Treatise on Maritim Surveying (Mackenzie), 61 triangulation, 4–5, 61–62, 169, 239 trigonometry, 197 Trim (Flinders’s cat), 190–92 Tristram Shandy (Sterne), 191 Tropic of Capricorn, 23, 29 true north, 4, 27, 27n Tukopia, 134 Tupia, 264 Turrell, James, 283–84 Tuskar Rock lighthouse, 220 Tutuila, 129 Two-Handed Transatlantic Race, 271 typhus, 52 urbanization, 285 Urville, Jules Dumont d’, 136 U.S.
The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman
banking crisis, British Empire, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, megastructure, Monroe Doctrine, pink-collar, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, working poor
-JIHADIST WAR CHAPTER 3 POPULATION, COMPUTERS, AND CULTURE WARS CHAPTER 4 THE NEW FAULT LINES CHAPTER 5 CHINA 2020: PAPER TIGER CHAPTER 6 RUSSIA 2020: REMATCH CHAPTER 7 AMERICAN POWER AND THE CRISIS OF 2030 CHAPTER 8 A NEW WORLD EMERGES CHAPTER 9 THE 2040S: PRELUDE TO WAR CHAPTER 10 PREPARING FOR WAR CHAPTER 11 WORLD WAR: A SCENARIO CHAPTER 12 THE 2060S: A GOLDEN DECADE CHAPTER 13 2080: THE UNITED STATES, MEXICO, AND THE STRUGGLE FOR THE GLOBAL HEARTLAND EPILOGUE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ——————————— Atlantic Europe The Soviet Empire Yugoslavia and the Balkans Earthquake Zone Islamic World—Modern U.S. River System South America: Impassable Terrain Pacific Trade Routes Successor States to the Soviet Union Ukraine's Strategic Significance Four Europes Turkey in 2008 Ottoman Empire Mexico Prior to Texas Rebellion China: Impassable Terrain China's Population Density Silk Road The Caucasus Central Asia Poacher's Paradise Japan Middle East Sea Lanes Poland 1660 The Skagerrak Straits Turkish Sphere of Influence 2050 U.S. Hispanic Population (2000) Levels of Economic and Social Development Mexican Social and Economic Development Author's Note ——————————— I have no crystal ball.
Maritime powers are always wealthier than nonmaritime neighbors, all other things being equal. With the advent of globalization in the fifteenth century, this truth became as near to absolute as one can get in geopolitics. U.S. control of the sea meant that the United States was able not only to engage in but to define global maritime trade. It could make the rules, or at least block anyone else's rules, by denying other nations entry to the world's trade routes. In general, the United States shaped the international trading system more subtly, by using access to the vast American market as a lever to shape the behavior of other nations. It was not surprising, then, that in addition to its natural endowments, the United States became enormously prosperous from its sea power and that the Soviet Union couldn't possibly compete, being landlocked. The Soviet Empire Second, having control of the seas gave the United States a huge political advantage as well.
China has also emerged as a major industrial power in the last generation, with growth surpassing that of any other major economy in the world, although its economy is still far smaller than that of Japan or the United States. Nevertheless, China is now a key player in the Pacific Basin. Previously, it was much more self-sufficient than Japan in terms of primary commodities. But as China has grown, it has outstripped its own resources and become a net importer of raw materials. Pacific Trade Routes The Pacific now has two major Asian powers that are heavily dependent on imports to fuel their economy and on exports to grow their economy. Japan and China, along with South Korea and Taiwan, all depend on access to the Pacific in order to transport their goods and commodities. Since the U.S. Navy controls the Pacific Ocean, they rely on the United States for their economic well-being. That is a huge bet for any nation to make on another.
Hittite references to rennet dating to around 1400 BC arguably represent the first direct evidence for rennet-coagulated cheese making. The development of rennet technology and storable cheeses, in turn, was probably directly responsible for the growing maritime trade in cheese that began around this time, as evidenced from commercial records recovered from the Hittite vassal city of Ugarit on the Syrian coast. Ugarit was a strategic trading center at the crossroads of major land-based trade routes that extended south to the southern Levant, east to Mesopotamia, and north to Anatolia. It was also a strategic maritime trade center with extensive connections to the southern Levant and Egypt, the Aegean islands and Greece, and Anatolia (Sherratt and Sherratt 1991). During the period when the Hittites controlled Ugarit toward the end of the second millennium BC Hittite administrators maintained extensive cuneiform records of land-based and maritime trade passing through the city.
The complex social arrangements, cultural attitudes, and sophisticated cheese-making practices and equipment that underpinned communal transhumance and alpine cheese making likely took centuries to evolve, stretching back to pre-Roman times. Although Saint Gall was founded on the fringes of rugged wilderness, the town of Arbon on the shores of Lake Constance was only 8 miles (13 km) away. Arbon was an ancient Celtic Helvetic settlement that the Romans had transformed into a wealthy regional center, situated on a major Roman trade route. Celtic agriculture had been well established in this region for many centuries, and pastoral transhumance and mountain cheese making had almost certainly been practiced in the region since before the Roman occupation. Thus, the monks at Saint Gall probably acquired their cheese-making knowledge from the wealth of experience residing in the peasant tenant farmers, or serfs, who populated the monastic manors under their control.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Chadwick, R. 2005. First Civilizations: Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. 2nd ed. Equinox Publishing, London. Chaniotis, A. 1999. Milking in the Mountains: Economic Activities on the Cretan Uplands in the Classical and Hellenistic Periods. In From Minoan Farmers to Roman Traders, A. Chaniotis, ed. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart. Charlesworth, M. P. 1970. Trade-Routes and Commerce of the Roman Empire. 2nd ed. Cooper Square Publishers, New York. Chavalas, M. 2005. The Age of Empires, 3100–900 bce. In A Companion to the Ancient Near East, D. C. Snell, ed. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK. pp. 34–47. Cheke, V. 1959. The Story of Cheese-Making in Britain. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. Cherry, J. F. 1988. Pastoralism and the Role of Animals in the Pre- and Protohistoric Economies of the Aegean.
P53: The Gene That Cracked the Cancer Code by Sue Armstrong
Such a genetic fault is known as a ‘founder mutation’ – one that is introduced to a population by a single immigrant and can be traced back to an individual, a common ancestor, through the DNA. It was an idea that begged to be explored because, like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples from a founder mutation can spread far and wide. How far had 337 mutant p53 spread in Brazil? It has turned out to be remarkably widespread. When Prolla and Hainaut did some research in Porto Alegre – also on the trade route of the tropeiros and their mules – to investigate the prevalence of the mutation in the general population, they came up with startling results. Prolla’s particular interest is breast cancer, and she was involved in a study of prevention strategies that recruited several thousand healthy volunteers from poor suburbs of Porto Alegre to test mammography. She and Hainaut secured permission to test the blood of 750 of the women.
But in the end it can never be proven that he was responsible, and Hainaut felt from the beginning that the true story was probably more complicated. He has another hypothesis about the origins of the founder mutation that he feels is equally plausible and as a result has spent nearly two years investigating alternative possibilities, often accompanied by Achatz, as time permitted. The mutation is known to be concentrated in southern regions of Brazil, and the trail has taken the two to towns and settlements along the old trading routes between São Paulo city and Porto Alegre, 860km (530 miles) away in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Codon 337 is a vulnerable site on the gene for mutations, explained Hainaut, and to investigate possible carcinogens he and Achatz travelled to a grim industrial town where the population is exposed to pollution from heavy metals, sulphur and other chemicals seeping from dirty mine dumps. But they found nothing of particular interest there.
I believe one of them had the mutation, and through intermarriage it reached a high prevalence in the community from very early on. These very particular historical and demographic circumstances could explain how the mutation got so firmly established despite having a negative effect.’ By the middle of the 18th century the road stretched in a continuous track from Sorocaba, inland from São Paolo, to Porto Alegre, and soon became a busy trading route. Trade consisted largely of cattle being taken to market in Sorocaba from the south, and goods of all sorts being brought down by mule on the return journey. It was a round trip of some six months for the tropeiros, who would have had many stops, and likely liaisons, along the way – perfect conditions for spreading a genetic mutation. Again, the theory cannot be proved and Patricia Prolla, for one, is wary of all possible explanations advanced thus far for the high prevalence of the mutation in Brazil: they leave too many questions unanswered, she believes.
Lonely Planet Morocco (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Paul Clammer, Paula Hardy
air freight, Airbnb, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, illegal immigration, place-making, Skype, spice trade, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional
But when Almohad warriors stormed the city, they left only the plumbing and the Koubba Ba’adiyn intact. Almohad Yacoub el-Mansour remodelled Marrakesh with a fortified kasbah, glorious gardens, qissariat (covered markets), a rebuilt Koutoubia and a triumphal gate (Bab Agnaou). But the Almohads soon lost their showpiece to the Merenids, who turned royal attention to Meknès and Fez. Life improved again in the 16th century, when the Saadians made Marrakesh the crux of lucrative sugar-trade routes, established a trading centre for Christians and a protected mellah (Jewish quarter) in 1558. Ahmed al-Mansour ed-Dahbi (the Victorious and Golden) paved the Badi Palace with gold and took opulence to the grave in the gilded Saadian Tombs. Alawite leader Moulay Ismail preferred Meknès to Marrakesh, and moved his headquarters there – though not before looting the Badi Palace. Marrakesh entered its Wild West period, with big guns vying for control.
In the 7th century AD, Anfa became a regional capital under the Barghawata, a confederation of Berber tribes. The Almohads destroyed it in 1188, and 70 years later, the Merenids took over. In the early 15th century, the port became a safe haven for pirates and racketeers. Anfa pirates became such a serious threat later in the century that the Portuguese sent 50 ships and 10,000 men to subdue them. They left Anfa in a state of ruins. The local tribes, however, continued to terrorise the trade routes, provoking a second attack by the Portuguese in 1515. Sixty years later the Portuguese arrived to stay, erecting fortifications and renaming the port Casa Branca (White House). The Portuguese abandoned the colony in 1755 after a devastating earthquake destroyed Lisbon and severely damaged the walls of Casa Branca. Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah subsequently resettled and fortified the town, but it never regained its former importance.
Kasbah Museum MUSEUM OFFLINE MAP GOOGLE MAP ( 0539 93 20 97; Pl de la Kasbah; adult/child Dh10/3; 9-11.30am & 1.30-4pm Wed-Mon) This museum is perfectly sited in Dar el-Makhzen, the former sultan’s palace (where Portuguese and British governors also lived). The focus is on the history of the area from prehistoric times to the 19th century. Placards are in French and Arabic. Some highlights are pre-Roman tools; a sculpture with scenes of a bacchanalian feast; some 16th-century jewellery; an extraordinary floor mosaic from Volubilis; and a fascinating wall map of trade routes past and present. Before you leave, don’t miss the exotic Sultan’s Garden off the main courtyard, opposite the entrance. The museum is outside the medina – follow the perimeter all the way to the western end, to the highest part of the city, enter the Porte de la Kasbah, and follow the road to the museum. Old Spanish Church CHURCH OFFLINE MAP GOOGLE MAP (51 R as-Siaghin) Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, a handful of Indian, French and Spanish nuns, work from the Old Spanish Church in the medina.
The Discovery of France by Graham Robb
Certain configurations of field, road, weather and smell imprint themselves on the cycling brain with inexplicable clarity and return sometimes years later to pose their nebulous questions. A bicycle unrolls a 360-degree panorama of the land, allows the rider to register its gradual changes in gear ratios and muscle tension, and makes it hard to miss a single inch of it, from the tyre-lacerating suburbs of Paris to the Mistral-blasted plains of Provence. The itinerary of a cyclist recreates, as if by chance, much older journeys: transhumance trails, Gallo-Roman trade routes, pilgrim paths, river confluences that have disappeared in industrial wasteland, valleys and ridge roads that used to be busy with pedlars and migrants. Cycling also makes conversation easy and inevitable – with children, nomads, people who are lost, local amateur historians and, of course, dogs, whose behaviour collectively characterizes the outlook of certain regions as clearly as human behaviour once did.
The ant-like movements of the migrant minority not only spread wealth but also delayed the growth of the cities. Until permanent migration became the norm in the late nineteenth century, Paris was not the all-consuming gravitational centre of France. The capital was well served by the major rivers of north-eastern France – Yonne, Seine, Marne, Aisne and Oise – but not by the rivers that rise in the Massif Central. The best roads out of the Auvergne all led south. A trade route to Bordeaux, Toulouse, Montpellier or Marseille, busy with mule trains and pilgrims, was preferable to an obscure track that led north into lands where people spoke a different language. Even in the early twentieth century, many villages in the southern Auvergne and Périgord had closer ties with Spain than with the northern half of France. Basque families were just as likely to have relatives in Buenos Aires and, eventually, Manhattan, as in Paris.
Locally, they were known as the ‘camin ferrat’ or ‘chemin ferré’ (the metalled way), the ‘chaussée’ (the surfaced road), the ‘chemin de César’ or the ‘chemin du Diable’, since only Caesar or the Devil could have built a road that lasted so long. As the Marquis de Mirabeau observed in 1756, Roman roads had been ‘built for eternity’, while a typical French road could be wrecked within a year by ‘a moderate-sized colony of moles’. The very large number of places called ‘Le Grand Chemin’ or ‘La Chaussée’ shows that the Roman contribution to the development of modern France was not confined to the trade routes through Provence and the Rhône valley. There were long stretches of Roman surface or base layer on the roads from Arles to Aix, Clermont-Ferrand to Limoges, Arcachon to Bordeaux, the old salt route from Saintes to Poitiers, the left bank of the Lot between Aiguillon and Lafitte, and the road that wound up from the Alsace plain to Mont Sainte-Odile with an impressive top layer of nicely squared stones.
Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible by William N. Goetzmann
Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, compound rate of return, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, delayed gratification, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invention of the steam engine, invention of writing, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stochastic process, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, time value of money, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, wage slave
The development of finance was driven by the demands of civilization’s social and economic complexity. FINANCE AND KNOWLEDGE Finance also played a role in another key aspect of civilization: the development of knowledge. One important way that humankind learned about the boundaries of the world was through merchant voyages requiring money and time—underwritten by investors hopeful of a future profit. In this way, finance has been a cofactor in civilization’s expansion and outreach. Trade routes linked societies from distant parts of the world. These distant connections were not only spatial, they were also temporal. From the outset, long-distance trade created long gaps of time: intervals between investment and return separated by the veil of uncertainty. Columbus had to wait patiently for the funding of his first transatlantic voyage, and then he had to promise the future unknown profits to his benefactors.
Assur merchants struck deals with local rulers and kingdoms along these caravan routes; paying duty on their goods, and exacting exclusive rights and shutting out other Assyrian competitors. They even pursued gray market exporters from their own city. When the traders returned—minus most of their donkeys—they brought silver, the economic lifeblood of Mesopotamia. A major stop along the Assure trade route was a city in the region of what is now northeastern Syria, in the valley of the Khabur River. Documents attest to it having a karum district.8 In the late third millennium, the city may have been the capital of the kingdom of Apum, although the attribution is not certain. As luck would have it, in my pre-professorial days, I joined an expedition to search for this ancient trade outpost. DIGGING AN ANCIENT CITY In 1979 I spent several months on an excavation in the northern part of Mesopotamia, living in the remote market town of Qibur-al-baid, working from dawn to dusk on a vast city mound called Tell Leilan with an international crew of archaeologists and Kurdish laborers.
Many of China’s greatest philosophers—Mencius [孟子] Mozi [墨子], Zhuangzi [莊子], and Han Feizi [韓非子]—lived during the Warring States period, seeking patronage and offering guidance to China’s ruling dukes. This period also marked the beginning of large-scale urban Chinese civilization and the emergence of Chinese literature. One of the greatest of all China’s Warring States cities was Linzi [臨 淄] in the eastern Chinese state of Qi [齊]. Colonized by a Zhou general shortly after the fall of the Shang empire, the state of Qi occupied the Shandong [山東] peninsula and thus had access to shoreline trade routes as well as north–south inland commercial traffic. It was noted in Zhou times for its silks and other textiles, fish, and salt. According to the Grand Historian Sima Qian [司馬遷], who wrote the first account of the Zhou and Warring States era, the people of Qi were “generous, easy-going, of considerable intelligence, and fond of debate.… All five classes of people (scholars, farmers, traveling merchants, artisans, and resident traders) are to be found among them.”3 Note that two of the five classes were directly engaged in commerce.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, British Empire, carbon footprint, corporate governance, credit crunch, double entry bookkeeping, full employment, Gordon Gekko, income inequality, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Islamic Golden Age, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, means of production, Naomi Klein, Ponzi scheme, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile
Just as the books of Francesco Datini of Prato are cutting-edge fourteenth-century commercial practice, so the innovative Badoer is an exemplar of the fifteenth-century Venetian businessman. Written from 1436 to 1439 entirely in the new Hindu–Arabic numerals, Badoer’s ledger is an invaluable record of Venetian mercantile life and of the hectic commercial activity of the Levant. Badoer was a nobleman who for over three years ran a commercial venture in Constantinople, the meeting place of the trade routes of Europe and Asia, trading for himself and as an agent for Venetian merchants. In the busy bazaars of Constantinople he bought spices, incense, leather, wool and slaves to ship back to Venice for his brother to sell on the Venetian market. The first two weeks of November and June were always Badoer’s busiest times, because it was then that his fleet prepared for its return trip to Italy, in compliance with the Venetian Senate, which required merchants to return to Venice at Christmas time and again in July to ensure a regular marketing of goods in the city.
But the printing houses of Venice struggled to find a market for their unwieldy printed ‘manuscripts’ of classics and religious works, and within five years nine of Venice’s twelve printers had gone bust. It seemed the new technology was not commercially viable. But the merchant bankers of Venice thought otherwise. They soon realised the commercial potential of printed books and invested the large sums required to keep the printing presses running. To the merchants of Venice, the printed book was simply a commodity like any other and could be sold along the trade routes of Europe like pepper, silk, wax and other luxury goods. Venice became the centre of the new communications technology, the Silicon Valley of the Renaissance, and many of the first printed works on business and commerce were published in the city on the lagoon. By the time Pacioli returned in 1494, Venice had become the publishing capital of southern Europe, with more than 268 printing shops run mostly by experts from Germany and France.
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
Berlin Wall, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, Copley Medal, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, laissez-faire capitalism, Lao Tzu, multiplanetary species, out of africa, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade
Coffee promoted clarity of thought, making it the ideal drink for scientists, businessmen, and philosophers. Coffeehouse discussions led to the establishment of scientific societies, the founding of newspapers, the establishment of financial institutions, and provided fertile ground for revolutionary thought, particularly in France. In some European nations, and particularly in Britain, coffee was challenged by tea imported from China. Its popularity in Europe helped to open lucrative trade routes with the East and underpinned imperialism and industrialization on an unprecedented scale, enabling Britain to become the first global superpower. Once tea had established itself as Britain's national drink, the desire to maintain the tea supply had far-reaching effects on British foreign policy, contributing to the independence of the United States, the undermining of China's ancient civilization, and the establishment of tea production in India on an industrial scale.
During this time, China was the largest, wealthiest, and most populous empire in the world. Its overall population tripled between 630 and 755 to exceed fifty million, and its capital, Changan (modern Xi'an), was the greatest metropolis on Earth, home to around two million people. The city was a cultural magnet at a time when China was particularly open to outside influences. Trade thrived along the trade routes of the Silk Road and by sea with India, Japan, and Korea. Clothing, hairstyles, and the sport of polo were imported from Turkey and Persia, new foodstuffs from India, and musical instruments and dances from central Asia, along with wine in goatskin bags. China exported silk, tea, paper, and ceramics in return. Amid this diverse, dynamic, and cosmopolitan atmosphere, Chinese sculpture, painting, and poetry flourished.
Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations by Norman Davies
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Celtic Tiger, Corn Laws, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, labour mobility, land tenure, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, Red Clydeside, Ronald Reagan, Skype, special economic zone, trade route, urban renewal
A couple of decades later, the bishop of Basle went one step further by creating a ‘prince-bishopric’, and ruling not only over his episcopal see, but also over nearby lands once confiscated from Rainald III.75 Large parts of the future Switzerland were also carved out of the imperial Kingdom of Burgundy. Sometime early in the thirteenth century, a peasant migration occurred from the lands of the bishop of Sion in the Valais eastward to the Grisons. The migrants took bridge-building techniques with them, opened up the Schollenen Gorge to travellers and provided access to the valuable trade route over the St Gotthard pass into Italy. In August 1291 the men of Uri, Schweiz and Unterwalden, who operated tolls on the pass, swore an oath to resist outside interference. They had performed the founding act of the Swiss Confederation.76 Provence, by contrast, drifted apart from Burgundy through a succession of marriages. In 1127, in stage one, the last Bosonid heiress had ceded her rights to a husband from Barcelona, thereby putting practical control of the territory beyond the Empire’s reach.
The typical band is the coble; nine or ten wind-players blow tenora and tible (high and low oboes), flabiol (flute), and the goatskin bodega (bagpipes), usually accompanied by drum and double bass. An international folk festival is held every August at Amélie-les-Bains (Els Banys d’Arles).9 Unlike Roussillon, Cerdagne (Cerdanya in Catalan, Cerdaña in Spanish) is entirely landlocked, and is nowadays split into French and Spanish halves. It grew strong through its relative inaccessibility, and rich from an ancient trans-Pyrenean trade route. Its historic capital and county seat stood at Llívia. The counts of Cerdagne-Conflent, who reached their apogee during the eleventh century, founded the abbeys both of St Michel de Cuxa and of Montserrat, before bequeathing their inheritance to their descendants, the counts of Barcelona. Their legacy stayed intact until the seventeenth century. During the negotiations held at Llívia in 1659, when Cerdagne was divided, the French commissioners demanded 130 communes in northern Cerdagne; the Spanish commissioners argued that Llívia was not a commune, but a city.
Yet the mountains which ring the plain carry oak, pine and beech forests, and the high pastures form a fine habitat for merino sheep. The Pyrenean ridge, dominated in this section by the peaks of the Aneto and the Perdido, creates a formidable barrier. A few oases of greenery nestle in the steep, upland valleys, but the only area suitable for large-scale agriculture spreads out below the mountains among the wheat fields, orchards and vineyards that line the Ebro. One of the oldest trans-Pyrenean trade routes runs across the pass of the Port de Canfranc from Zaragoza to Béarn. Here, towards the end of the first millennium, Christian lords ruling the north-eastern perimeter of Iberia started to fight back against the Muslim Moors, who had ruled over most of the peninsula since crossing from North Africa some two centuries earlier. That gaggle of Christian lordships, large and small, had been created when Frankish power spilled over the Pyrenees to confront Islam as it advanced.
Lonely Planet China (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Shawn Low
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, bike sharing scheme, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, haute couture, haute cuisine, income inequality, indoor plumbing, land reform, place-making, Skype, South China Sea, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, young professional
Best Hikes ATiger Leaping Gorge ANu Jiang Valley AXishuangbanna Minority Villages AYubeng Village ACang Shan Best Natural Sights ALugu Hu ABaishuitai AYulong Xueshan ASwallow’s Cavern AKawa Karpo Yunnan Highlights 1 Gaze out over the magical Yuanyang Rice Terraces. 2 Test your legs and lungs trekking Tiger Leaping Gorge. 3 Marvel at the peaks (and glacier) around Deqin. 4 Step off the tourist trail in the ancient village of Heijing. 5 Hike to minority villages in the jungle of Xishuangbanna. 6 Kick back in the cafes and bars of Dali. 7 Laze around the shores of stunning Lugu Hu. 8 See how time has stood still in the former Tea-Horse Trail oasis of Shaxi. 9 Get way off the map in the remote Nu Jiang Valley. a Check out the classic architecture in Jianshui. History With its remote location, harsh terrain and diverse ethnic make-up, Yunnan was once considered a backward place populated by barbarians. The early Han emperors held tentative imperial power over the southwest and forged southern Silk Road trade routes to Myanmar (Burma). From the 7th to mid-13th centuries, though, two independent kingdoms, the Nanzhao and Dali, ruled and dominated the trade routes from China to India and Myanmar. It wasn’t until the Mongols swept through that the southwest was integrated into the Chinese empire as Yunnan. Even so, it remained an isolated frontier region, more closely aligned with Southeast Asia than China. Today, Yunnan is still a strategic jumping-off point to China’s neighbours.
Best Classical Gardens AGarden of the Master of the Nets AHumble Administrator’s Garden APresidential Palace Best Museums ANanjing Museum ASuzhou Museum AMemorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre Jiangsu Highlights 1 Get a grade A cultural fix at the splendid Nanjing Museum 2 Feast your eyes on the historical artefacts at Suzhou Museum 3 Indulge in the beauty of the gardens of Suzhou 4 Suzhou’s charms reach a crescendo along Pingjiang Lu 5 Enjoy tea-tasting and a traditional pingtan performance at the Pingtan Teahouse 6 Lose yourself in the alleys and canals of Tongli 7 Four words: Chinese Sex Culture Museum 8 Relax in the charming towns of Luzhi, Mudu or Zhouzhuang 9 Get some highbrow culture at a Kunqu opera performance a Scenic Ming Xiaoling Tomb is perfect for a stroll History Jiangsu was a relative backwater until the Song dynasty (960–1279), when it emerged as an important commercial centre as trading routes were opened up by the Grand Canal. In particular, the south of the province flourished: the towns of Suzhou and Yangzhou played an important role in silk production, overseen by a large mercantile class. Prosperity continued through the Ming and Qing dynasties, and with the incursion of Westerners into China in the 1840s, southern Jiangsu opened up to Western influence. During the catastrophic Taiping Rebellion (1851–64), the Taiping established Nanjing as their quasi-Christian capital, naming it Tianjing (Heavenly Capital).
You won’t miss much if you skip it. Frequent buses depart Quanzhou’s long-distance bus station (¥13, 1½ hours), taking you past arrays of stone statues (the area is famed for its stone-carving workshop) before ending up in Chongwu. Motorbikes (¥5) will take you from the bus drop-off to the stone city. Xunpu Village The fishing village of Xunpu, some 10km southeast of the city centre of Quanzhou, was on the old trade route of the maritime Silk Road and was perhaps the Arabs’ first port of call when they set foot in Quanzhou during the Song dynasty. The village, now under encroaching urbanisation, is still fascinating and you’ll find some old houses built with oyster shells behind the main road in the village. Meanwhile, the grannies still wear the flamboyant traditional head ornaments that they love to brag about.
DIY Kombucha: 60 Nourishing Homemade Tonics for Health and Happiness by Katherine Green, Rana Chang
KOMBUCHA THEN AND NOW Called “the tea of immortality” by the ancient Chinese, kombucha has a long past that is rife with whimsical stories of its origins and uses. It is brewed throughout Asia and Eastern Europe, and lore indicates that kombucha SCOBYs have been passed down within families and villages for countless generations. Thought to have made its first appearance during the Chinese Qin dynasty of the third century BC, kombucha had its first boom as trade routes extended into India and Russia. The energizing tea is said to have improved the vitality of long-marching armies, travelers, and traders. The elixir grew in popularity, and in AD 415, a Korean physician named Dr. Kombu reportedly brought it to Japan. Because cha is the Japanese word for tea, stories suggest that kombucha was named after this doctor, who treated Japanese emperor Inyoko with the invigorating drink.
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
Salt became one of the first international commodities of trade; its production was one of the first industries and, inevitably, the first state monopoly. THE SEARCH FOR salt has challenged engineers for millennia and created some of the most bizarre, along with some of the most ingenious, machines. A number of the greatest public works ever conceived were motivated by the need to move salt. Salt has been in the forefront of the development of both chemistry and geology. Trade routes that have remained major thoroughfares were established, alliances built, empires secured, and revolutions provoked—all for something that fills the ocean, bubbles up from springs, forms crusts in lake beds, and thickly veins a large part of the earth’s rock fairly close to the surface. Almost no place on earth is without salt. But this was not clear until revealed by modern geology, and so for all of history until the twentieth century, salt was desperately searched for, traded for, and fought over.
Ramsauer’s investigation of these salt miners began to challenge the perception of northern Europe’s Iron Age barbarians. ONLY IN THE 1990s did Westerners become aware of the mummies that had been found in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. They had been discovered in and near the Tarim Basin, west of Tibet, east of Samarkand and Tashkent, between China and central Asia along the Silk Road, the principal trade route between the Mediterranean and Beijing. It was the road of Marco Polo, but these people had lived more than three millennia earlier, about 2000 B.C. As with the early Egyptian burials that are 1,000 years older, the corpses had been preserved by the naturally salty soil. The condition of the bodies and their bright colored clothing was spectacular. The men wore leggings striped in blue, ochre, and crimson.
Unfortunately, they are unstable formations. The last Lot’s wife collapsed several years ago, and the current one, featured in postcards and on guided tours, will go very soon, according to geologists. In biblical times, Mount Sodom was the most valuable Dead Sea property. It was long controlled by the king of Arad, who had refused entry to Moses and his wandering Hebrews from Egypt. One of the most important trade routes in the area was from Mount Sodom to the Mediterranean—a salt route. Not far from Mount Sodom, in the motley shade of a scraggly acacia tree, are a few stone walls and the remnants of a doorway. They are the remains of a Roman fort guarding the salt route. A little two-foot-high stone dam across the wadi, the dry riverbed, after flash floods still holds water to be stored in the nearby Roman cistern.
McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny
anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, BRICs, colonial rule, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Firefox, forensic accounting, friendly fire, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, joint-stock company, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, place-making, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Skype, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, trade liberalization, trade route, Transnistria, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile
The vote imposing an embargo on Yugoslavia immediately rendered all Bokan’s trade illegal in international law, as Serbia was the center of his trading empire. Sanctions had a negligible impact on the European Union and America. Most Western companies could afford to stop trading with Belgrade, an insignificant market, especially as their governments threatened tough penalties if anybody violated them. Serbia lies at the heart of all Balkan trading routes—its roads and its markets are almost as essential for its neighbors as they are for Serbia itself. The UN, of course, issued warnings to the surrounding countries that they must break all links with Serbia and Montenegro. For Balkan countries, the sanctions were a catastrophe. Even though the Bulgarian government could no longer officially buy and sell to Serbia, businessmen such as Ilya Pavlov felt less constrained.
Frustrating, and furthermore a cheering boost to organized crime, which thrived on the economic distress such myopic policies promoted. Not a penny of assistance or compensation was offered to Yugoslavia’s neighbors—they were all expected to shoulder the costs of the international community’s moral indignation about Serbia’s behavior in Bosnia. So the only way they could pay pensions, wages, and health care was by allowing the mob to shore up its control of the country’s main trading routes, and claim ignorance, helplessness, or both. As the crisis deepened, so did this damaging symbiotic relationship between politics and crime. In Serbia itself, Vanja Bokan was quick to arrange shipments of oil and metals into Yugoslavia. Criminals and businessmen throughout the region worked feverishly to create a dense web of friendships and networks to subvert the embargo. Virtually overnight, the vote at the UN Security Council ordering sanctions created a pan-Balkan mafia of immense power, reach, creativity, and venality.
Not surprisingly, the Hausa and the Yoruba were in no mood to let this precious part of the country slip through their hands. Civil war devastated the east until 1970, when Biafra—broken, battered, and famished—surrendered. Ever since then, the Igbo have complained that they have been excluded from the riches of Nigeria by the Yoruba and Hausa. The rich of the west and the north became even richer, while the Igbo returned to their old ways. For hundreds of years, the Igbo had forged trading routes along the coast of West Africa as far as South Africa. In collaboration with the emirs of the Hausa and their trading counterparts from Lebanon, they also pioneered a trans-Saharan route that stretched as far as Mecca, Medina, and Jeddah in what is now Saudi Arabia. Thanks to wars and apartheid, these traditional routes were less easily negotiated in the 1970s than was once the case (although some of the many Nigerians studying in the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies assisted in the delivery of supplies to the ANC in southern Africa).
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra
The extraordinary flowering of wealth and culture around the Aegean between 600 and 300 BC tells the same story. First the Milesians then the Athenians and their allies grew wealthy by trading among small, independent ‘citizen states’, not by uniting as an empire. Having copied the Phoenicians’ ships and trading habits, Miletus, the most successful of the Ionian Greek cities, sat ‘like a bloated spider’ at the junction of four trade routes, east overland to Asia, north through the Hellespont to the Black Sea, south to Egypt and west to Italy. But though it established colonies all over the Black Sea, Miletus was not an imperial capital: it was first among equals. The city of Sybaris, a preferred trading partner of Miletus on a fertile plain in the toe of southern Italy, grew to perhaps several hundred thousand people and became a byword for opulence and refinement before it was destroyed by its enemies and buried under the diverted river Crathis in 510 BC.
The Mauryan empire in India seems to have harvested the prosperity of the Ganges valley to combine an imperial monarchy with expanding trade. It was ruled at its zenith in 250 BC by Asoka, a warrior who turned into a Buddhist pacifist once he had won (funny, that) and was as economically benign a head of state as you could wish. He built roads and waterways to encourage the movement of goods, established a common currency and opened maritime trade routes with China, south-east Asia and the Middle East, sparking an export-led boom in which cotton and silk textiles played a prominent part. Trade was carried on almost entirely by private firms (sreni) of a recognisably corporate kind; taxation, though extensive, was fairly administered. There were remarkable scientific advances, not least the invention of zero and the decimal system and the accurate calculation of pi.
p. 169 ‘When HMS Dolphin’s sailors found that a twenty-penny iron nail could buy a sexual encounter on Tahiti in 1767’. Bolyanatz, A. H. 2004. Pacific Romanticism: Tahiti and the European Imagination. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 170 ‘advanced by David Hume’. This argument goes back to David Hume’s History of Great Britain, and has been pursued recently by Douglass North. p. 170 ‘Miletus, the most successful of the Ionian Greek cities, sat “like a bloated spider” at the junction of four trade routes’. Cunliffe, B. 2001. The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek. Penguin. p. 172 ‘Humanity’s great battle over the last 10,000 years has been the battle against monopoly.’ Kealey, T. 2008. Sex, Science and Profits. Random House. p. 172 ‘The Mauryan empire in India’. Khanna, V. S. 2005. The Economic History of the Corporate Form in Ancient India (1 November 2005). Social Sciences Research Network.
Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet by Jeffrey Sachs
agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, British Empire, business process, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, Edward Glaeser, energy security, failed state, Gini coefficient, Haber-Bosch Process, income inequality, income per capita, intermodal, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, low skilled workers, microcredit, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, Skype, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population
Before 1800, perhaps 85 percent of the world’s population lived in what we would consider today to be extreme poverty. By 1950, this had reached the 50 percent mark as shown in Figure 2.5. Since then, extreme poverty has continued to decline to below 25 percent in 1992 and to just 15 percent today. The challenge now is that extreme poverty is concentrated in the toughest places: landlocked, tropical, drought-prone, malaria-ridden, and off the world’s main trade routes. It is no accident that today’s poorest places have been the last to catch the wave of globalization. They have the most difficulty in getting on the ladder of development. THE CHALLENGE OF GLOBAL COOPERATION To solve the remaining dire problems of environmental degradation, population growth, and extreme poverty, we will need to create a new model of twenty-first-century cooperation, one that builds on past successes and overcomes today’s widespread pessimism and lack of leadership.
Over roughly 1,800 years, the population increased approximately fourfold, from around 230 million estimated as of AD 1 to 1 billion, first reached in 1830. In the subsequent 175 years, the global population has risen sixfold, from 1 billion to 6.5 billion, in 2005. In the preindustrial era, societies learned gradually to master the local environment—crop choices, water control, soil management, domestication of animals, mining of minerals, land clearing for pasture and fuel wood—in order to support larger populations. Each opening of new trade routes, such as the silk road from China to Europe during the Roman Empire or the sea routes from Europe to the Americas at the time of Columbus, gave opportunity for another step increase in human populations because increased productivity came along with increased trade. Trade allowed the exchange of crops, animals, technologies, and, of course, human populations. Wheat and horses were introduced by Europeans into the Americas.
The costs of shipping goods play an enormous role in facilitating or hindering trade, and therefore, development. Transport costs are lower by sea than by land (and much lower than by air). Sea-based transport costs are lower in main trading lanes than in remote reaches of the world. Transport costs are obviously lower to reach a neighboring market than a distant market. These differences give Singapore a profound economic advantage over, say, Fiji. Singapore is on the world’s main trade route between Europe and Asia. A ship going from Osaka, Japan, to Rotterdam, Netherlands, will pass by Singapore as it traverses the Strait of Malacca. Fiji, by contrast, is far away in the South Pacific. That may contribute to its exotic reputation, but it certainly does not contribute to its economic development. Table 9.2 shows the world’s twenty biggest container ports in 2005. Of those, thirteen are in Asia, three are in Europe, three are in the United States, and one, Dubai, is in the Middle East.
Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science by Jim Al-Khalili
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Book of Ingenious Devices, colonial rule, Commentariolus, Dmitri Mendeleev, Eratosthenes, Henri Poincaré, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Joseph Schumpeter, retrograde motion, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, trade route, William of Occam
Their names were Macoraba and Yathrib and they were destined to become the two holiest cities in Islam: Mecca and Medina.2 The city of Mecca lies in an arid and barren valley surrounded by imposing mountains. Its life force was the well of Zamzam, which provided the city’s water. For a century or so before Islam there had been a massive migration of population from southern to western Arabia (the region known as the Hijaz) and further north to Syria and Palestine. With its prime location along this trade route between Yemen in the south and the Mediterranean in the north, Mecca had grown rich and powerful, not only as a trade centre but as a financial one too. More importantly, its role as a holy centre for the many pagan religions of the Arabians dating back to antiquity made it a safe haven for those wishing to escape the widespread violence that regularly broke out among the tribes in the region.
Some historians have claimed that despite the Abbāsids’ admiration of all things Persian and, by association, their link to Indian science and culture in the East, the whole of the translation movement was built on what was originally Greek science.8 To some extent this is true. The expansion of Alexander the Great’s empire as far east as India, many centuries before Islam, carried the fruits of Greek science far beyond its home shores – although we should not forget the sea trade routes from Egypt as a separate avenue of transmission. This knowledge, one can argue, eventually made the circuitous journey from its Greek origins, via India, back to the palace courts of Abbāsid Baghdad. Much of Greek knowledge also reached the Arabic world through the great Christian cities of Antioch and Edessa where, to a lesser extent, a translation tradition from Greek to Syriac had flourished in the centuries before Islam’s arrival.
In this sense, what Maimonides took from the Islamic philosophers and applied to Jewish theology was no different from what Thomas Aquinas did for Christian theology. And so we finally come to the most important legacy of Andalusia. For it is through Spain that so much of Arabic science reached Europe. While there were other avenues of transmission and translation, such as through Sicily and along the trade routes with city-states like Venice, as well as through the efforts of Christian travellers in the East such as the Englishman Adelard of Bath (1080–1152), it was nevertheless first and foremost the recapture of Islamic Spain by the Christians that would give Europe access to the wealth of knowledge produced in the Islamic world. Just as Baghdad had been the centre of the thriving translation movement from Greek into Arabic, so cities like Toledo became the centres of translation of the great Arabic texts into Latin.
algorithmic trading, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency peg, diversification, Doha Development Round, energy security, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, large denomination, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, mobile money, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Chicago School, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route
As early as 1670, despite the Dutch Republic’s “golden age” riches and its huge fleet and maritime outposts from Japan and South Africa to India and Brazil, some observers began to worry about how so many great merchants now lived on interest income and rents, rather than actively continuing earlier commercial and maritime activities.9 Then from 1688 to 1713, the Netherlands fought a series of wars—in retrospect, more beneficial to the future of their ally England, newly ruled by a king who was also a Dutch prince—that wound up costing the Hollanders, who were subordinate in war strategy, vital trade and trade routes while quintupling the Dutch debt. By the 1730s, it was reasonably clear that the Dutch Republic was starting to decline, and by the 1750s, as current-day historians like Simon Schama and Jonathan Israel have detailed with such thoroughness, there was malaise in the air, a sense of too much dependence on finance, a renewed fascination with the late-sixteenth-century Dutch revolt against Spain, and a yearning to somehow re-create the lost golden age.10 So was reform pursued?
By the end of that century, Amsterdam traders were complaining that whereas the town regents had previously been active merchants, now they “derived their income from houses, lands and money at interest.” The wars between 1688 and 1713 broke Holland as a naval power and forced interest rates up to 9 percent, the highest since its independence. During those same years, the Dutch national debt quintupled. By the 1720s and 1730s, the Dutch ceased to dominate some of their prime trading routes, and local financiers preferred to loan money abroad rather than at home. Midcentury brought obvious economic decline. This chronology was not very different. Spain, the previous leading world economic power, probably reached its heyday in the 1550s, started losing self-confidence after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and by the early 1600s was in the clutch of a malaiselike desengano.
Not just a watershed in rising prices—up 300-400 percent in western Europe—it was an important chapter in world history. The events and circumstances drawn together in this upheaval—unprecedented far-flung European maritime exploration; enough gold and silver from America to massively expand Europe’s money supplies; significant population growth; the rapid expansion of cities; the cultural dynamism of the Renaissance; European control of Asian trade routes, spices, and luxury goods; technological innovation in war, commerce, and navigation alike; huge new commercial fortunes; and much expanded consumer markets—signaled a new European centrality in the world. Asia, more populous and hitherto richer, fell behind. Prices did not always go up everywhere in Europe, but their general trajectory was upward. Centrally involved countries like France and Spain saw price indexes four or five times higher in 1620 than they had been in 1500.
additive manufacturing, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deskilling, disintermediation, don't be evil, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, intermodal, invisible hand, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Martin Wolf, megacity, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, open borders, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, profit maximization, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey
Identify the barriers to power and whether they are coming up or going down, and you can solve a large part of the puzzle of power. 34 Monopolies, single-party systems, military dictatorships, societies that officially favor a particular race or religious faith, marketplaces swamped with advertising for a dominant product, cartels like OPEC, political systems like the American one in which two parties effectively control the electoral process and small ones cannot get a foothold—all of these are situations where the barriers to power are high, at least for now. But some citadels can be stormed—either because their defenses are not as strong as they seem, because they are unprepared for new types of attackers, or, for that matter, because the treasures they protected have lost value in the first place. In such instances the trade routes now bypass them, and they are no longer of interest to marauding armies. For example, the founders of Google did not set out to erode the dominance of the New York Times or other powerful media companies, but that is in fact what they accomplished. Insurgents who use improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, or bands of Somali pirates who use rickety boats and AK-47s to hijack large ships in the Gulf of Aden, are circumventing the barriers that ensured the dominance of technologically sophisticated armies and navies.
When people are better nourished, healthier, more educated, better informed, and more connected with others, many of the factors that locked power in place are no longer quite so effective. The key is this: When people are more numerous and living fuller lives, they become more difficult to regiment and control. The exercise of power in any realm involves, fundamentally, the ability to impose and retain control over a country, a marketplace, a constituency, a population of adherents, a network of trade routes, and so on. When the people in that territory—whether potential soldiers, voters, customers, workers, competitors, or believers—are more numerous and in fuller possession of their means and functioning at ever-greater levels of ability, they become more difficult to coordinate and control. The former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, reflecting on the drastic changes in the world order since he entered public life, put it bluntly: “It is infinitely easier today to kill a million people than to control them.”8 For those in power, the More revolution produces thorny dilemmas: How to coerce effectively when the use of force gets more costly and risky?
And as this chapter will show, not only have the factors that define a hegemon changed but the ON MARCH 28, 2012, AN EVENT TOOK PLACE THAT WAS AS IMPORTANT 114 acquisition and use of power in the international system are also undergoing a profound transformation. For centuries, the job of tending the rivalry between nations and scrabbling for territory, resources, and influence has been the noble calling of generals and ambassadors. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the representatives of the so-called Great Powers wielded their respective country’s military might and economic clout to win wars, harness alliances, secure trade routes and territory, and set the rules for the rest of the world. After World War II even more impressive creatures, the superpowers, came to perch on top of this group. And the dawn of the twenty-first century, with the Soviet Union consigned to the history books, found just one player paramount: the sole superpower, the hegemon, the United States. For the first time in history, many argued, the struggle for power among nations had produced one single, clear, and maybe even final winner.
The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State by James Dale Davidson, Rees Mogg
affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, British Empire, California gold rush, clean water, colonial rule, Columbine, compound rate of return, Danny Hillis, debt deflation, ending welfare as we know it, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Gilder, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Kevin Kelly, market clearing, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, Parkinson's law, pattern recognition, phenotype, price mechanism, profit maximization, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, school vouchers, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, spice trade, statistical model, telepresence, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Turing machine, union organizing, very high income
For example, it is possible that microbiological barriers to the exercise of power, equivalent to malaria but more virulent, could have halted the Western invasion of the periphery in its tracks. The first intrepid Portuguese adventurers who sailed into African waters could have contracted a deadly retrovirus, a more communicable version of AIDS, that would have stopped the opening of the new trade route to Asia before it even began. Columbus, too, and the first waves of settlers in the New World might have encountered diseases that decimated them in the same way that indigenous local populations were affected by measles and other Western childhood diseases. Yet nothing of the kind happened, a coincidence that underlines the intuition that history has a destiny. Microbes did far less to impede the consolidation of power in the' modern period than to facilitate it.
The catalysts for these changes were new technologies, from gunpowder weapons to the printing press, which changed the boundaries of life in ways that few could grasp. 73 By the final decade of the fifteenth century, explorers like Columbus were just beginning to open an approach to vast, unknown continents. For the first time in the immemorial ages of human existence, the whole world was compassed. Galleons, new high-masted improvisations on Mediterranean galleys, circumnavigated the globe, charting the passages that were to become trade routes and thoroughfares for disease and conquest. Conquistadors wielding their new bronze cannon on sea and on shore blasted open new horizons. They found fortunes in gold and spices, planted the seeds of new cash crops, from tobacco to potatoes, and staked out new grazing lands for their cattle. The First Industrial Technology Just as the cannon was opening new economic horizons, the printing press opened new intellectual horizons.
They could draw on tight kinship relations to defend against most violent threats on a limited scale, which were the only sort they were likely to encounter. When they encountered larger threats, organized by states, they were overpowered and subjected to rule monopolized by outside groups. This happened over and over. Wherever societies have formed at a scale above bands and tribes, especially where trade routes brought different peoples into contact, specialists in violence have always emerged to plunder any surplus more peaceful people could produce. When technological conditions raised the returns to violence, they doomed societies that were not organized to channel large resources into making war. "Which princes were rendering the service of police? Which were racketeers or even plunderers? A plunderer could become in effect the chief of police as soon as he regularized his 'take,' adapted it to the capacity to pay defended his preserve against other plunderers, and maintained his territorial monopoly long enough !
Collapse by Jared Diamond
clean water, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Donner party, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, means of production, new economy, North Sea oil, Piper Alpha, polynesian navigation, prisoner's dilemma, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transcontinental railway, unemployed young men
Ironically, raising sheep in Greenland doesn't pay even in the short run: the government has to give each sheep-farming family about $14,000 each year to cover their losses, provide them with an income, and induce them to carry on with the sheep. The Inuit play a major role in the story of the demise of Viking Greenland. They constituted the biggest difference between the histories of the Greenland and Iceland Norse: while the Icelanders did enjoy the advantages of a less daunting climate and shorter trade routes to Norway compared to their Greenland brethren, the Icelanders' clearest advantage lay in not being threatened by the Inuit. At minimum, the Inuit represent a missed opportunity: the Greenland Vikings would have had a better chance of surviving if they had learned from or traded with the Inuit, but they didn't. At maximum, Inuit attacks on or threats to the Vikings may have played a direct role in the Vikings' extinction.
is the world's leading importer nation: we import many necessities (especially oil and some rare metals) and many consumer products (cars and consumer electronics), as well as being the world's leading importer of investment capital. We are also the world's leading exporter, particularly of food and of our own manufactured products. Our own society opted long ago to become interlocked with the rest of the world. That's why political instability anywhere in the world now affects us, our trade routes, and our overseas markets and suppliers. We are so dependent on the rest of the world that if, 30 years ago, you had asked a politician to name the countries most geopolitically irrelevant to our interests because of their being so remote, poor, and weak, the list would surely have begun with Afghanistan and Somalia, yet they subsequently became recognized as important enough to warrant our dispatching U.S. troops.
Two other overview papers by Weisler are "The settlement of marginal Polynesia: new evidence from Henderson Island" (Journal of Field Archaeology 21:83—102 (1994)) and "An archaeological survey of Mangareva: implications for regional settlement models and interaction studies" (Man and Culture and Oceania 12:61-85 (1996)). Four papers by Weisler explain how chemical analysis of basalt adzes can identify on what island the basalt was quarried, and thus can help trace out trade routes: "Provenance studies of Polynesian basalt adzes material: a review and suggestions for improving regional databases" (Asian Perspectives 32:61-83 (1993)); "Basalt pb isotope analysis and the prehistoric settlement of Polynesia," coauthored with Jon D. Whitehead (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 92:1881-1885 (1995)); "Interisland and interarchipelago transfer of stone tools in prehistoric Polynesia," coauthored with Patrick V.
The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, British Empire, Copley Medal, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Etonian, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Harrison: Longitude, music of the spheres, placebo effect, polynesian navigation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade route, unbiased observer, University of East Anglia, éminence grise
Various reports and rumours drifted back to Banks and the Africa Association, but none of these early heroic travellers returned alive.4 The great prize was to reach the semi-legendary city of Timbuctoo, somewhere south of the Sahara. Here, it was said, lay a great West African metropolis, packed with treasures and glittering with towers and palaces roofed with gold. It was strategically situated astride the fabled river Niger, at the confluence of the Arabic and African trade routes. Beyond Timbuctoo, it was thought that the mysterious Niger might flow due eastwards, providing a trade route across the entire African continent, and eventually meeting up with the Nile in Egypt. But to the Europeans nothing was known for certain, though many speculative maps had been drawn by military cartographers, such as Major John Rennell’s ‘Sketch of the Northern Parts of Africa’, presented to the Association in 1790. Banks remained optimistically on the lookout for young men of promise and daring.
He was allowed to take along his best friend, his wife’s brother Dr Alexander Anderson, as a companion, and a young Edinburgh draughtsman, George Scott, as the expedition’s official artist. Banks had spent many months trying to organise this expedition, but as war with France continued, its raison d’être had clearly altered. It was now transformed from a geographical survey to that of an armed trading caravan, its main purpose to seek to establish a commercial trade route down the Niger. Banks had secretly sent the outline of a grand imperial ‘project’ to the President of the Board of Trade, the Earl of Liverpool, as early as June 1799. The Niger expedition would form just one small element in this strategy. ‘Should the undertaking be fully resolved upon, the first step of Government must be to secure to the British Throne, either by conquest or by Treaty, the whole of the Coast of Africa from Arguin to Sierra Leone…’ For a moment Banks had a heady vision of a vast, benign commercial empire stretching over the dark continent and bringing light and happiness in its wake: ‘I have little doubt that in a very few years a trading Company might be established under the immediate control of Government, who…would govern the Negroes far more mildly, and make them far more happy than they now are under the Tyranny of their arbitrary Princes…by converting them to the Christian Religion…and by effecting the greatest practicable diminution of the Slavery of mankind, upon the Principles of natural Justice and commercial Benefit.’
But equally, his intensely romantic attachment to his wife Allison did not prevent him from returning to the Niger, and the high likelihood of death. His agreement to lead an armed expedition, to accept a military commission and payment (and in effect a form of life insurance) from the Colonial Office, suggests a quite new kind of professionalism. So too does his acceptance of a commercial mission, to search for a ‘new trade route into the Sudan’, as well as his decision to learn Arabic before he set out. On his first trip he traded mostly in amber and cloth; on his second, in guns and gunpowder. Whether all this means that Mungo Park had consciously undertaken an ‘imperial’ mission in his second expedition remains ambiguous. At least up to the last boat journey from Sansanding, he was respectful of all native customs, modest in his behaviour, and humane and honourable in his treatment of anyone he met (including his own troops).
When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures by Richard D. Lewis
Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, business climate, business process, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, global village, haute cuisine, hiring and firing, invention of writing, Mahatma Gandhi, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, profit maximization, profit motive, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, trade route, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, women in the workforce
The exploitation of this market, with its enticing mix of such ingredients as high GDP per capita, low labor costs and skilled workforces, could be more attractive and viable in the long term than many areas of Southern Europe and elsewhere. The historical opportunity beckons, as the Danes and Swedes link their countries with the Oresund Bridge and the eastern Baltic states, encouraged by Finland, seek to revive the old Hanseatic trade routes. The three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) qualified for and were admitted to the European Union in 2004. In the past, the three nations have rarely cooperated effectively, divided as they have been by language, religion, foreign rulers and dreams of separation and independence. Lithuanians, an emotional and grandiloquent people, feel more at home with Slavic Poles and Russians than they do with Latvians and Estonians.
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was the largest and most powerful state in Eastern Europe in the eighteenth century. Lutheran Latvians, blond and stocky, are more like northern Germans, who colonized them as early as the thirteenth century. Estonians, also Lutheran and even more reserved, strongly resemble their Finnish cousins and speak a Finno-Ugrian tongue. If the Hanseatic highway and trade routes are to be resurrected—and this would bring enormous benefit and prolific growth to the region—the three small Baltic states will have to cooperate closely with one another, as well as with other nations on the Baltic shores. A subtle but important consideration in this regard is the common sprinkling among the Balts of a sizeable number of Russophones (speakers of Russian). Any exponential increase in the Balts’ growth and prosperity can only take place if Russia’s economy takes a turn for the better.
Play down your desire to make money as quickly as possible. Give personal opinions, rather than those of your company, officials or national policy. Develop a personal working relationship based on mutual affection. Show sentiment and be willing to indulge in soulsearching with them—it is a favorite pastime. MOTIVATION KEY Cross-century mood Good manners combined with liveliness They share the Baltic states’ hopes of reviving the old Hanseatic trade routes. ✦ They were happy to be in the EU—they point out that Vilnius is the geographic center of Europe! ✦ Motivating Factors Share their strong sense of national identity. ✦ Show some interest in their language—it is the oldest and most archaic IndoEuropean language. ✦ (continued) 372 WHEN CULTURES COLLIDE MOTIVATION (continued) ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ Discussion can be livelier than in the other two Baltic states—you can express personal opinions strongly, but with good taste.
Heaven's Command (Pax Britannica) by Jan Morris
British Empire, Cape to Cairo, centralized clearinghouse, Corn Laws, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scramble for Africa, trade route
It was specifically a trading company, but it was incidentally an instrument of policy—the three little ships of its first expedition failed in their attempts to find a northern route to Cathay, but instead the company opened up trade with Russia, founded the first British trading stations or ‘factories’ in foreign territory, and learnt a great deal about the geography of Central Asia. The Muscovy Company never aspired to foreign dominion, but in establishing diplomatic contacts, in assembling intelligence, in exploration and in the establishment of trade routes, its merchants were in effect doing the work of the State. By the early decades of Victoria’s reign two great exemplars of this tradition survived, and were now assuming a new role in national affairs. The relationship between trade and dominion was becoming more complex. As Disraeli said of that traditional colonial commodity, sugar, all considerations now mingled in it: ‘not merely commercial, but imperial, philanthropic, religious; confounding and crossing each other, and confusing the legislature and the nation lost in a maze of conflicting interests and contending emotions’.
The ocean as a whole, however, seemed destined to become an American preserve. As Dilke wrote in 1868, ‘the power of America is now predominant in the Pacific: the Sandwich Islands are all but annexed, Japan is all but ruled by her, while the occupation of British Columbia is but a matter of time, and a Mormon descent upon the Marquesas is already planned’. To the British the island groups had seemed irrelevant, for they were utterly detached from the great imperial trade routes, and seemed to offer neither threat nor promise to the imperial aspirations. Successive British Governments had declined to assume new responsibilities there, though urged to do so by Australians and New Zealanders, and repeatedly supplicated by island kings and queens. In many parts British missionaries had converted the islanders to Christianity and western civilization, more or less; in many others British traders had been active and influential for generations; but to provide administrations for these remote and infinitesimal communities, to be saddled with the cost of garrisons or the bore of moral responsibility, to take on yet another rivalry with the Americans, was the last thing British Governments had desired.
Only Empire, it seemed to many businessmen, could restore the proper status quo: with new markets, with new sources of raw material, and with convenient barriers, actual if not explicit, against foreign competition. Strategically the impulses of the new imperialism were also largely defensive. If the London military planners wished to acquire new territory, it was generally to prevent foreigners acquiring it first, or to protect some existing possession, or guard a threatened trade route. The grand assurance of Waterloo and Trafalgar had waned rather with the years. The Britain of the 1870s was no longer beyond challenge. The Americans, in their civil war, had shown themselves capable of immense military exertion, and had for a few years possessed not merely the most experienced, but actually the largest armies in the world. The Germans, newly federated, proved by their victory over France in 1870 that they were the most formidable military nation in Europe, unlikely to leave the British Empire indefinitely sacrosanct.
affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Snowden, energy security, energy transition, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, experimental subject, F. W. de Klerk, facts on the ground, failed state, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, high net worth, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, éminence grise
Pre-modern empires tended to be about the acquisition of fertile or resource-rich territory for landed oligarchies, the enslavement of populations for exploitation, and the conquest of trade routes. The Roman Empire annexed land for its rich landowners. The Dutch Empire used piracy to take control of trade routes. And the Spanish Empire’s colonization of Southern America, put crudely, turned the continent into vast gold- and silver-mining enterprise, and its population into slave labor. The modern American empire is a different beast. Its network of military bases from Greenland to Australia is not part of a system of territorial occupation or annexation, but rather serves to localize American military power in convenient ways, so that it can maintain a system of states whose features suit its interests. In general, the United States wants access to trade routes, and can back up its claims with impressive naval power, but does not need to control them directly.
While a sea, desert, or mountain could be crossed or bypassed at some expense, and energy resources discovered or stolen, the ability to project an empire’s desires, structure, and knowledge across space and time forms an absolute boundary to its existence. Cultures and economies communicate using all manner of techniques across the regions and years of their existence, from the evolution of jokes shared virally between friends to the diffusion of prices across trade routes. This does not by itself make an empire. The structured attempt at managing an extended cultural and economic system using communications is the hallmark of empire. And it is the records of these communications, never intended to be dissected, and so especially vulnerable to dissection, that form the basis for understanding the nature of the world’s sole remaining “empire.” ANATOMY OF THE US EMPIRE And where is this empire?
INTRODUCTION When Britain took possession of the Cape Colony in 1806 during the course of the Napoleonic Wars it was a slave-owning outpost, three months’ sailing distance from London, previously run as a Dutch commercial enterprise that had teetered on the edge of bankruptcy for years. Britain’s only interest in the Cape was its use as a naval base at the foot of Africa halfway along the vital trade route between Europe and Asia - a stepping stone that the British government was determined to keep out of French hands. Its wartime occupation was not expected to be permanent. The white colonial population, descendants of Dutch, German and French Huguenot settlers, was small, no more than 25,000 in all, scattered across a territory of 100,000 square miles. Most lived in Cape Town and the surrounding farming districts of the Boland, an area favoured with rich soils, a Mediterranean climate and reliable rainfall, renowned for its vineyards and gracious living.
He signed an agreement with Mankurwane promising him the return of his lands and declared the Goshen farms to be the property of the Crown pending a proper investigation of titles. But not only did his actions enrage the freebooters, they infuriated Rhodes and Robinson who wanted Cape expansion, not imperial trusteeship. Rhodes’ campaign to extend the Cape’s boundaries gathered momentum during 1884. Addressing parliament in July, he repeated his warning of the previous year: Is this House prepared to allow these petty republics to form a wall across our trade routes? Are we to allow the Transvaal and its allies to acquire the whole of the interior? Bechuanaland is the neck of the bottle and commands the route to the Zambesi. We must secure it, unless we are prepared to see the whole of the North pass out of our hands . . . I do not want to part with the key to the interior, leaving us settled just on this small peninsula. I want the Cape Colony to be able to deal with the question of confederation as the dominant state of South Africa.
He even argued that ‘the natives did not want the franchise’. Rhodes endeavoured too to appeal to the trek geest - the trekking spirit - of the Afrikaners. ‘I feel that it is the duty of this Colony, when, as it were, her younger and more fiery sons go out and take land, to follow in their steps with civilised government.’ In line with this, he declared that ‘what we want now is to annex land, not natives’. To wine farmers he offered a free-trade route to the interior for their products, seeking to harness Afrikaner support for northern expansion. To his fellow Englishmen, he stressed the need for white colonial unity. ‘You cannot have real prosperity . . . until you have first established complete confidence between the two races [English and Afrikaner].’ And he offered his personal endorsement: ‘I like the [Cape] Dutch, I like their homely courtesy and their tenacity of purpose. ’ All this was music to the ears of the Bond.
The Wars of Afghanistan by Peter Tomsen
airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Khyber Pass, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Plutocrats, plutocrats, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce
The advance of European imperialism in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries further intensified Afghanistan’s isolation from broader regional and global currents. The European imperial expansion followed maritime trade routes around Africa into Asia, obviating the potential revival of the age-old land-centered Eurasian trade corridors through Afghanistan. Instead of a crossroads of trans-Eurasian commerce, the Afghan highland became a battleground18 for neighboring larger powers—a role that it has continued to play into contemporary times. The Indian Mughals and Persian Safavids fought to dominate the Afghan highland separating their empires. Neither was willing to commit the resources necessary to establish a lasting presence, or to restore the centuries-old international trade routes. Both recruited Afghan mercenaries, the Persians from the Durrani and Ghilzai tribes in southern Afghanistan, the Mughals from the eastern Ghilzai tribes.
Not backing down, Daoud gave Ayub Khan one week to cancel his actions. Ayub Khan let Daoud’s deadline expire. He then escalated tensions by blocking all trade routes across the Durand Line. The restriction cut off the centuries-old annual winter migration of over a million Afghan Pashtun nomads into Pakistan. More important, the Pakistani blockade severed Afghanistan’s main economic and trade corridors to the outside world. Daoud looked to Moscow for help. Soviet planes airlifted Afghanistan’s entire 1961 fruit crop to markets in the USSR and Eastern Europe. Afghanistan and the Soviet Union signed new transportation agreements to offset closed Afghan-Pakistani trade routes by constructing new roads to the northern Soviet-Afghan border. But these stopgap measures could not compensate for the devastating economic consequences that the Pakistani blockade inflicted on Afghanistan.
., during the reign of the Greek king Hermaeus, but it was by no means the end of turmoil in the area. The Huns, and then the Turks and Mongols, continued to invade Afghanistan over the next 1,300 years.7 In the first century A.D. the Kushans overran Afghanistan and built an empire based near Peshawar in the region of Gandhara. Kushan kings adopted Buddhism.8 Their empire profited from its location at the center of the Great Silk Road network of trade routes linking Han China to the Roman Empire. Caravans traversed Eurasia east to west, passing through the Afghan cities of Balkh, Kabul, Bamian, and Herat, and robust trade also moved along the north-south corridors linking Balkh, Kabul, Jalalabad, Peshawar, and Delhi. During the third to fifth centuries A.D., Buddhist missionaries traveling the Silk Road carved two giant Buddha statues into the soaring mountain cliffs of the Bamian Valley about 70 miles northwest of Kabul.
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
The two sides engaged each other amid palms and fever trees along the Tsavo River, living on bush meat and dying of malaria as much as from bullets, but bullets having the usual disastrous repercussions for wildlife. Again, Tsavo was emptied. Again, in the absence of humans, it filled with animals. Sandpaper trees laden with yellow saucerberries overgrew the World War I battlefields, hosting families of baboons. In 1948, stating that people had no other use for it, the Crown declared Tsavo, one of human history’s busiest trade routes, a wilderness refuge. Two decades later, its elephant population was 45,000—one of Africa’s biggest. That, however, was not to last. As the white single-engine Cessna takes off, one of the Earth’s most incongruous sights unfolds beneath its wings. The wide savanna below is Nairobi National Park, where elands, Thomson’s gazelles, cape buffalo, hartebeest, ostriches, white-bellied bustards, giraffes, and lions live jammed against a wall of blocky high-rises.
In the opposite direction, until recent improvements halved travel time, the rutted road southwest from Flores took three miserable hours, ending at the scruffy outpost of Sayaxché, where an army machine gun placement perched atop a Mayan pyramid. Sayaxché is on the Río Pasión—the Passion River—which lolls through the western Petén province to the confluence of the rivers Usamacinta and Salinas, together forming Guatemala’s border with Mexico. The Pasión was once a major trade route for jade, fine pottery, quetzal feathers, and jaguar skins. More recently, commerce includes contraband mahogany and cedar logs, opium from Guatemalan highland poppies, and looted Mayan artifacts. During the early 1990s, motor-driven wooden launches on a sluggish Pasión tributary, the Riochuelo Petexbatún, also carried quantities of two modest items that in the Petén are veritable luxuries: corrugated zinc roofing and cases of Spam.
affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, en.wikipedia.org, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, George Akerlof, guest worker program, Hernando de Soto, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, night-watchman state, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, open economy, price stability, profit maximization, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, savings glut, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, Washington Consensus, World Values Survey
The territorial control of the company did not end for some two hundred years, until 1870, at which point the company turned possession of Rupert’s Land over to the Dominion of Canada in exchange for £300,000 ($34 million in today’s money).6 The Canadian fur trade was comparatively small and the Hudson’s Bay Company no more than a footnote in the extensive mercantile system of long-distance trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The major trade routes lay elsewhere. There was of course the infamous Atlantic triangular trade, which carried slaves to the Americas in exchange for sugar, cotton, and tobacco (with the Europe-Africa leg providing an important connecting link). There was also the ever important trade with India and Southeast Asia, which could now bypass Venetian and Muslim intermediaries thanks to Vasco da Gama’s passage of the Cape of Good Hope in 1497–98.
The Industrial Development Corporation that he recommended was designed in part to stimulate the kind of strategic collaboration we had in mind for South Africa—See Meade, The Economic and Social Structure of Mauritius, p. 30. 36 See the speech by Rob Davies, minister of trade and industry, Budget Vote Address in Parliament delivered in Cape Town on June 30, 2009; available online at http://www.politicsweb.co.za/ politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/ page71656?oid=134655&sn=Detail. 37 Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures, Communication to the House of Representatives, December 5, 1791. 9. The Political Trilemma of the World Economy 1 See the interview with Domingo Cavallo at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/ shared/pdf/int_domingocavallo.pdf. 2 This account draws on Dani Rodrik, “Reform in Argentina, Take Two: Trade Rout,” The New Republic, January 14, 2002, pp. 13–15. 3 Cavallo would later argue that the true culprit was loose fiscal policy in the years preceding the crisis. See the interview cited in note 1. From a narrow economic perspective, he may well be right. With enough fiscal austerity, price deflation, and belt-tightening, the Argentine economy would have been able to service external debts and maintain financial market confidence.
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart
We were all tired and relieved to have found shelter. When I had the idea of an Asian walk five years earlier, such legacies of the Silk Road had fascinated me. There would once perhaps have been lapis lazuli here, carried west from the mines of Afghanistan to make the blue in medieval Sienese paintings, and amber cut from tree fossils in the Baltic and brought east for Tibetan necklaces. Even more mysterious objects had moved down such trading routes: diamonds that could make you a king, Buddhist texts on birch-bark scrolls in characters that could no longer be deciphered, Chinese astrolabes to mystify the Vatican. But now that I was walking, I found it more difficult to be interested in the Silk Road. Such things had little to do with modern Afghanistan and I doubted whether the people who lived in this building had a clear idea of its past.
I guessed, however, that the international community would not act before it was too late, and I was right.38 Just before I left the site of the Turquoise Mountain, Abdullah, Bushire's son, showed me three pieces he'd found that morning. They suggested the Ghorid dynasty was in some ways more open to the world in the twelfth century than the government in Herat is today. One was a fragment of porcelain that appeared from the delicate design in under-glaze red to have been imported eight hundred years ago from China on a trading route four thousand kilometers long. The other was a coin depicting Zoroastrian fire worshippers, one element in the complex religious patchwork from which the minaret emerged: The Hebrew tombstones showed there had been Jews; the indigenous people had perhaps been Hindus; while the Ghorids' second capital of Bamiyan was dominated by two giant Buddhas.39 The third piece was a fragment from the rim of a plate.
air freight, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, double helix, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, frictionless, Haight Ashbury, Kevin Kelly, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, Zimmermann PGP
Its guide to vendors is pretty laissez-faire: ‘Do not list anything who’s [sic] purpose is to harm or defraud, such as stolen items or info, stolen credit cards, counterfeit currency, personal info, assassinations, and weapons of any kind. Do not list anything related to pedophilia [sic].’ The site has Norwegians selling Cambodian mushrooms, Canadians selling Afghan heroin, and Brits selling concentrated cannabis tinctures from ancient Nepalese cannabis landraces grown under artificial sunlight in lofts that may well be in Basildon. Appropriately for a site named after a trade route that first brought these drugs to the West, there are also opiates, including opium, prescription morphine, and white and brown heroin from Afghanistan. Most of the products are illegal, but whether you want a quarter gram of heroin or a gram of glittering Peruvian escama de pescado cocaine, you’re in the right place, and there’s not a great deal the police or customs can do to stop you. The Silk Road is a cyberpunk dreamland – except it’s happening today, in dozens of countries, not in some dystopian future in a William Gibson novel.
There’s high-grade kush marijuana, with enthusiastic recommendations from satisfied customers for one particular vendor, detailing how he vacuum-sealed and wrapped and triple-packed the highly fragrant goods into an envelope small enough to be posted through most standard letterboxes, negating the need to sign for the packets – or for the raising of any red flags at customs. That the strain is one of the world’s oldest and earliest genetic examples of the plant, brought to Europe and thence to the US along traditional trading routes, is an irony probably not lost on the Silk Road’s intelligently combative and articulate owner, who operates under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts. Buying is a simple matter of adding the goods to your shopping cart, and paying for them. The money is held in an escrow account hosted at the site, and although you have to supply a delivery address, this can be encrypted, and is deleted as soon as you have received the goods.
In Defense of Global Capitalism by Johan Norberg
Asian financial crisis, capital controls, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, Gini coefficient, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, Lao Tzu, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Naomi Klein, new economy, open economy, profit motive, race to the bottom, rising living standards, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, union organizing
84 Property rights—for the sake of the poor 90 The East Asian ‘‘miracle’’ 99 The African morass 104 III. Free trade is fair trade 113 Mutual benefit 114 Important imports 120 Free trade brings growth 128 No end of work 136 Freedom of movement—for people as well 145 IV. The development of the developing countries 151 An unequal distribution—of capitalism 152 The white man’s shame 156 The case of Latin America 163 On the trade route 169 ‘‘Let them keep their tariffs’’ 173 The debt trap 177 The right medicine 186 V. Race to the top 191 I’m all for free trade, but . . . 192 Child labor 198 But what about us? 203 Big is beautiful 210 ‘‘Gold and green forests’’ 224 VI. Irrational, international capital? 239 The leaderless collective 240 Regulate more? 249 Tobin tax 253 The Asian crisis 259 Instead of crisis 264 The ‘‘dictatorship of the market’’ 268 VII.
Tremendous growth ensued, with real earnings more than doubling by 1995, at the same time as infant mortality fell from 6 percent to just over 1 percent, and average life expectancy rose from 64 to 73 years. Chileans today have almost a southern European standard of living, in stark contrast to their neighbors. Most important of all, the bloodstained dictatorship has been peacefully superseded by a stable democratic regime—just as the liberal advisers advocated and prophesied.11 168 On the trade route The possibility of breaking free of dependence on raw materials lies in free trade rather than protectionism. Instead of a shield behind which industry could grow strong, the tariff walls became a shield from competition that made them less efficient and innovative. The developing countries that have switched fastest from exporting raw materials to exporting upgraded products are those that have themselves had the most open economies, above all the Asian countries.
Great original books as well came out of Timbuktu, by a swelling number of local scientists, historians, philosophers, and versemakers. Anthologies of poems celebrated everything from the Prophet to romantic love to more mundane subjects such as green tea. The Tariq Al Sudan presented, in thirty-eight chapters, an unparalleled history of life on the Middle Niger under the Songhai emperors, describing in great detail trade routes, battles, invasions, and daily life in cities such as Djenné, famed for its thirteenth-century Great Mud Mosque. “The land of Djenné is prosperous and densely inhabited, with major markets every day of the week. It is said there are 7,077 villages in that land, all close to one another,” the author observed. “If the sultan wants to summon to Djenné someone living near Lake Debo [a seasonal lake north of Djenné, formed by the flooding of the Niger River basin], his messenger goes to a gate in the wall and calls the name of the person in question.
Belmokhtar traded in both counterfeits produced in China and Vietnam and genuine Western brands, which typically entered West Africa from the United States and Europe through Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Guinea, and reached Mali by road or by boat along the Niger. Belmokhtar and his colleagues charged a tax for safe passage of the cigarettes or smuggled the product themselves through the Sahara along established salt-trading routes by SUVs, trucks, and motorcycles. The final destinations were Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia, which together consume nearly half of Africa’s cigarettes, much of them purchased on the black market. Belmokhtar was, by all accounts, a cunning, energetic, and resourceful gangster. Within a couple of years, by building an entrenched network of support through the desert, and intimidating would-be competitors, he gained so great a share of the trans-Saharan contraband business that he became known in the region as “Mr.
The Word for World Is Forest by Ursula K. le Guin
There were more languages than lands, and each with a different dialect for every town that spoke it; there were infinite ramifications of manners, morals, customs, crafts; physical types differed on each of the five Great Lands. The people of Sornol were tall, and pale, and great traders; the people of Rieshwel were short, and many had black fur, and they ate monkeys, and so on and on. But the climate varied little, and the forest little, and sea not at all. Curiosity, regular trade-routes, and the necessity of finding a husband or wife of the proper Tree, kept up an easy movement of people among the towns and between the lands, and so there were certain likenesses among all but the remotest extremes, the half-rumored barbarian isles of the Far East and South. In all the Forty Lands, women ran the cities and towns, and almost every town toad a Men's Lodge. Within the Lodges the Dreamers spoke an old tongue, and this varied little from land to land.
According to a German staff officer attached to the Ottoman armed forces, the grand duke's offensive would "have led to a complete victory and perhaps driven Turkey out of the war in the summer of 1917."1 Yet years later, Lloyd George told the House of Commons that "the collapse of Russia was almbst entirely due" to the Ottoman Empire.2 The basis of Lloyd George's opinion was that by closing off most of Russia's imports and exports, the Young Turk masters of Constantinople had deprived her of armaments and revenues. Those who disagree with Lloyd George's assessment are able to argue that even if the Constantinople trade route had remained open, wartime Russia, with her peasant farmers away in the army, produced less than the normal amount of food and so had less to export, and her Allies had little ammunition to send her. But either observation points to the paradoxical truth that Russia's military successes on the Caucasus front were in a sense irrelevant: the real war had become an economic and social survival contest.
Russia was a country naturally rich in agriculture: the peasantry made up 80 percent of the population, and cereals alone constituted half of her exports.s With the export trade cut off at Constantinople, all the food formerly sent out of the country was available to be consumed at home; and though there was a fall in the production of agricultural estates caused by the loss of labor to the army, more than enough food was produced to feed the country.6 The shortages resulted instead from disruption of transportation and distribution, due in part to bottlenecks and breakdowns, but due also to deliberate maneuvers: speculation, profiteering, and hoarding. The Czar's government recklessly ignored the need to crack down on the profiteers who accentuated the consequences of Turkey's stranglehold on Russia's trade route to the West. Widespread indus-trial strikes and the onset of financial chaos failed to move the government to act. By 1917 current interest and sinking fund payments due on its public debt were greater than the total revenues of the state in 1916, a national insolvency with which the government dealt by printing paper money, so that prices during wartime years rose by 1,000 percent.7 An obvious way out of the crisis was to bring the war to an end.
Germany urgently needed the agricultural and mineral wealth and the railroad system of Georgia, and even more so the oil wells of Azerbaijan, to sustain her war effort. Thinking ahead to the postwar world, German leaders also intended to use Transcaucasia as a spearhead into the markets of the Middle East. The Ottoman leaders also looked to the commercial uses of the provinces across their frontier. They thought in terms of restoring the old trade route with Iran, and of reviving their Black Sea and Crimean commerce. Enver, above all, aimed at the creation of a new Turkish empire that stretched into Central Asia, to which Transcaucasia would be the link. Convinced that Germany had disregarded Turkish interests when she negotiated the terms of the armistice with Russia, Enver proceeded to disregard German interests in Transcaucasia, and sent the flower of his remaining armies across the frontier to conquer Georgia and Armenia and to march on Azerbaijan.
The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
Now it is clear that I was right to argue for your life, as word comes to us of your many activities, and wonderful investigations.' Khalid looked up at him to see if he were being mocked, and Nadir lifted a palm to show his sincerity. Khalid looked down again. 'But I came here to remind you that all these fascinating trials take place in a dangerous world. The khanate lies at the centre of all the trade routes in the world, with armies in all directions. The Khan is concerned to protect his subjects from attack, and yet we hear of cannon that would reduce our cities' walls in a week or less. The Khan wishes you to help him with this problem. He is sure you will be happy to bring him some small part of the fruits of your learning, to help him to defend the khanate.' 'All my trials are the Khan's,' Khalid said seriously.
At about the midpoint of this period, as the dates indicate, Islam appeared, and very quickly it came to dominate the world. Very likely there were some underlying economic reasons for this phenomenon; Islam, perhaps by chance but perhaps not, appeared in the 'centre of the world', the area sometimes called the Isthmus Region, bounded by the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. All the trade routes necessarily knotted here, like dragon arteries in a feng shui analysis. So it is not particularly surprising that for a time Islam provided the world with a general currency, the dinar, and a generally used language, Arabic. But it was also a religion, indeed it became almost the universal religion, and we must understand that its appeal as a religion arose partly from the fact that in a world of growing inequalities, Islam spoke of a realm in which all were equal – all equal before God no matter their age, gender, occupation, race or nationality.
The slaves came chiefly from Africa; and they became more important because there was more labour to be done, while at the same time the mechanical improvements allowing for more powerful tools had not yet been made, so that all this new work had to be accomplished by animal and human effort alone. So, added to the subjugation of farmers, women, and the family, was this fourth inequality, of race or group, leading to the subjugation of the most powerless peoples to slavery. And the unequal accumulation of wealth by the elites continued. The discovery of the New World has only accelerated these processes, providing both more wealth and more slaves. The trade routes themselves have moved substantially from land to sea, and Islam no longer controls the crossroads as it did for a thousand years. The main centre of accumulation has shifted to China; indeed, China may have been the centre all along. It has always had the most people; and from ancient times people everywhere else have traded for Chinese goods. Rome's trade balance with China was so poor that it lost a million ounces of silver a year to China.
agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize
Monarchs, constantly at war with one another, funded science and engineering to further their territorial ambitions. Science was not just an academic exercise but a way to create new weapons and new avenues of wealth. Soon, the rise of science and technology in Europe began to weaken the power of China and the Ottoman Empire. The Muslim civilization, which had prospered for centuries as a gateway for trade between the East and the West, faltered as European sailors forged trade routes to the New World and the East—especially around Africa, bypassing the Middle East. And China found itself being carved up by European gunboats that ironically exploited two pivotal Chinese inventions, gunpowder and the compass. The answer to the question “What happened?” is clear. Science and technology happened. Science and technology are the engines of prosperity. Of course, one is free to ignore science and technology, but only at your peril.
Today, you had breakfast that the king of England could not have had 100 years ago. Exotic delicacies from around the world are now routinely sold in supermarkets. The falling of commodity prices is due to a variety of factors, such as better mass production, containerization, shipping, communication, and competition. (For example, today’s high school students have a hard time understanding why Columbus risked life and limb to find a shorter trade route to the spices of the East. Why couldn’t he simply go to the supermarket, they ask, and get some oregano? But in the days of Columbus, spices and herbs were extremely expensive. They were prized because they could mask the taste of rotting food, since there were no refrigerators in those days. At times, even kings and emperors had to eat rotten food at dinner. There were no refrigerated cars, containers, or ships to carry spices across the oceans.)
Berlin Wall, California gold rush, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, indoor plumbing, Khyber Pass, megastructure, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil rush, Potemkin village, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, trade route
Eyewitness accounts of the episode suggested that the rescuers had been Pakistani troops. The stories became early cause for suspicion that Pakistani security forces had entered into more than a casual relationship with the Taliban. Each side had something to gain from such an alliance. Pakistan would benefit if the Taliban army were deployed against unruly former mujahideen who were running amok along Bhutto’s hoped-for trade route into Central Asia, and generally flouted Pakistan’s opinion on the conduct of Afghan matters. The Taliban stood to profit if Pakistan’s generals were to provide badly needed supplies, such as fuel and communications equipment. Tribal allegiances that spilled across both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border also encouraged cooperation. The alliance became more evident in the weeks that followed.
The nascent Caspian states could reap lasting economic benefits and political allegiances from such a project, making them better able to resist Russia should it attempt to march back into Central Asia and the Caucasus one day. The pipeline could be routed so as to skirt not only Russia but also Iran, whose policies the American government abhorred. America and its allies could collect a huge energy dividend, assuming that most or all of the pipeline’s oil were funneled to the West. Finally, the Clinton administration thought that the pipeline could be the catalyst to reorder historic north-south trade routes in the region—an outcome that would favor the West and disfavor Russia. Central Asia and the Caucasus traditionally shipped raw material like oil, natural gas, and cotton north to Russia, which sent back finished products in return. Washington imagined that the pipeline and its related network of barges, highways, and railroads could redirect trade along east-west routes, with Turkey playing the role that had once belonged to Russia.
Cocaine Nation: How the White Trade Took Over the World by Thomas Feiling
anti-communist, barriers to entry, crack epidemic, deindustrialization, illegal immigration, informal economy, inventory management, land reform, Lao Tzu, offshore financial centre, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, upwardly mobile
In writing this book, I didn’t want to get swept up in the all-too-familiar mix of nosiness, envy and sanctimony that masquerades as the ‘public interest’, or the ritual inflation and deflation of mediocrity that passes for ‘celebrity news’. I have not sought the opinions of commentators, politicians or the drug-taking anecdotes of high-rollers. Instead, I wanted to hear from those who work day to day on the cocaine trade routes that run from London and New York via Miami, Kingston and Tijuana to Colombia. I wanted to see the impact of the war on drugs on the consumers, traders and producers of cocaine, and the impact they have on the soldiers, police officers, customs officials and doctors charged with prosecuting the war. I wanted to bring the tight-lipped mechanics who keep the cocaine economy ticking over on to the stage.
Now the Mexican army is waging a war on those cartels that overshadows even the bloody cocaine wars that gripped Colombia in the 1980s. Over 2,400 Mexicans were killed in drug-related violence in 2007. By December 2008, a further 5,600 people had been killed and the death toll looks set to go still higher in 2009.4 Luis Rodriguez, the former gang member I had met in Los Angeles, told me how Mexico had become so important to the traffickers. ‘The DEA made big efforts to destroy the trade routes through Florida, and the Colombians started to think, “Well, let’s go through Mexico.” At first, the Colombians didn’t want to go through Mexico, because it had some of the oldest smuggling organizations on the continent, and they’d have to pay all these old drug lords who had been there for a long time. Back then, they had mainly been growing marijuana, but I used to go to Mexico to pick up heroin too.
In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan by Seth G. Jones
business climate, clean water, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, failed state, friendly fire, invisible hand, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, open borders, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route
“Ambushes, assassinations, attacks on supply convoys, bridges, pipelines, and airfields, with the avoidance of set piece battles; these are history’s proven techniques for the guerrilla,” wrote Mohammad Yousaf, who ran Pakistan’s ISI operations in Afghanistan during the Soviet War.32 Indeed, Afghanistan’s rich history serves as a springboard for understanding the American experience in a country that since antiquity has been called a graveyard of empires. IN THE GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES FIGURE 1.1 Map of Afghanistan CHAPTER ONE Descent into Violence AFGHANISTAN’S STRATEGIC LOCATION, wedged between Persia, the weathered steppes of Central Asia, and the trade routes of the Indian Subcontinent, has long made it alluring to great powers. When Alexander the Great began his march into Afghanistan around 330 BC, locals witnessed a forbidding sight. Riding ahead of the invading force were scouts armed with sarisas—pikes up to twenty feet long, weighted at the base and projecting fifteen feet in front of the mounted cavalry. Agile soldiers armed with javelins surveyed the heights on both flanks.
His influence among Afghan officials was unparalleled among U.S. diplomats in the country. Behind his thick, six-foot frame was a charming, almost unassuming, personality. But Khalilzad could also be an imposing figure. He exuded an extraordinary sense of confidence and authority when he walked into a room, but his true métier was the face-to-face meeting. Herat, in the fertile Hari River Valley, lies seventy miles from the Iranian border, along the ancient trade routes that linked Europe with the Middle East, India, and China. The city was later used by the British, Soviet, and Taliban armies, each of whom conquered the city and constructed key military installations. Ismail Khan had been a staple figure in Herat for several decades, participating in the Soviet War in the 1980s and the Afghan civil war in the early 1990s, until he was captured by the Taliban later in the decade.
The Rough Guide to Prague by Humphreys, Rob
active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, centre right, clean water, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Peace of Westphalia, sustainable-tourism, trade route, upwardly mobile
If the above has only whetted your appetite, there are more Czech Cubist exhibits in the Veletržní palác, and more Cubist buildings in Vyšehrad, models of which are displayed in the museum. STARÉ M Ě S TO Celetná, whose name comes from the bakers who used to bake a particular type of small loaf (calty) here in the Middle Ages, leads east from Staroměstské náměstí direct to the Prašná brána, one of the original gateways of the old town. It’s one of the oldest streets in Prague, lying along the former trade route from the old town market square, as well as on the králová cesta. Its buildings were smartly refaced in the Baroque period, and their pastel plasterwork is now crisply maintained. Dive down one of the covered passages to the left and into the backstreets, however, and you’ll soon lose the crowds. 93 Anežský klášter STARÉ M Ě S TO | Anežský klášter • Stavovské divadlo Further north from sv Jakub through the backstreets, the Anežský klášter (Convent of St Agnes), Prague’s oldest surviving Gothic building, stands within a stone’s throw of the river as it loops around to the east.
With Emperor Frederick II preoccupied with Mediterranean affairs and dynastic problems, and the Hungarians and Poles busy trying to repulse the Mongol invasions from 1220 onwards, the Přemyslids were able to assert their independence. In 1212, Otakar I (1192–1230) managed to extract a “Golden Bull” (formal edict) from the emperor, securing the royal title for himself and his descendants (who thereafter became kings of Bohemia). Prague prospered, too, beneﬁting from its position on the central European trade routes. Czechs, Germans, Jews and merchants from all over Europe settled there, and in 1234 the ﬁrst of Prague’s historic ﬁve towns, Staré Město, was founded to accommodate them. As a rule, the Přemyslids welcomed German colonization, none more so than King Otakar II (1253–78), the most distinguished of the Přemyslid rulers, who systematically encouraged German craftsmen to settle in the kingdom. At the same time, the gradual switch to a monetary economy and the discovery of copper and silver deposits heralded a big shift in population from the countryside to the towns.
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland
Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy
Venice was an imperial power—the republic financed the Fourth Crusade and established suzerainty over the fertile plains to the north, reaching Lake Garda and the river Adda to the north and west, along the Dalmatian coast deep into what is today Croatia, into the Mediterranean, where it controlled Cyprus, and into the Aegean, where it ruled Crete. La Serenissima’s true power and vocation was commerce. At the republic’s zenith, it dispatched thirty-six thousand sailors and thirty-three hundred ships into the world’s maritime trade routes. Venice dominated the salt business—the oil of that era—and trade with Byzantium and the Near East. A Venetian merchant, Marco Polo played a central role in introducing China to western Europe, with his pioneering account of his visit to the Middle Kingdom; his father, also a trader, had done business with the Golden Horde of the Tatars. Francesco Petrarca, sitting at a Venetian window overlooking the Basin of St.
Under the control of the oligarchs, the Venetian state gradually cut off the commercial opportunities for new entrants. The commenda, the legal innovation that had made Venice (and other Italian city-states) rich, was banned. La Serenissima’s reigning elite were acting in their own immediate self-interest—shutting out the entrepreneurial upstarts meant the vested interests could enjoy sole control over the city’s lucrative trade routes. But in the longer term, La Serrata was the beginning of the end for the city’s oligarchs, as well as for Venetian prosperity more generally. By 1500, the population of Venice was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city that had once been its richest continued to shrink. The story of Venice’s rise and fall is told by the scholars Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson as an illustration of their thesis that what separates successful states from failed ones is whether their governing institutions are inclusive or extractive.
air freight, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, British Empire, call centre, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, global supply chain, intermodal, Isaac Newton, job automation, knowledge economy, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, oil shock, Panamax, Port of Oakland, post-Panamax, Productivity paradox, refrigerator car, South China Sea, trade route, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War
Ports, railroads, governments, and trade unions around the world spent those years studying the ways that containerization had shaken freight transportation in the United States. They knew that the container had killed off thousands of jobs on the docks, rendered entire ports obsolete, and fundamentally altered decisions about business location. Even so, the speed with which the container conquered global trade routes took almost everyone by surprise. Some of the world’s great port cities soon saw their ports all but disappear, while insignificant towns on little-known harbors found themselves among the great centers of maritime commerce.23 Nowhere was the transformation more tumultuous than in Britain. London and Liverpool were by far Britain’s biggest ports in the early 1960s, but their business was remarkably close to home.
From whiskey distillers in Scotland to apple growers in Australia, major users of international shipping abandoned breakbulk freight as soon as regular container service was able to meet their needs. They had no reason to make this switch unless they found container shipping advantageous. Shippers’ overwhelming choice—in economic terms, their “revealed preference”—is very strong evidence that containerization on a trade route lowered the cost of shipping. The willingness of ship lines to share revenues through arrangements such as the North Atlantic Pool in 1971 indicates their desperation as freight rates tumbled.8 Then came the oil crisis. The dramatic oil-price rises that began in 1972 and accelerated after the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 had a disproportionate impact on all transportation industries. The average price of crude oil on the world market rose from just over three dollars per barrel in 1972 to more than twelve dollars per barrel in 1974.
Sugar: A Bittersweet History by Elizabeth Abbott
agricultural Revolution, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, flex fuel, land tenure, Mason jar, Ralph Waldo Emerson, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce, working poor
In all of them, the sap is released by mechanical presses that are often quite simple; the sap is repeatedly boiled down and skimmed until it is transformed into a viscous and easily transportable substance suitable for use in cooking. It is likely, on the other hand, that the more complex techniques required to crystallize sugar originated from a single source but, as historical geographer Jock Galloway notes in The Sugar Cane Industry, evidence that might trace its history is lacking. What we do know is that these techniques developed in northern India, from where they were introduced throughout the trade routes to the Far East and, through Persia, to the West and ultimately to the New World. Sugarcane spread steadily across continents and oceans and, over time, rivaled and often replaced honey as the sweetener of choice. Honey’s distinctive taste may be too strong for some food and drink, and until improved refining processes developed in the nineteenth century, it usually contained discernible, and perhaps disagreeable, amounts of beeswax.
American environmentalist Kirkpatrick Sale rightly sees the nature of Columbus’s encounters with the natives as instrumental in the development of “everything of importance in the succeeding 500 years”: “the triumph of capitalism, … the establishment of a global monoculture, the genocide of the indigenes, the slavery of people of color, the colonization of the world, the destruction of primal environments.”25 To this list should be added: the creation of major trade routes, notably the famous triangular trade between the sugar lands, Europe, Africa and North America; the creation of new Creole societies; the redefinition of taste standards and the addiction of millions of people to sweetness and to unhealthy, disease-causing diets; the development of the language of human rights; and fatal damage to the planet’s flora and fauna. “Growing sugar cane may have done more damage to wildlife than any other single crop on the planet,” the World Wildlife Fund reported in 2004.26 The agency for most of these transformations would be sugarcane culture, European version.
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
The purpose of this agreement, as you know, was to prevent acts that might appear to be unduly provocative to one side or the other. This agreement has been kept—until now. "Now, my military advisers tell me that what is going on looks very much like a war exercise, indeed, could be the precursor to a war. How are we to tell the difference? Your ships are now passing east of Iceland, and will soon be in a position from which they can threaten our trade routes to Europe. This situation is at the least unsettling, and at the most a grave and wholly unwarranted provocation. The scope of this action has not yet been made public. That will change, and when it does, Alex, the American people will demand action on my part." The president paused, expecting a response but getting only a nod. Pelt went on for him. "Mr. Ambassador, your country has seen fit to cast aside an agreement which for years has been a model of East-West cooperation.
Their whole Northern Fleet's at sea, or damned near. They have subs all over the place." "Doing what?" "We're not sure. Looks like they might have a major search and rescue operation. The question is, after what? They have four Alfas doing a max speed run for our coast right now, with a gaggle of Victors and Charlies charging in behind them. At first we were worried that they wanted to block the trade routes, but they blitzed right past those. They're definitely heading for our coast, and whatever they're up to, we're getting tons of information." "What do they have moving?" Tyler asked. "Fifty-eight nuclear subs, and thirty or so surface ships." "Gawd! CINCLANT must be going ape!" "You know it, Skip. The fleet's at sea, all of it. Every nuke we have is scrambling for a redeployment. Every P-3 Lockheed ever made is either over the Atlantic or heading that way."
The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, clean water, colonial exploitation, Columbian Exchange, declining real wages, Downton Abbey, financial innovation, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, John Snow's cholera map, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, new economy, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, structural adjustment programs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trade route, very high income, War on Poverty
There have been many periods of globalization in history—sometimes through war, conquest, and imperialist expansion, sometimes through new trade routes, bringing new products and new riches. Disease usually came along for the ride, with consequences that reshaped the world. The historian Ian Morris has described how increased trade around the second century CE merged previously separate disease pools that, since the beginning of agriculture, had evolved in the West, South Asia, and East Asia, “as if they were on different planets.” Catastrophic plagues broke out in China and in the eastern outposts of the Roman Empire.25 The Columbian exchange after 1492 is an even better-known example.26 Many historical epidemics started from new trade routes or new conquests. The plague of Athens in 430 BCE was attributed to trade, and bubonic plague was brought to Europe in 1347 by rats aboard trading ships.
Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff
affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, global village, Google Earth, greed is good, Howard Rheingold, income per capita, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, peak oil, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social software, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Victor Gruen, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, young professional
And because they were designed for and by the institutions they represented, they were also biased in their favor. While there’s some evidence of what we could call branded imagery as far back as the Bronze Age, the modern idea of branding might best be credited to King Louis XIV’s famed finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The Dutch, English, and Portuguese had invested heavily in navies and protecting their trade routes, but the French of this era were still heavily committed to regional ground armies and inexperienced in sea battles. They lost their bounties to pirates and their land claims to colonial rivals. France just couldn’t keep up with the heavy competition for resources in the New World, and began to run a trade deficit. Colbert realized that France’s only alternative was to rely on domestic production and sell French goods to the rest of the world.
The florin began as an illegal “people’s” money, first minted in 1235 as a silver coin and then in gold in 1252, in a flagrant assumption of power by the people of Florence against Emperor Frederick II. Local municipalities had long been issuing their own currencies, but never in gold and never for long-distance transactions. Now, a comparatively regional power had established the ability to generate a currency that would retain its value over distance and time. Florence, located on major trade routes, was already an economic center. Royals there, like all monarchs, worked to ensure their stay in power—but they did so by broadening the social base of government. Instead of chartering corporations, Florentine nobles gave merchants a role in legislation, and supported the development of guilds. So much for good intentions; eventually, power was wrested from the royals anyway, and the Florentines established a proud and selfconscious democracy.
Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, BRICs, British Empire, central bank independence, clean water, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, F. W. de Klerk, Gini coefficient, Livingstone, I presume, McMansion, megacity, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, purchasing power parity, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, structural adjustment programs, trade route, transfer pricing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks
By contrast, if you happen to be born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to some of the planet’s richest deposits of the minerals that are crucial to the manufacture of mobile phone batteries, you’ll be lucky to make it past fifty. Physical cargoes of African oil and ore go hither and thither, mainly to North America, Europe and, increasingly, China, but by and large the continent’s natural resources flow to a global market in which traders based in London, New York and Hong Kong set prices. If South Africa exports less gold, Nigeria less oil, or Congo less copper, the price goes up for everyone. Trade routes change: the increasing production of shale gas in the United States has reduced imports of Nigerian oil in recent years, for example, with the crude heading to Asia instead. But based on the proportion of total worldwide supply it accounts for, if you fill up your car fourteen times, one of those tanks will have been refined from African crude.11 Likewise, there is a sliver of tantalum from the badlands of eastern Congo in one in five mobile phones.
Obasanjo dispatched Nasir El-Rufai, a northern-born minister with a reputation as a reformer, to try to get Mangal to clean up his act.10 El-Rufai told me he reached an agreement with Yar’Adua, the beneficiary of Mangal’s generous campaign funding and his political protector, and the smuggler would endeavour to transform himself into a legitimate businessman. El-Rufai recalled that Mangal asked him, ‘Why does Obasanjo call me a smuggler? I just do logistics. I don’t buy any of the goods that are smuggled. I’m just providing a service.’ Mangal told El-Rufai that he had a fleet of six hundred trucks plying the trade routes. He promised to switch into refined petroleum products, another time-honoured money spinner for Nigeria’s politically connected trading barons. But the illicit textile trade continued, and Mangal’s operations remained under scrutiny. Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, traditionally nothing more than a vehicle for settling political scores, had gained some teeth and a degree of independence under an energetic fraud-buster called Nuhu Ribadu.
The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World by Steven Radelet
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, colonial rule, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, income inequality, income per capita, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shock, out of africa, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, women in the workforce, working poor
On the border to the north, the country is rimmed by the great Himalayas, making transport difficult for just about anything. Over this border, “shipping” does not happen by ships, trucks, carts, or even donkeys. Most of it happens on the backs of Sherpas. Distance is measured in the number of days walked. When I arrived at the river, the bridge had been washed out, so people were crossing by jumping from one rock to the next. It was a busy—if tiny—international trade route. A continuous stream of Sherpas appeared out of nowhere on the Tibet side with huge loads of consumer goods on their backs—shoes, clothing, soap, matches—all manufactured in China, transported across the country and through Tibet, and carried by foot into Nepal. As the Sherpas made their way across the rocks, they had to take care to not bump into the Sherpas coming the other way, carrying loads of rice, vegetables, and other foodstuffs from Nepal into Tibet.
Contrast Javanese farmers with their counterparts in Niger—a landlocked country on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert with little arable land and not much rainfall. Parts of Niger get less than an inch of rain a year. It’s so hot in some areas that raindrops evaporate before they reach the ground. It’s pretty hard to grow much on the edges of the desert, even under the best of circumstances. Indeed, countries like Niger are doubly disadvantaged: most of the country is desert or semiarid, and it is also landlocked and isolated from major trade routes. Since agriculture and trade are so foundational to development, it’s hard to get started when there are obstacles to both. It’s all about options and opportunities: the good people of Niger have far fewer options for productive investment, job creation, and economic growth than the people of Indonesia. It’s little wonder that some of the most difficult development challenges occur in countries that are both landlocked and predominantly desert or mountains: Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and, on the other side of the world, Bolivia with the Uyuni Salt Flat.
How I Became a Quant: Insights From 25 of Wall Street's Elite by Richard R. Lindsey, Barry Schachter
Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business process, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, John von Neumann, linear programming, Loma Prieta earthquake, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, martingale, merger arbitrage, Nick Leeson, P = NP, pattern recognition, pensions crisis, performance metric, prediction markets, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, sorting algorithm, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, stochastic process, systematic trading, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, value at risk, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, young professional
Second, doing research mathematics has a certain character to it that I felt I was not ideally suited for. I used to tell people that great mathematicians are like the great explorers. Explorers want to discover something new—a new trade route, a new land, gold—by venturing into the unknown. They do so with no guarantees of success. Great explorers are characterized by their courage and their desire to discover something new. Consider Christopher Columbus. His great passion was to find a westward route to the Indies. He doggedly pursued funding for his expedition, first from Portugal and finally from Spain, offering a new trade route in exchange for being named governor of any new lands he discovered and the title of “Great Admiral of the Ocean.” After many attempts, Columbus secured financing from Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and sailed off in 1492 to discover his westward route to the Indies.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Kevin Kelly, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!
That’s true to some extent, but it ignores an opposite historical dynamic. As bureaucracies accumulate power, they become immune to their own mistakes. Instead of changing their stories to fit reality, they can change reality to fit their stories. In the end, external reality matches their bureaucratic fantasies, but only because they forced reality to do so. For example, the borders of many African countries disregard river lines, mountain ranges and trade routes, split historical and economic zones unnecessarily, and ignore local ethnic and religious identities. The same tribe may find itself riven between several countries, whereas one country may incorporate splinters of numerous rival clans. Such problems bedevil countries all over the world, but in Africa they are particularly acute because modern African borders don’t reflect the wishes and struggles of local nations.
Princes, priests and peasants assumed that human production was more or less stable, that one person could enrich himself only by pilfering somebody else and that their grandchildren were unlikely to enjoy a better standard of living. This stagnation resulted to a large extent from the difficulties involved in financing new projects. Without proper funding, it wasn’t easy to drain swamps, construct bridges and build ports – not to mention engineer new wheat strains, discover new energy sources or open new trade routes. Funds were scarce because there was little credit in those days; there was little credit because people had no belief in growth; and people didn’t believe in growth because the economy was stagnant. Stagnation thereby perpetuated itself. Suppose you live in a medieval town that suffers from annual outbreaks of dysentery. You resolve to find a cure. You need funding to set up a lab, buy medicinal herbs and exotic chemicals, pay assistants and travel to consult with famous doctors.
How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy by Mehrsa Baradaran
access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, British Empire, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, credit crunch, David Graeber, disintermediation, diversification, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, income inequality, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, McMansion, microcredit, mobile money, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Own Your Own Home, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, savings glut, the built environment, the payments system, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, union organizing, white flight, working poor
.… I do not think that in the most enlightened rural districts of France there is intellectual movement either so rapid or on such a scale as in this wilderness.”5 Before the telegraph, telephone, car, or railroad was a possibility, rural constituents in every corner of America knew what their congressional representatives were doing and were able to communicate with them. Before the financial giants of America made shipping canals, railroads, highways, and wires that created the most productive and efficient economy in the world, the United States had nationwide trading routes unparalleled in the contemporary world—all made possible by the United States’ postal system. The post office, the primary facilitator of commercial trade, “provided merchants with the only reliable means for transmitting information, bills of exchange, and money.”6 Historian Richard John explained that it was only after the post office created a national marketplace that private entrepreneurs could compete with each other outside local markets.
The founders had not anticipated that ordinary Americans would be able “to actively participate in a truly open-ended national discussion on the leading events of the day, rather than merely to receive periodic broadcasts from the seat of power, as Washington had envisioned, or to engage in carefully structured two-way consultations with their elected representatives, as Madison had hoped.”18 And unfortunately, the same platform that eased informational exchange and enabled national trade routes also helped drive people apart as it forced those with political and cultural differences to deal—and often clash—with each other. This broad public engagement was even beyond the imagination of the great proponents of local control, such as James Madison, whose Federalist essays of 1787 and 1788 only envisioned interactions with representatives during periodic home visits—not the regular contact that the post quickly enabled.19 The continuous conversations between congressional representatives and their constituents augmented even Madison’s vision of public participation in lawmaking.
Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, clean water, collective bargaining, declining real wages, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, knowledge economy, life extension, lump of labour, new economy, Nick Leeson, paradox of thrift, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, trade route, very high income, working poor
Because Malthus was right, however, the Great Waves of economic activity in the preindustrial world, while they undoubtedly existed, were driven by forces that have little relevance to more recent fluctuations. In particular, the most important discipline for understanding long swings in preindustrial population and real wages is not macroeconomics but microbe economics. Now and then devastating new diseases would appear (often, as McNeill showed in Plagues and Peoples, as a result either of conquests or of the opening of new trade routes, both of which tended to bring formerly separated populations, and the germs that they harbored, into contact). Initially the population would plunge and real wages would soar. As microbes and humans coevolved into a new equilibrium, population and pressure on resources would rise again, and the increasingly malnourished masses would become vulnerable to the next plague. All this is fascinating; but its relevance to twenty-first-century economic prospects is questionable.
business climate, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, high net worth, illegal immigration, income per capita, indoor plumbing, job-hopping, Maui Hawaii, price stability, quantitative easing, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, trade route, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional
China also likes to hide its true power and intentions in order to gain more power, because other countries won’t know exactly what they are dealing with. As a result, they often overestimate China’s military capabilities. One retired senior politician from America told me, “If China is increasing its trade volumes around the world, shouldn’t it be securing its own shipping lanes?” He was irritated because he felt China was freeloading on the U.S. Navy’s protection of maritime trade routes, but was taking an increasingly muscular stand in the South China Sea, causing anger in Vietnam and the Philippines. AMERICA On a trip to the United States in early 2011 to give a speech at the Wharton School of Business, I took my three-year-old son, Tom, to New York to see Times Square. I had heard about a major advertising campaign the Chinese government had launched on electronic billboards there to improve its image with the millions of tourists who pass through each year.
The Extreme Centre: A Warning by Tariq Ali
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, BRICs, British Empire, centre right, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, full employment, labour market flexibility, land reform, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, North Sea oil, obamacare, offshore financial centre, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, Wolfgang Streeck
Chinese military doctrine, according to Martin Jacques, is rooted in Sun Zi’s writings: it sets much greater store on seeking to weaken and isolate the enemy than on actually fighting him. Thus China relies exclusively on trade to expand its influence. Despite its vast economic investments, it has yet to acquire a single foreign base (although it is investing in maritime facilities in Pakistan and Myanmar, in case trade routes in the South China Sea become blocked). Many have argued that the US went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq to seize the region’s energy resources, or to secure pipelines. However, the real beneficiary of both wars has been China. It has not only obtained some of the biggest contracts in Iraq, it recently also won a $3.4bn contract – the largest in Afghan history – to mine copper in Logar province.
Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge
affirmative action, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, business process, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, double entry bookkeeping, Etonian, hiring and firing, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, market bubble, mittelstand, new economy, North Sea oil, race to the bottom, railway mania, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
Two decades earlier, a group of London merchants had dispatched a fleet in a predictably disastrous attempt to find a northern passage to the East Indies; one boat got as far as Archangel—and attracted the notice of the czar, Ivan IV, who was keen to increase trade with England. Under the Muscovy charter, eventually won by a consortium including the famous navigator Sebastian Cabot (1483–1557), the Company was given a temporary monopoly over trade routes to the Russian port (and also encouraged to continue the search for a northeast passage). The company was able to raise enough money to finance the long journey to Russia by selling tradable shares. The Muscovy Company faded from view after about 1630, but it spawned a host of imitators seeking other monopolies. Some of them looked west. Richard Hakluyt (1552–1616), an eminent geographer, was responsible for whipping up interest in America—and for persuading Elizabeth I to grant charters to several groups of investors.
Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik
airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, fudge factor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loss aversion, low skilled workers, market design, market fundamentalism, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, open economy, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, white flight
. ** The authors argued that early colonizers were more likely to set up good institutions in places where they encountered fewer mortality risks. Moreover, the diseases that killed the Westerners were generally different from those that affected the native population. These assumptions allowed the authors to use settler mortality rates as an exogenous source of variation in the quality of institutions, independent of other determinants, such as proximity to trade routes, that may have affected long-term development paths. †† This is the “possibilism” that the great economist and social scientist Albert Hirschman advocated throughout his life. He rejected the deterministic approaches, common to social sciences, that view outcomes as being rigidly pinned down by “structural” conditions, and instead argued for the power of ideas and small actions to have decisive effects.
The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War by Robert D. Kaplan
Berlin Wall, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, edge city, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Honoré de Balzac, Peace of Westphalia, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Malthus, trade route, unemployed young men, Yom Kippur War
Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency is akin to the CIA—except that it has essentially its own private army. While Pakistan has grown weaker as a state, with near anarchy pre vailing in Karachi, its regional power has grown, thanks to the I SI. The Taliban religious movement in Afghanistan, for in- 110 / THE COMING ANARCHY stance, in its recent sudden rise received help from the IS I, which wanted to resurrect trade routes through Afghanistan to Iran. This kind of influence may sound frightening, but it is ef ficient compared with what we have now. Ever since the ancient soothsayers of the Delphic oracle there have been intelligence agencies of one sort or another. Spying is as old as war itself. Moses sent spies into Canaan. An important factor that led to Pearl Harbor was a lack of enough good intelligence: The CIA, in its current form, may eventually pass out of existence, but in a world in which borders are dis solving and bad guys conceal bombs in their pockets or steal millions by means of computers, the intelligence business is set for a golden age.
The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
AltaVista, altcoin, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, ethereum blockchain, global reserve currency, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, Oculus Rift, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, ransomware, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Skype, smart contracts, the medium is the message, trade route, underbanked, WikiLeaks
Finally, in this grand arc of technology, the technology reaches the final stage. In that final stage, the only people who still believe it’s grand are grandparents. In the grand arc of technology, what started out as a masterpiece is now only consumed by those in the last stages of their lives. The first checks written out were used by royalty to fund great ventures like the East India Company to open the spice roads and trade routes to the East. In those days, only royals had checkbooks. Today, if you go into a supermarket and the grandmother, bless her heart, in front of you in the line opens up her purse and pulls out the checkbook, 15 people in line are going to groan audibly as they realize it’s going to take 15 minutes to write out that transaction. There’s nothing left of the grandiosity of funding the East India Company when you’re buying beans and toast with a checkbook in a supermarket.
Rigged Money: Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game by Lee Munson
affirmative action, asset allocation, backtesting, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, California gold rush, call centre, Credit Default Swap, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, fiat currency, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, follow your passion, German hyperinflation, High speed trading, housing crisis, index fund, joint-stock company, moral hazard, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, price discovery process, random walk, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, too big to fail, trade route, Vanguard fund, walking around money
Remember that the Dutch were a republic, and while there was not the same personal freedoms we think of today, not having to deal with monarchs who held ultimate power was good for business. It was this ability to make contracts with laws and enforce them that allowed corporations to open up to the general population of wealthy merchants. In the end it was the rule of law that gave rise to what we think of as economic freedom. It helped that the Dutch had one of the strongest navies in Europe at the time. When the Dutch East India Company started to take control of East Asian trading routes, it was met with strong opposition from Portugal and England. While this is all very interesting, how did the stock do? Investors received an average 25 percent return on their money during the first 15 years.2 Eventually creating monopolies, the company dominated trade with Asia and at one point paid out a 40 percent dividend to shareholders.3 Does this sound like a stock you would like to own?
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
“What news?” “The news that the Terminus City ultrawave set received two hours ago. The Royal Governor of the Prefect of Anacreon has assumed the title of king.” “Well? What of it?” “It means,” responded Hardin, “that we’re cut off from the inner regions of the Empire. We’ve been expecting it but that doesn’t make it any more comfortable. Anacreon stands square across what was our last remaining trade route to Santanni and to Trantor and to Vega itself. Where is our metal to come from? We haven’t managed to get a steel or aluminum shipment through in six months and now we won’t be able to get any at all, except by grace of the King of Anacreon.” Pirenne tch-tched impatiently. “Get them through him, then.” “But can we? Listen, Pirenne, according to the charter which established this Foundation, the Board of Trustees of the Encyclopedia Committee has been given full administrative powers.
The Year Without Pants: Wordpress.com and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun
barriers to entry, blue-collar work, Broken windows theory, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, future of work, Google Hangouts, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Lean Startup, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, remote working, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Stallman, Seaside, Florida, side project, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the map is not the territory, Tony Hsieh, trade route
We did various A/B test experiments, looking for ways to simplify the design, but we learned that the most important factor in encouraging comments was the blogger's post. There was only so much the user interface itself could do. But even on the first day, 300,000 new comments were published through Highlander, and more every day since. Notes 1 For an understanding of how emergent systems, like colonies or trade routes, work, read Steven Johnson, Emergence (New York: Scribner, 2002). 2 For an overview of Parkinson's law of triviality see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson's_law_of_triviality. 3 It is possible to build a skyscraper one brick at a time, but there has to be a goal, plan, vision, or leader driving those incremental changes toward a big vision. 4 “The Final Countdown” would become our deploy song—the music we played when about to launch a new feature.
He read climbing literature, particularly the history of Mallory and the early British expeditions. His fixation on one day climbing Everest began brewing. In 2002, Sharp climbed Cho Oyu, his first 8,000-meter peak. Cho is a rite of passage for many climbers. At 26,906 feet, it is the sixth-highest mountain in the world, but it is widely considered one of the easiest of the fourteen 8,000-meter giants. The trade route, a low-angle slog up the mountain’s northwest ridge, presents few technical challenges beyond one steep ice wall and a few rock bands, generally draped with fixed ropes to help climbers cheat past the hardest parts. Sharp had signed up to climb Cho with Jamie McGuinness’s Project Himalaya. McGuinness ran a low-key outfit for budget-minded clients looking for a Western operator with a positive attitude.
Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy by David A. Mindell
Air France Flight 447, autonomous vehicles, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chris Urmson, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fudge factor, index card, Mars Rover, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics, trade route
The Skerki D survey was the culmination of at least eight years of engineering. We had learned how to digitize the seafloor with ultra-high precision. That would change both what was possible in archaeology and in how we explore human history in the deep sea. We would now learn how to “excavate” an archaeological site without ever touching it. We would now learn how to do a new kind of archaeology focused on the deep water and ancient trade routes that connected civilizations. It would let us ask new questions. But not everyone would welcome the new methods. Robotic exploration would prove troubling to some and exciting to others. Seeking to understand this resistance led me on a journey of research and discovery spanning twenty years. Before moving forward with that story, however, we need to go back in time to the birth of deep-ocean exploration to see how people came to visit the deep seafloor, and how Jason fit into that story
banking crisis, British Empire, colonial rule, energy security, informal economy, megacity, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, trade route, UNCLOS, wage slave
A decade later, London formally declared the area a colony, gaining for the first time a political foothold in the landmass that was to become Nigeria. As Britain grappled for political control, its companies fought for commercial victory. Their main rivals were the French, who were eventually to take charge of many countries across the West Africa region, from Senegal to Cameroon. All the businesses wanted power over the River Niger, an invaluable trading route that rises in Guinea and snakes through the region before emptying into the sea off the southern coast of the Niger Delta. In 1886, the United Africa Company – by now a behemothic agglomeration of British manufacturing and trading interests – found a novel way of gaining extra competitive leverage. It won a royal charter from the British government, creating a trade protectorate reserved exclusively to the company.
Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture by Marvin Harris
One can perhaps say as much, but not more, about nations that plant missiles instead of rumbim. Primitive War WARS WAGED by scattered primitive tribes like the Maring raise doubts about the basic sanity of human lifestyles. When modern nation-states go to war we often puzzle over the precise cause, but seldom lack plausible alternative explanations from which to choose. History books brim with details of wars in which the combatants struggled for mastery over trade routes, natural resources, cheap labor, or mass markets. The wars of modern empires may be lamentable, but they are not inscrutable. This distinction is basic to the present-day nuclear détente, which rests on the assumption that wars involve some sort of rational balance of gains and losses. If the United States and the Soviet Union clearly stand to lose more than they can possibly gain by nuclear attack, neither is likely to initiate a war as the solution to its problems.
Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics by Francis Fukuyama
Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, energy security, flex fuel, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Norbert Wiener, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Yom Kippur War
Although the Islamist element in Indonesia is currently small, it is also worth remembering that small but determined minorities can achieve great success in unstable conditions—the Bolshevik Party in Russia had a membership of only 23,000 at the beginning of 1917. Either of these outcomes would be enormously destabilizing, both to the immediate region and more widely. If one were to superimpose Indonesia on a map of Europe, it would reach from Ireland to Turkey. There are some 13,000 islands. Vital trade routes move through the region. Most of the oil that goes to China and Japan moves through the region, so any disintegration or instability in this area would be a vital concern to both of those countries. Terrorism almost certainly would increase, and the prospect of mass migration would be a serious one for Australians to worry about. Another less spectacular but not unimportant surprise may be in the offing: a serious change in the character of the U.S.
Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, continuous double auction, deferred acceptance, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, experimental subject, first-price auction, framing effect, frictionless, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, helicopter parent, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, late fees, linear programming, Lyft, market clearing, market design, market friction, medical residency, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, proxy bid, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, winner-take-all economy
All of this upset the delicate balance that had allowed the fairs to flourish. In 1297, France’s war with Flanders (the territory of one important group of fair participants) made the trip too dangerous for most merchants. The war also allowed others to take advantage of the Flemish cloth traders without risking repercussion. The series of wars that followed (including the 100 Years War, starting in 1337) only made things worse and helped shift trade routes, making it nearly impossible for the fairs to recover. There’s a lesson there for modern platforms: greed can plant the seeds of your own undoing. There are plenty of modern-day equivalents to the French king’s shortsighted exploitation of the fair’s merchants. Once you hold a critical position between buyer and seller, market makers suffer from an almost inevitable temptation to profit from it.
Drinking in America: Our Secret History by Susan Cheever
Rum, as the people of Massachusetts certainly understood, was both a gift from God and an invitation to dance with the devil. Unfortunately, the rum trade developed a dreadful dimension over time. Shrewd Yankee sailors soon saw that they could earn more substantial profits if they stopped in two ports of call rather than one—something that created what came to be known as the infamous triangle trade. The ease of sailing with different winds and currents had already established many thriving trade routes. The voyages took about a year of sailing back and forth across the Atlantic from England and Africa to New England and the Caribbean. For instance on one route, sailors ferried New England rum from England to Africa, where it was traded for slaves captured from villages in West Africa. The slaves were taken to the West Indies over the often-fatal “middle passage” and sold or traded for a cargo of molasses.
Raw Data Is an Oxymoron by Lisa Gitelman
collateralized debt obligation, computer age, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, index card, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, Louis Daguerre, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, RFID, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, social graph, software studies, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, text mining, time value of money, trade route, Turing machine, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush
Corn, like more and more species then, has thrown its lot in with humans, adapting to the contemporary social world—and especially to industrial agribusiness— with such success that it has pushed nearly all other staple competitors out of business Data Bite Man as a cornerstone of our food supply. Like Britain in its heyday, the sun never sets on the empire of corn. Pollan offers a compelling picture of the trade routes of the corn empire, documenting the production of a raw ear of corn from a farm in Iowa, and then tracing all the steps it takes as it travels to the typical American consumer. We often think of this end product as the “raw” ears of corn that we purchase at the grocery store and imagine that it is shipped to our stores more or less directly from the farmer. But as Pollan describes, most corn enters our kitchen (and our bodies) through a much more circuitous route—losing its rustic form almost as soon as it is pulled from the ground.
In the Devil's Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food by Stewart Lee Allen
Some human behaviorists even believe the way we express anger evolved largely from our reaction to dangerous tastes, hence the peculiar facial grimaces associated with these emotions. That’s pretty damn hard to prove, but a good indication of the extreme early importance of these senses is that our body has only four genes to govern the sense of sight, but over a thousand devoted to smell/taste. Smelling good has always been particularly important when dealing with the gods. The world’s earliest international trade routes developed to transport perfumes. Egyptians were so concerned about afterlife B.O. that they drowned their mummies in myrrh and frankincense. The first Christmas presents were perfumes, and any number of Catholic saints owe their beatitude to their corpses’ propensity to smell like roses. These are all what Toorn would call “soothing odors,” pleasing to the gods. More pungent odors enjoyed a less-savory reputation, particularly the Allium family of onion and garlic, which is said to have sprouted from the Devil’s footsteps as he fled the Garden of Eden (garlic from his left footprint, onion from his right).
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Al Roth, Black Swan, buy low sell high, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, experimental economics, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, income inequality, index fund, Jean Tirole, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market microstructure, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Menlo Park, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Network effects, patent troll, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social graph, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, ultimatum game, Y Combinator
Trade hubs and multiple specialized players can make a supply chain both faster and cheaper. Think of the way cut flowers move across the world through the Dutch flower market, such that it makes sense for daffodils grown in the United Kingdom to go through a series of middlemen in the Netherlands before returning to retailers and consumers in the United Kingdom. Economies of scale make this roundabout but well-trod trading route more efficient than selling direct. And if each middleman is playing a distinct role, instead of duplicating the effort of other middlemen, then all the links become indispensable. In Euclidean geometry the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but when it comes to time and money, sometimes the shortest path goes through one or more middlemen.19 Yet that’s only true if the middlemen’s value exceeds their cost.
The London Compendium by Ed Glinert
1960s counterculture, anti-communist, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Corn Laws, Dava Sobel, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Exxon Valdez, hiring and firing, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Khartoum Gordon, Mahatma Gandhi, Nick Leeson, price stability, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, the market place, trade route, union organizing, V2 rocket
south side: Fenchurch Street to Gracechurch Street East India House, junction with Lime Street The East India Company, which became the City’s most powerful company, was established here in 1600 to challenge the Dutch–Portuguese monopoly of the spice trade in the Orient, and gained its first foothold in the East some ten years later when it seized control of the nutmeg-producing island of Puloroon, a feat that so impressed James I that, on hearing the news, he styled himself ‘King of England, Scotland, Ireland, France… and Puloroon’. After tussling with the Dutch, Portuguese and French for control of trade routes in the area over the next 100 years, the company began to establish itself as a major force, opening up Hong Kong and Singapore to the West, introducing tea to Britain, spices to the West Indies, opium to China, porcelain to Russia and coffee to Arabia and establishing trading posts in Madras and Calcutta. Meanwhile, the East India Company faced competition and opposition at home. In 1694 Parliament passed legislation which enabled all British firms to trade with the subcontinent, and when even this resulted in little change to the company’s dominant position throughout the eighteenth century the prime minister, William Pitt, convinced Parliament to accept a new India Bill, which weakened the power of the Company.
Free Trade Wharf, The Highway, south of Schoolhouse Lane. One of the busiest parts of the river during its trading heyday, filled with lighters and barges carrying coal from collier ships, it was rebuilt in the 1980s with a large block of ziggurat-shaped flats. LIMEHOUSE, E14 Limehouse, named after the long-vanished local lime industry, was where Englishmen set off on ocean-going trips to open up new trade routes in the sixteenth century and was home of London’s Chinatown between 1850 and 1950. Ratcliffe Cross Stairs, south of Butcher Row. The point where the Thames met the red cliff (‘ratcliffe’) and the Pool of London became Limehouse Reach was used as a boarding point for those crossing the oceans in late medieval times. Their number included the explorer Sir Hugh Willoughby, whose party left in three ships to try to find the elusive North-East Passage, a sea route north of Scandinavia and Russia to China and America.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s 19,000-ton ship Leviathan - at least four times bigger than any other ship in the world and able to hold 4,000 passengers – was built here between 1853 and 1857 and unsuccessfully launched in November 1857, when the crush caused by the excessive number of people who gathered to watch resulted in one man being killed and the ship getting stuck on its rollers. Another three aborted launches took place and the vessel was not waterborne until the end of January 1858, by which time the owners had gone bankrupt. The ship, which was later renamed The Great Eastern, plied the trade routes between India and Australia and laid telegraphic cables in the Atlantic until 1886, when it came to be used as a showboat for the Lewis’s store of Liverpool, being broken up two years later. Some remains of the timber slipway are still in place. Island Gardens The gardens, laid out by the Commissioners of the Royal Naval Hospital in Greenwich in the nineteenth century, mark the south-east point of the Isle of Dogs, and it was here that pirates were hanged in chains, often watched by the pensioners of Greenwich Hospital through their spyglasses.
Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy
"On the other hand, if you persuade STAVKA to give us the resources to execute Operation Polar Glory, we can seize the combat initiative and dictate the nature of operations in the North Atlantic on our chosen terms." He held up a closed fist."By doing this we can, first"--he raised a finger--"prevent an American naval attack against the Rodina; second"--another finger--" use the majority of our submarine forces in the North Atlantic basin where the trade routes are, instead of keeping them on passive defense; and, third"--a final finger--"make maximum use of our naval aviation assets. At one stroke this operation makes our fleet an offensive rather than a defensive weapon." "And to accomplish this you need only one of our Guards Air Rifle divisions? Outline your plan for us, please, Comrade Admiral," Alekseyev said. Maslov did so over a period of five minutes.
They could just make out some movement on the ground, and a wisp of smoke coming from the building. The pilot didn't know much about the SIGINT activities, but SOSUS, the oceanic Sonar Surveillance System, was the principal means of detecting targets for the P-3C Orion crews to pounce on. This station covered the gaps from Greenland to Iceland, and from Iceland to the Faroe Islands. The main picketline needed to keep Russian subs out of the trade routes was about to go permanently off the air. Great. They were over Keflavik a minute after that. Seven or eight aircraft had not gotten off the ground. All were burning. The pilot examined the runways through binoculars and was horrified to see that it was uncratered. "Tacco, you got a Sentry on the line?" "You can talk to one right now, Flight. Go right ahead, you got Sentry Two." "Sentry Two, this is Penguin 8, do you read, over?"
The helicopters had pulled many out of the water, but most of them were still needed to hunt submarines. He held a dispatch saying that Orions out of Lajes had prosecuted and probably killed an Echo-class missile submarine in their path. Some good news, but intelligence reported indications of two more. The loss of Iceland was a disaster whose dimensions were only now becoming apparent. The Soviet bombers had a clear lane to reach into the trade route. Their submarines were racing through the Denmark Strait even as the NATO navies were trying to position their submarines to re-form the barrier they had lost--the barrier upon which the convoys depended. The Air Force and Navy would soon try to rearrange fighter coverage to harass the Backfires, but those measures were all stopgaps. Until Iceland was fully neutralized, or better yet retaken, the Third Battle of the North Atlantic hung in an uneven balance.
Southeast Asia on a Shoestring Travel Guide by Lonely Planet
active transport: walking or cycling, airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, colonial rule, Google Earth, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, large denomination, low cost carrier, Mason jar, megacity, Skype, South China Sea, spice trade, superstar cities, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban sprawl, women in the workforce
Mai Linh Express ( 254149) operates a daily minibus service from outside the Saigon Champasak Hotel to Lao Bao (140,000K, 6.30am) on the Vietnam border, Hue (180,000K, 7am) and Danang (220,000K, 7am). * * * GETTING TO THAILAND: VANG TAO TO CHONG MEK Getting to the border Heading to the busy border (open 5am to 6pm) of Vang Tao (Laos) and Chong Mek (Thailand) is straightforward if catching a sŏrngtăaou from Pakse (10,000Kper person, 75 minutes, 37km), or taxi (per person 20,000K, 45 minutes). At the border This is a busy, well-organised trade route. There are ATMs on the Thai side, a market and restaurants. You have to walk a bit between the two posts but in general it’s hassle free. Thirty-day visas for Laos are granted on arrival for between US$30 and US$40 depending on nationality. Free 15-day visas are granted on arrival in Thailand. Moving on Easier than taking a taxi to the border is the Thai-Lao International bus that leaves from Pakse’s VIP bus station headed to Ubon Ratchathani at 7am, 8.30am, 2.30pm and 3.30pm.
By the 13th and 14th centuries, what is considered to be the first Thai kingdom – Sukhothai (meaning ‘Rising Happiness’) – emerged and began to chip away at the crumbling Khmer empire. The Sukhothai kingdom is regarded as the cultural and artistic kernel of the modern state. Sukhothai was soon eclipsed by another Thai power, Ayuthaya, established by Prince U Thong in 1350. This new centre developed into a cosmopolitan port on the Asian trade route, courted by various European nations. The small nation managed to thwart foreign takeovers, including one orchestrated by a Thai court official, a Greek man named Constantine Phaulkon, to advance French interests. For 400 years and 34 successive reigns, Ayuthaya dominated Thailand until the Burmese led a successful invasion in 1765, ousting the monarch and destroying the capital. The Thais eventually rebuilt their capital in present-day Bangkok, established by the Chakri dynasty, which continues to occupy the throne today.
THE CLASSICAL & COLONIAL PERIOD As the larger powers withered, Southeast Asia entered an age of cultural definition and international influence. Regional kingdoms created distinctive works of art and literature, and joined the international sphere as important ports. The Thais expanded into the dying Khmer empire and exerted control over parts of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Starting around 1331, the Hindu kingdom of Majapahit united the Indonesian archipelago from Sumatra to New Guinea and dominated the trade routes between India and China. The kingdom’s reign continued until the advent of Islamic kingdoms and the emergence of the port town of Melaka on the Malay peninsula in 1402. Melaka’s prosperity soon attracted European interest, and it fell first to the Portuguese in 1511, then the Dutch and finally the English. European Hill Stations »Sapa (Vietnam) »Cameron Highlands (Malaysia) »Bokor National Park (Cambodia) Initially these European nations were only interested in controlling shipping in the region, usually brokering agreements and alliances with local authorities.
The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia by Peter Hopkirk
They further learned that Mir Wali, Hayward’s murderer, had fled the region on their approach, fearing that the British had come to seize him. In his military report Gordon urged that immediate action be taken to strengthen Britain’s position in the southern approaches to the Baroghil and Ishkaman passes. This could be achieved by building a road northwards from Kashmir to the latter, which would also ensure control of the Baroghil. Officially its purpose would be to serve as a trade route between India and the extreme north. ‘It would attract not only the Eastern Turkistan traders who at present toil over the Karakoram,’ Gordon declared, ‘but also the Badakhshan merchants who trade with Peshawar through Kabul.’ However, its real purpose would be to enable the British to move troops northwards ‘at the shortest notice’ in the event of a Russian incursion across the Oxus towards the Baroghil and Ishkaman passes.
The only flaw in this argument, Younghusband observed, was that Safdar Ali took most of the proceeds of the raids for himself– just as he would do with any subsidy. Younghusband told the ruler that the British government would never agree to subsidise him for ceasing to rob its caravans. ‘I said that the Queen was not in the habit of paying blackmail,’ Younghusband wrote, ‘that I had left soldiers for the protection of the trade route, and that he might see for himself how much revenue he would get now from a raid.’ To Younghusband’s surprise, Safdar Ali shook with laughter at this, congratulating his visitor on his candour. With the aim of impressing on his Hunza host just how useless his own matchlock-wielding soldiers would be against modern, European-trained infantry, Younghusband decided to lay on a demonstration of his Gurkhas’ fire-power.
Frommer's New Mexico by Lesley S. King
SEEING THE HIGHLIGHTS NORTHWESTERN NEW MEXICO El Malpais & El Morro National Monuments 9 254 From Sandstone Bluffs Overlook (10 miles south of I-40 off NM 117), many craters are visible in the lava flow, which extends for miles along the eastern flank of the Continental Divide. The most recent flows are only 1,000 years old; Native American legends tell of rivers of “fire rock.” Seventeen miles south of I-40 is La Ventana Natural Arch, the largest accessible natural arch in New Mexico. From NM 53, which exits I-40 just west of Grants, visitors have access to the Zuni-Acoma Trail, an ancient Pueblo trade route that crosses four major lava flows in a 71⁄2-mile (one-way) hike. A printed trail guide is available. El Calderon, a forested area 20 miles south of I-40, is a trail head for exploring a cinder cone, lava tubes, and a bat cave. (Warning: Hikers should not enter the bat cave or otherwise disturb the bats.) The largest of all Malpais cinder cones, Bandera Crater is on private property 25 miles south of I-40.
Eventually it connected up with the Santa Fe Trail, which was the east-west route from Missouri. To find out more about this route, visit the El Camino Real International Heritage Center. See below for details. 309 SOUTHWESTERN NEW MEXICO Socorro & the VLA 11 Other Attractions El Camino Real International Heritage Center This museum, opened in 2005, tells the story of El Camino Real, the 1,500-mile international trade route from Mexico to San Juan Pueblo, near Santa Fe. The impressive $5-million, 20,000-square-foot structure, set in the middle of the desert, is an award-winning building perched like a ship above Sheep Canyon between Socorro and Truth or Consequences. In fact, the center is designed with ship elements, including a bowsprit on the helm. “The journey across this area reminded travelers of crossing the sea, with its tufts of grass, mirages, and overwhelming silence,” says Monument Ranger Dave Wunker.
The Gun by C. J. Chivers
air freight, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, illegal immigration, joint-stock company, Khartoum Gordon, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, RAND corporation, South China Sea, trade route, Transnistria
Talbott, the company president, declared that the trials were “no ordinary triumph,”20 and was hopeful that the right people had been converted to the company’s cause. “The Gatling gun behaved elegantly,” he wrote. “The Duke of Cambridge said in my presence ‘It was a most powerful and wonderful gun.’”21 And then the Gatling made its British field debut. Troubles broke out on the Gold Coast of West Africa in the 1870s, when the Ashanti, a tribe with ambitions of restoring control of a seaport to keep open trade routes, besieged a British garrison at Elmina, a slave port established by the Portuguese in what is now Ghana. The British had only recently purchased the territory from the Dutch. The fort at Elmina held. But the region remained restive and the English forces present were too thin to do more than defend what they held. Major General Garnet J. Wolseley was appointed commander of the King’s West African Army, and tasked with putting the new protectorate into order and quelling the Ashanti threat.
Sein Quaku, the messenger, spoke to the same effect, and it appeared that they had all been more or less surprised and astonished at the firing of the Gatling; and that this man, being of rather a cowardly nature, had determined to destroy himself.23 The demonstration firing into the River Prah was only a foretaste of what the weapons could do to a technologically unsophisticated foe. It fell a few months later to Russia, which had pushed the guns ordered by Colonel Gorloff out into soldiers’ hands, to show what could happen when machine guns were fired at men. In 1873, Czar Alexander II was expanding his empire’s authority over the khanates of Central Asia, trying to bring the defiant hinterlands and overland trade routes under Russian control. His soldiers faced a holdout at the city of Khiva on the banks of the Amu Darya, where the ruling khan, Muhammed Rahim, refused to recognize Russian rule. The khan held a small collection of Russian slaves, which provided the court in Saint Petersburg with all the public-relations material it needed to portray its campaign as a civilizing mission. Columns of imperial troops advanced across the desert toward the city, battling snowstorms in the spring and later parching heat.
Frommer's Egypt by Matthew Carrington
airport security, centre right, colonial rule, Internet Archive, land tenure, Maui Hawaii, open economy, rent control, rolodex, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl, walkable city, Yom Kippur War
See p. 95. 3 • Mosque of Ibn Tulun (Cairo): Unique, Iraqi-style decorations set this 9th-century mosque apart from others in the city. The enormous courtyard is a reminder that there was once a time when you could build a mosque big enough to hold every man in the surrounding area. See p. 98. 4 The Best Shopping Experiences • Aswan Souk: Even though it’s rapidly becoming more touristy, this rambling, sprawled-out souk retains all the vibrancy you would expect of a millennia-old crossroads on the trading routes between Africa and the Mediterranean world. See p. 253. • Egypt Craft Center (8–27 Yehia Ibrahim St., Zamalek, Cairo; & 02/ 27365123): Here you have low-hassle access to a range of folk crafts from around Egypt. This is a particularly good place to pick up pottery from the Fayum or handmade scarves from Upper Egypt. Proceeds go to support community development nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). • Khan al Khalili (Cairo): This centuries-old souk in the heart of old Cairo is a must for anyone who has the shopping bug or just wants to experience the real hustle and bustle of an Arab city.
The Fun Fact Traffic Stopper The fountain in the middle of the Nasser Square traffic circle was completed in 3 days by local sculptor Mahmoud Mabrouk. The buxom woman represents Egypt, dragging her reluctant people into the modern world. 13_259290-ch10.qxp 288 7/22/08 12:40 AM Page 288 CHAPTER 10 . THE WESTERN DESERT Darb al Arbein Kharga was once a major stop on one of the most important major trade routes between Sudan and Egypt. Today, the highway south of the city follows almost exactly the route of what was known as Darb al Arbein, or the “Forty-Day Road.” For more than 700 years, this was the conduit of the untold wealth in ostrich feathers, gold, ivory, and slaves that Sudan sent to Egypt in return for weapons, cloth, and metal goods. Nowadays the old route is abandoned, and though the name is still in use, it actually refers to quite a different route: a camel-trading track that starts in Omdurman, across the river from Khartoum, and makes its way to Daraw, near Aswan in Upper Egypt.
Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately
barriers to entry, British Empire, California gold rush, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, megacity, music of the spheres, Peace of Westphalia, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, working poor
The Africans had ivory, gold, slaves, and palm oil to offer, and by a process of trial and error the Portuguese discovered which goods of their own were appealing to their counterparts. In the case of the Wolofs, who occupied what is now Senegal, the best articles of trade were wine, weapons, and horses. The Wolofs were a sophisticated culture, nominally Muslim, who maintained links with other members of their faith through a trans-Saharan land trade route, but who had chosen to disregard the Koranic ban on drinking. They had a number of native beverages, including palm wine and millet beer, and these two drinks were found to be common throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, at every point of the continent where the Portuguese landed, they found alcohol to be present and to have been integrated into the customs and rituals of the peoples with whom they made contact.
The Spaniards planted the vine in every suitable part of the Americas that they controlled. It flourished best at first in Peru. Although the Spanish government latterly attempted to restrict the trade in South American wine, so as to protect the market for its own exports, by the 1570s Peru was sending its vintages to Chile (which was also a producer), Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, and to the Philippines, to which a transpacific trade route had been opened in 1565. While the Spanish were building an empire in Central and South America, the Portuguese had concentrated on trading with the Far East. In 1494, after mediation from Pope Alexander VI, the two maritime powers had divided the globe between them along a north-south meridian, with the Spanish allotted all “new” lands west of longitude 39’ 53‘ and the Portuguese the other half of the world.
This Sceptred Isle by Christopher Lee
agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, failed state, financial independence, glass ceiling, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, Northern Rock, Ronald Reagan, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, urban decay
The idea was that Britain, or at least part of it, should become a province within the Roman Empire. But this was difficult to achieve. The Britons were warlike and because there were some twenty-three tribal regions, it was impossible to get overall agreement, or even an understanding, with more than a few of them. The south and the east were the most easily controllable. The Romans had large forces there, they had set up their capital at Colchester and there were good trade routes through Essex and Kent. The uplands of Britain presented a bigger problem. In AD 54 Claudius died and his stepson, Nero became emperor. The death of another leader, this one in Britain, left a longer lasting impression upon British history and folklore. Her name was Boudicca and she was the widow of the King of the Iceni in East Anglia. Boudicca had been flogged and abused, as had her daughters, by the Romans.
But for one man in particular, the Nore and Spithead mutinies were of little immediate interest. In 1797, Commodore Horatio Nelson had just been promoted to Rear Admiral, was about to be knighted and, within months, he, the nation and the wife of Sir William Hamilton would be celebrating his destruction of the French fleet at the mouth of the River Nile; this ruined Napoleon Bonaparte’s ambitions to invade Egypt and thus interrupt British trade routes to and from the Far East, threaten British India and extend his empire to the sub-continent. Like Bismarck in the next century, Napoleon saw the taking of territory as a mark of progress. Nelson knew well the naval role of disrupting enemy ambition, ideally by stopping the enemy fleet from putting to sea and, when they did so, defeating them and taking ships as prizes. (Hence the many French names on ships of the Royal Navy.)
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, currency manipulation / currency intervention, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, invention of agriculture, invention of the printing press, Khyber Pass, labour market flexibility, land reform, land tenure, means of production, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, principal–agent problem, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus
The Mamluk state was eventually driven to fully predatory behavior, but only by a constellation of internal and external forces. There were many causes contributing to the political decay of the Mamluk regime and its destruction at the hands of the Ottomans in 1517. Egypt endured twenty-six years of plagues between 1388 and 1514. One of the immediate consequences of the rise of the Ottomans was that it became harder and harder for the Mamluks to recruit young slave-soldiers since the Ottomans sat directly astride the trade routes to Central Asia. And finally, the Mamluk system proved too inflexible to adopt new military technologies, particularly the use of firearms by infantry forces. The Ottomans, facing a European enemy, began to use firearms in 1425, perhaps a century after the innovation was first explored in Europe.25 They quickly mastered these weapons, and cannons played a key role in the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
What China did not have was the spirit of maximization that economists assume is a universal human trait. An enormous complacency pervaded Ming China in all walks of life. It was not just emperors who didn’t feel it necessary to extract as much as they could in taxes; other forms of innovation and change simply didn’t seem to be worth the effort. The eunuch admiral Zheng He sailed across the Indian Ocean and discovered new trade routes and civilizations. This didn’t provoke curiosity, however, and the voyages were never followed up. The next emperor cut the navy’s budget as an economizing move, and the Chinese Age of Discovery was over almost before it had begun. Similarly, during the Song Dynasty, an inventor named Su Sung invented the world’s first mechanical clock, a huge, multistory mechanism powered by a waterwheel, but it was abandoned when the Rurzhen conquered the Song capital of Kaifeng.
The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman, Robert K. Massie
He then informed Grey what he had done and with Grey’s assent released the Admiralty order to the newspapers in the hope that the news might have “a sobering effect” on Berlin and Vienna. Holding the fleet together was not enough; it must be got, as Churchill expressed it in capitals, to its “War Station.” The primary duty of a fleet, as Admiral Mahan, the Clausewitz of naval warfare, had decreed, was to remain “a fleet in being.” In the event of war the British fleet, upon which an island nation depended for its life, had to establish and maintain mastery of the ocean trade routes; it had to protect the British Isles from invasion; it had to protect the Channel and the French coasts in fulfillment of the pact with France; it had to keep concentrated in sufficient strength to win any engagement if the German fleet sought battle; and above all it had to guard itself against that new and menacing weapon of unknown potential, the torpedo. The fear of a sudden, undeclared torpedo attack haunted the Admiralty.
He said it would be his “feeling” that “if the German fleet came down the Channel and bombarded and battered the undefended coasts of France, we could not stand aside and see this going on practically within sight of our eyes, with our arms folded, looking on dispassionately, doing nothing!” Cheers burst from the Opposition benches, while the Liberals listened, “somberly acquiescent.” To explain his having already committed Britain to defend France’s Channel coasts, Grey entered into an involved argument about “British interests” and British trade routes in the Mediterranean. It was a tangled skein, and he hurried on to the “more serious consideration, becoming more serious every hour,” of Belgian neutrality. To give the subject all its due, Grey, wisely not relying on his own oratory, borrowed Gladstone’s thunder of 1870, “Could this country stand by and witness the direst crime that ever stained the pages of history and thus become participators in the sin?”
They established an empire that remained more or less intact for a century, and which left a sophisticated model of government and military that long outlived the Genghisid dynasty. Many contemporary historians point out how taxes levied by the Mongols during their reign were by and large used to serve the diverse people they ruled. They implemented legal codes, funded public works projects, patronized the arts and religion, and promoted international trade and commerce. Under their stewardship, trade routes and communication lines across Eurasia were perhaps safer and more efficient than they had ever been, enabling the first direct relations between China and Europe. It is remarkable to think that at the zenith of Mongol power nomad herders of the little-known steppes of East Asia ruled an empire that included some of the most populous cities on earth and stretched from Korea in the east to Hungary in the west, the tropics of South East Asia in the south—the Mongols even campaigned in Java, Indonesia—and the sub-Arctic in the north.
When the moon rose, and my caravan cast dim shadows across the frosted grass, my transition to an older world felt complete. I slowed to a walk, snuggled deep into my winter coat, and opened the bell on Taskonir’s neck—something I always did at night in case the horses broke free (so I would be able to hear where they had gone) and in this case, also because it as was an old steppe tradition along courier and trading routes to have a horsebell to warn rest stations of the approach of a horseman. After traveling nearly 25 miles into the cold of evening, I was beginning to worry I had missed the hut, but around 11:00 P.M. three dark shapes emerged from the moonlit steppe. From one came the faint flicker of an oil lamp. I was greeted by an old man reeking of vodka who introduced himself in Russian as the caretaker.
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, centre right, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, cosmic microwave background, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, double helix, East Village, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, horn antenna, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index card, Jacques de Vaucanson, Kowloon Walled City, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mutually assured destruction, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Tunguska event, urban sprawl, Vesna Vulović, wikimedia commons, working poor
Basilica Cisterns of Istanbul Beneath Istanbul are hundreds of Byzantine cisterns—underground reservoirs built during the 5th and 6th centuries to store rainwater. The cathedral-like structures have an elegance that belies their utilitarian nature, and contain decorated arches, marble columns, and carvings of Medusa’s head. Antwerp Ruien Antwerp’s many natural ditches served as fortifications, trade routes, and open sewers from the 11th to 16th centuries. When the smell became too much to bear, the city asked each citizen to take responsibility for covering the ditches, or ruien, on their land. It took citizens 300 years to cover the ditches in a diverse range of materials that reflected their wealth, taste, and competence as builders. The underground ruien functioned as the city’s sewers until the 1990s, when they were emptied in favor of a new network of pipes.
For a less stressful option, take a taxi. 42.876388 74.603888 In Kyrgyzstan’s time capsule of a museum, the Soviet Union still stands strong. Tash Rabat AT-BASHI, NARYN During the 15th century, the stone structure of Tash Rabat was a caravansary—a travelers’ inn providing refuge for those journeying along the Silk Road. Protected by the high walls of the rectangular courtyard, human and animal travelers took shelter in its stalls to wash, rest, and prepare for the next leg of a long trip. This desolate part of the trading route was particularly treacherous. Snow covers the ground for eight months of the year, and the area is subject to landslides, flooding, and earthquakes. The difficult conditions persist, which is why, for maximum safety and comfort, you should visit in summer and hire a local guide to drive you. For a fleeting insight into the Silk Road experience, camp in a yurt overnight at Tash Rabat. Tash Rabat is a 6-hour drive south of the capital of Bishkek.
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
back-to-the-land, British Empire, California gold rush, colonial rule, Copley Medal, desegregation, Donald Trump, feminist movement, full employment, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, joint-stock company, land reform, land tenure, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration
By 1790, they were working to build a canal (a “ditch,” as it was more accurately called at the time) to tunnel through the morass of cypress trees, prickly briars, and muddy waterways.20 The Carolina coastline was nearly as uninviting, cutting off the northern part of the colony from ready access to large sailing vessels. Only New Englanders, in their low-bottomed boats, could navigate the shallow, shoal-filled inlets of the Outer Banks. Without a major harbor, and facing burdensome taxes if they shipped their goods through Virginia, many Carolinians turned to smuggling. Hidden inlets made North Carolina attractive to pirates. Along trade routes from the West Indies to the North American continent, piracy flourished in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Several of Albermarle’s governors were accused of sheltering these high-seas thieves and personally profiting from the illicit trade. The notorious Blackbeard (a.k.a. Edward Teach, or Edward Thatch) made a home here, as did the Barbados gentleman turned pirate, Major Stede Bonnet.
By 1788, Carolinian Jonathan Bryan was the most powerful man in Georgia, with thirty-two thousand acres and 250 slaves. He set up shop there in 1750, the very year slavery was made legal, and his numerous slaves entitled him to large tracts of lands. But to build his empire he had to pull the strings of Georgia’s Executive Council, whose chief duty was distributing land. A long tenure on the council ensured that he acquired the most fertile land, conveniently situated along major trade routes. By 1760, only 5 percent of white Georgians owned even a single slave, while a handful of families possessed them in the hundreds. Jonathan Bryan was the perfect embodiment of the “Slave Merchants” who Oglethorpe had warned would dominate the colony.59 Oglethorpe’s ideas did not entirely disappear. Both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson agreed that slaveowning corrupted whites. The idea of promoting a free white labor buffer zone went into Jefferson’s draft of what became the Northwest Ordinance (1787), a blueprint for the admission of new states to the Union.
Chaos by James Gleick
Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, discrete time, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, experimental subject, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Murray Gell-Mann, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, trade route
The diagram had nothing to do with income distribution; it represented eight years of cotton prices. From Houthakker’s point of view, too, there was something strange about this chart. Economists generally assumed that the price of a commodity like cotton danced to two different beats, one orderly and one random. Over the long term, prices would be driven steadily by real forces in the economy—the rise and fall of the New England textile industry, or the opening of international trade routes. Over the short term, prices would bounce around more or less randomly. Unfortunately, Houthakker’s data failed to match his expectations. There were too many large jumps. Most price changes were small, of course, but the ratio of small changes to large was not as high as he had expected. The distribution did not fall off quickly enough. It had a long tail. The standard model for plotting variation was and is the bell-shaped curve.
Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It by Richard A. Clarke, Robert Knake
barriers to entry, complexity theory, data acquisition, Just-in-time delivery, nuclear winter, packet switching, RAND corporation, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, trade route, Y2K, zero day
That two square miles of land is spread out over more than 150,000 square miles of ocean. It’s not the islands that China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei are feuding over, but what is under them and around them. The reefs have some of the largest remaining stocks of fish in the world, a resource not to be discounted among the growing and hungry nations that lay claim to the waters. The islands also skirt the critical trade route that links the Indian Ocean to the Pacific nations through which a large majority of the world’s oil flows out of the Middle East. Then there are the Spratlys’ oil and gas. Undeveloped fields estimated to hold more natural gas than are Kuwait, currently home to the fourth-largest reserves in the world, could fuel the economies of any of the countries for decades to come. Oil fields in the islands are already well developed, often with platforms established by several nations drawing out of the same reservoir.
Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, deskilling, Edmond Halley, fear of failure, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, McJob, McMansion, Naomi Klein, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, The Great Good Place, trade route
This Frenchman’s name was Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, and when his quest began, in the autumn of 1720, he was an ambitious young naval officer on leave in Paris from his post on the Ca-rib-be-an island of Martinique. De Clieu was acutely aware of the fact that the early eighteenth century was a terrible time to be a coffee drinker; beans were both scarce and costly. At the time, the Dutch trading empire controlled the continent’s two major coffee sources — plantations on the Indonesian island of Java and trade routes with the Yemeni port of Mocha — and as with any monopoly, they made the most of it. * Continental coffee aficionados had little recourse in the matter. They couldn’t grow the beans themselves, as coffee trees withered in European soil without meticulous supervision. Dutch hegemony appeared inescapable. De Clieu thought he could change things and become a national hero in the bargain. His plan was simple: (1) he would chaperone a few coffee seedlings back to Martinique, where he assumed they would take to the rich tropical earth; (2) a forest of riches would sprout up for France; (3) honors, titles, and rewards would descend on him.
QI: The Book of General Ignorance - The Noticeably Stouter Edition by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John
Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Barry Marshall: ulcers, British Empire, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Fellow of the Royal Society, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, placebo effect, Pluto: dwarf planet, trade route, V2 rocket, Vesna Vulović
In 2003, archaeologists in Venezuela discovered the fossilised remains of a huge guinea pig-like creature that lived eight million years ago. Phoberomys pattersoni was the size of a cow and weighed 1,400 times more than the average pet guinea pig. Nobody really knows where the expression ‘guinea pig’ comes from but the most likely suggestion is that they reached Europe as part of the triangle of slave-trade routes that linked South America to the Guinea coast of West Africa. What was the first animal in space? The fruit fly. The tiny astronauts were loaded on to an American V2 rocket along with some corn seeds, and blasted into space in July 1946. They were used to test the effects of exposure to radiation at high altitudes. Fruit flies are a lab favourite. Three-quarters of known human disease genes have a match in the genetic code of fruit flies.
QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John
Ada Lovelace, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, clean water, double helix, Etonian, ghettoisation, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, out of africa, the built environment, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman
The usual reason given for the Cape of Good Hope’s fame (and its name) is that it was the psychologically important point where sailors, on the long haul down the west coast of Africa on their way to the Far East, at last began to sail in an easterly, rather than a southerly, direction. On the other hand, it might have been an early example of marketing spin. Bartolomeu Dias (1451–1500), the Portuguese navigator who discovered the Cape of Good Hope and became the first European to make the hair-raising trip around the foot of Africa, named it Cabo das Tormentas (‘Cape of Storms’). His employer, King John II of Portugal (1455–95), keen to encourage others to adopt the new trade route, overruled him and tactfully rechristened it Cabo da Boa Esperança (‘Cape of Good Hope’). The King died childless, aged only forty. Five years later Bartolomeu Dias also died. He was wrecked in a terrible storm – along with four ships and the loss of all hands – off the very cape he had so presciently named. Cape Agulhas is equally treacherous. It is Portuguese for ‘Cape of Needles’, after the sharp rocks and reefs that infest its roaring waters.
Methland by Nick Reding
If Oelwein was shaping up to be the face of meth in modern America, and an indicator of life in modern, rural America in general, then in Ottumwa there was a picture of Oelwein’s skeletal forebears. And eventually a picture of Oelwein’s future, though that part of the story was yet to evolve. Like Oelwein, Ottumwa had for most of its history been a very prosperous place. Also like Oelwein, Ottumwa was a kind of economic outpost, a wealthy waypoint on the trade routes running between St. Louis, Chicago, and Omaha. Thanks to the Des Moines River, which runs right through the middle of Ottumwa, industry and transportation came quickly to the area once it was settled by a land rush in 1843. In 1850, John Morrell and Co. opened a flag-ship, state-of-the-art meat-processing plant in the center of town. By 1888, there were 10,500 miles of railroad track in Wapello County.
Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
Some large birds, as we have seen, simply gave up the struggle, grounded themselves for good, and made a nice living getting even larger as ostriches and emus. But vultures, condors, eagles and albatrosses are not grounded. Why not? Their trick is to exploit external energy sources. If it weren’t for the sun’s heat and the moon’s shifting gravity, air and sea would be still. External energy charges up the ocean currents, pumps up the winds, stirs the dust-devils, rocks the atmosphere with powerful forces capable of flattening a house or driving a trade-route; it also engenders thermal up-currents which, if you use them judiciously, can raise you to the clouds. Vultures, eagles and albatrosses use them to perfection. They may be the only animals to match our skill in mining the energy of the weather. My main source of information on soaring birds is the writings of Dr Colin Pennycuick of Bristol University. He used his specialized knowledge as a glider pilot, both to understand how birds do it and to glide among them in order to study their techniques in the field.
Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language by Robert McCrum
Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, colonial rule, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, invention of movable type, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, jimmy wales, knowledge economy, Livingstone, I presume, Martin Wolf, Naomi Klein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile
Meanwhile, the American Revolution had relocated the English-speaking world’s centre of gravity. Britain, having lost one empire in the West, found a second one in the East. With remarkable foresight, the Scots economist Adam Smith identified this process as early as 1776 in The Wealth of Nations. There were, wrote Smith, two milestones on Britain’s road to global empire: the settlement of North America and the opening of trade routes to India and the East: The discovery of America, and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, are the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind. By uniting, in some measure, the most distant parts of the world, by enabling them to relieve one another’s wants, to increase one another’s enjoyments, and to encourage one another’s industry, their general tendency would seem to be beneficial.
Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure by Julian Smith
You want to get married on the edge of a cliff.” I was amazed she remembered—I’d forgotten saying it myself. But she was right. I could picture the precipice, clear as day. CHAPTER TEN Grogan and Sharp couldn’t wait to get off the Good News at Ujiji, one of the oldest and most famous towns in central Africa. For more than a century, it had been the western end of the lucrative Arab trading route to the island city of Zanzibar, almost due east on the coast. Caravans laden with ivory arrived from the Congo trailing long lines of manacled slaves. Those who survived the journey were auctioned in the markets of Zanzibar and Dar-Es-Salaam, its coastal counterpart. Ujiji’s glory days faded as the slave trade was gradually abolished in the nineteenth century. In late October 1871, the explorer Henry Morton Stanley approached the town with a racing pulse and dry mouth.
How to Fix Copyright by William Patry
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, barriers to entry, big-box store, borderless world, business intelligence, citizen journalism, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, haute cuisine, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lone genius, means of production, new economy, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, web application, winner-take-all economy
Adam Smith claimed, in the eighteenth century, that an increase in the size of markets leads to increases in the diversity of offerings.16 Trade among countries increases this diversity by introducing people in one country to the goods, services, and cultures of others.17 Most of the early great powers, beginning with the Ancient Greeks, were sea powers. The Greeks spread their culture wherever they went, whether that spread was voluntary or forced as part of a conquest. France, Great Britain, Holland, Spain, and Portugal did the same.The trade routes to the Far East transmitted more than spices. From the Industrial Revolution forward, increased literacy rates and mass production led to an expansion of culture so that it was no longer the province of the upper classes.Walt Whitman remarked, “To have great poets, there must be great audiences.”18 Whitman believed that poetry could be appreciated by the working class 254 HOW TO FIX COPYRIGHT and later regretted that he had not toured the country and given readings to the working class.19 Alexis de Tocqueville, in studying the United States, took a different view, concluding that “market growth serves as a magnet, pulling creators towards mass production and away from serving niches,” resulting in “a culture of the least common denominator. . . .”20 De Tocqueville’s rather than Smith’s views seems to have prevailed.
Gesner himself had already seen a sketch of another specimen, yellow this time, that may have grown in northern Italy; it had been sent to him by his correspondent Johann Kentmann, an artist who had lived in Padua, Venice, and Bologna between 1549 and 1551. From these bases and maybe others, the flower spread quickly from country to country. Its novelty, delicacy, and beauty made it welcome everywhere, and its wide distribution was assisted by the easy portability of its bulbs. The time was now right for the tulip. With the discovery of silver mines in the Americas and trade routes to the Indies, there was more money about in Europe than ever before, and the rich were looking for interesting new ways to spend it. The Renaissance had reawakened interest in science, and printing had made both new discoveries and hoarded stores of older knowledge widely available. One consequence of these developments was that botany and gardening were greatly in fashion among the elite. Many of the most influential and affluent citizens of Europe planted their own gardens and wanted to stock them with rare and coveted plants.
Rats by Robert Sullivan
It is theorized that the nomads who lived in the area were spared plague death because the fleas on the tarbagans were apparently repelled by the smell of the tribe's horses; a balance existed between flea-infected tarbagans and humans. Then something happened to the area that disturbed that balance. Historians speculate about earthquakes, but no one knows for certain. Another change occurring at the time was the building of a road, a great silk-trading route that connected Europe with China. Italians were especially interested in trading for silk, and they set up colonies along the eastern shore of the Black Sea, which was from where people like Marco Polo made their way to China. Along with silk and other trading goods, the traders brought back rats, probably black rats, which preceded Rattus norvegicus into Europe and were migrating along the human routes from Asia.
The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy by Sasha Issenberg
air freight, Akira Okazaki, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, call centre, Deng Xiaoping, global supply chain, haute cuisine, means of production, Nixon shock, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, telemarketer, trade route, urban renewal
During the war, Mutual Trading, which had reached $500,000 in sales and even purchased a grand Beijing hotel, abruptly shut down. It reopened after the war to disarray. Japanese communities on the West Coast were dispersed by mass internments—Hoshizaki and other Mutual Trading executives were sent to the camp at Manzanar—and it took a while for neighborhoods to be resettled. There wasn’t much business to conduct, anyway: The Japanese economy was threadbare, and Pacific trade routes in shambles. Luckily, unlike most Japanese-American businesses, Mutual Trading’s assets had been guarded at the Maryknoll Church, popular with Japanese families who had been exposed to Catholicism from missionary visits in the late nineteenth century. As residents returned to Little Tokyo and tried to rebuild their house holds, Mutual Trading was the only vendor in town with merchandise on hand.
An MI6 agent was dispatched to monitor the passage of ships through the Kattegat, the narrow strip of water separating Denmark from Sweden, and, on 20 May, he reported that two large German warships had left the Baltic bound for the North Sea. The sighting was confirmed by photographic reconnaissance and a few isolated breaks into the main Naval Enigma cypher showed that the Bismarck, accompanied by the new cruiser the Prinz Eugen, was about to attack Britain’s transatlantic trade routes. A British naval squadron was dispatched to hunt the Bismarck down. She was sighted on the evening of 23 May and next morning was engaged by the Hood and the Prince of Wales. The Hood was sunk and the Prince of Wales hit but not without the Bismarck herself sustaining some damage. She parted company with the Prinz Eugen and the Royal Navy ships lost contact with her. Throughout the following day there was confusion as to what direction the Bismarck was travelling in.
Baghdad Without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia by Tony Horwitz
At first it looked like a miniature Sanaa, with clay walls and fanciful mud towers topped in stained glass and gypsum. But most of the towers seemed to squat rather than soar. Urine trickled from holes in the upper floors, a primitive sewage system that relied on the hot sun to dry waste water as it dribbled down. From atop the ramparts there was still a glimpse of former glory. A cleft in the mountains marked the site of an ancient trade route, along which passed caravans of myrrh and frankincense on their way to the Mediterranean port of Gaza. Muslim pilgrims also followed the road north to visit Mecca, just over the mountains. Their gravestones, covered in calligraphy, massed outside Saada's walls, facing the holy city. These days, thousands of Yemenis made the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for worldlier gain. They went to do the kingdom's dirty work, returning with enough petrodollars to buy a home, a wife, a higher grade of qat.
back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, McMansion, medical malpractice, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, South China Sea, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working poor, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War
The United States has already lost its ability to organize and exploit the global political and economic system, and it cannot get it back. China, he thinks, is no paper tiger. Whereas Friedman sees China as hopelessly dependent on the U.S. market, Starobin argues that the creditor always has the upper hand over the borrower. China and India are using their surplus to build up their navies, which could gradually push the U.S. out of the trade routes in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. Starobin lays out several possibilities for what might follow the decline of U.S. global power. The first is chaos. If U.S. imperialism has been the bulwark against a return to a geopolitics of savagery and war, then its shrinking authority will leave anarchy in its wake. Europe before 1945 might be the model for the world, or as former Republican congressman and 2008 presidential primary contender Tom Tancredo put it, “We go under, Western civilization goes under.”26 The second scenario Starobin lays out is a multipolar world, a favorite among the big thinkers of the foreign policy establishment.
Culture Shock! Costa Rica 30th Anniversary Edition by Claire Wallerstein
Costa Rica Perhaps the Indian population was almost totally annihilated as a result of warfare, European diseases such as smallpox and ﬂu (to which they had no resistance) and the mass transportation of slaves to other parts of the Empire— such as the notorious gold mines of Peru, from which few emerged alive. The country’s total population would not recover to its pre-Conquest levels until 1930. Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, the country seems to have acted as both a bridge and a ﬁlter for cultures from north and south, as well as an important trade route. Linguistic research has bolstered the theory that the Chorotegas who settled in the north of the country had moved down from Mesoamerica (today Mexico), while other groups migrated up from South America. The Chorotegas (the word comes from Choltec which means ‘people who ﬂed’) are thought to have arrived around 800 CE to escape civil strife in their northern homeland. Like the Aztecs, who arose later in Mexico, they worshipped similar anthropomorphic deities, farmed corn, and lived in towns with central plazas—a living arrangement which made them particularly vulnerable to round-ups by the Spaniards.
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize
As groups expand in size, exploiting a widening range of ecological habitats, an increasing division of productive and cognitive labor becomes both possible and preferable. By the time of Jesus Christ, two millennia ago, four great neighboring polities spanned Eurasia’s middle latitudes: the Roman Empire; the Parthian Empire, centered in Persia and Mesopotamia; the Kushan Empire of Central Asia and Northern India; and the Han Empire of China and Korea. The Kushan Empire had diplomatic links with the other three, and all four were linked by a network of trade routes known to posterity as the Silk Road. It’s along the Silk Road that Eurasia’s three universalist moral religions—Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Hinduism—interacted and mutated from their respective territorial and tribal origins into the three proselytizing, globalizing religions that today vie for the soul of humanity: Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. The three globalizing religions created two new concepts in human thought: individual free choice and collective humanity.
Culture & Empire: Digital Revolution by Pieter Hintjens
4chan, airport security, anti-communist, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, business climate, business intelligence, business process, Chelsea Manning, clean water, congestion charging, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, Debian, Edward Snowden, failed state, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, German hyperinflation, global village, GnuPG, Google Chrome, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, informal economy, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, national security letter, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, packet switching, patent troll, peak oil, pre–internet, private military company, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, Skype, slashdot, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, transaction costs, union organizing, web application, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day, Zipf's Law
However, there is zero correspondence between good genes and "ethnic origin," except in reverse: the more isolated and homogeneous a gene pool is, the more likely it is to be filled with bugs. The evolutionary justification for tribalism ended perhaps 5,000 years ago when the technologies of agriculture, portable trade goods, and currencies made it more profitable to work collectively than to fight over patches of hunting ground, watering holes, or trade routes. Language identity. Digital society specializes in intense and useless fights called "language wars." When we get attached to languages, that makes us dim witted. All languages are good for something. French for arguments: you can shout for ten minutes and say nothing. English for business: it's easy to pick up yet hard to master. German for poetry... well, just because. Japanese for secrets: it is really four languages depending on who you're talking to.
algorithmic trading, asset allocation, asset-backed security, automated trading system, backtesting, Black Swan, Brownian motion, business process, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, diversification, equity premium, fault tolerance, financial intermediation, fixed income, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, interest rate swap, inventory management, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, martingale, New Journalism, p-value, paper trading, performance metric, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Small Order Execution System, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, systematic trading, trade route, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve
See Chapter 16 for the details of best practices in design and implementation of the high-frequency trading systems. Trading Platform Most high-frequency trading systems today are built to be “platformindependent”—that is, to incorporate flexible interfaces to multiple brokerdealers, ECNs, and even exchanges. The independence is accomplished through the use of FIX language, a special sequence of codes optimized for exchange of financial trading data. With FIX, at a flip of a switch the trading routing can be changed from one executing broker to another or to several brokers simultaneously. Risk Management Competent risk management is key to the success of any high-frequency trading system. A seemingly harmless glitch in the code, market data, market conditions, or the like can throw off the trading dynamic and result in large losses. The objective of risk management is to assess the extent of potential damages and to create infrastructure to mitigate damaging conditions during the system run-time.
The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch by Lewis Dartnell
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, clean water, Dava Sobel, decarbonisation, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, global village, Haber-Bosch Process, invention of movable type, invention of radio, invention of writing, iterative process, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, lone genius, nuclear winter, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, technology bubble, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route
Ships rigged in such a way are far more maneuverable, and can also tack and beat much closer to the wind—modern yachts can cut as little as 20 degrees into the wind—than a square-rigged vessel, although most large ships set a combination of both kinds of sail. Fore-and-aft rigging dates back to Roman navigation of the Mediterranean, but really came into its own during the Age of Discovery, hauling the great European exploration ships, led by the Portuguese and Spanish, across the oceans of the world to encounter distant new lands and establish long-range trade routes. When you present a fore-and-aft sail obliquely to the wind, a whole new effect comes into play. The wind filling the sail causes it to bulge outward and behave like an airfoil—the airflow rushing over the curved surface is deflected and creates a region of low pressure in front of the sail. Rather than being blown through the water with the wind drag created by a square sail, the fore-and-aft sail is sucked forward by this aerodynamic lift force.
Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford
Andrew Wiles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, Deep Water Horizon, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, food miles, Gerolamo Cardano, global supply chain, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Netflix Prize, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, PageRank, Piper Alpha, profit motive, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, web application, X Prize
In fact the way to combine them has been around, if often forgotten, for more than three centuries. 8 ‘ … for such person or persons as shall discover the Longitude’ The year 1675 marked the foundation of one of the first and most famous government agencies for research and design. The Royal Observatory was founded with the aim of improving navigation at sea, and in particular of solving the ‘longitude’ problem of figuring out how far east or west a ship at sea was. (The latitude problem was far more easily solved, by measuring the length of the day, or the elevation of the sun or stars.) For a great naval power such as Great Britain, with trade routes stretching across the world, the significance of a ship’s captain being unable to figure out his location could hardly be overstated. And the Royal Observatory today gladly associates itself with the sensational breakthrough that solved the conundrum. Its original site in Greenwich, East London, is bisected by what the Observatory still proudly describes as ‘the Prime Meridian of the World’ – Longitude 0° 0′ 0″.
call centre, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, Dean Kamen, double helix, edge city, germ theory of disease, Google Earth, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, John Snow's cholera map, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, megacity, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, peak oil, side project, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, trade route, unbiased observer, working poor
A world where it was not at all out of the ordinary for an entire family to die in the space of forty-eight hours, children suffering alone in the arsenic-lit dark next to the corpses of their parents. Outbreaks had an ominous preamble, too. Newspapers would track the disease’s progress through the harbors and trading towns of Europe, as it marched relentlessly across the Continent. When cholera first appeared in New York City in the summer of 1832, it attacked the city from the north: arriving first in Montreal via ships originating in France, the disease spent a month snaking along the trade routes of upstate New York toward the city, then floating straight down the Hudson. Every few days the papers would announce that the cholera had taken another step; when it eventually arrived, in early July, almost half the city had escaped to the countryside, creating traffic jams that resembled the Long Island Expressway on a modern-day Fourth of July weekend. The New York Evening Post reported: The roads, in all directions, were lined with well-filled stage coaches, livery coaches, private vehicles and equestrians, all panic struck, fleeing from the city, as we may suppose the inhabitants of Pompeii or Reggio fled from those devoted places, when the red lava showered down upon their houses, or when the walls were shaken asunder by an earthquake.
Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson
airport security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, British Empire, cable laying ship, call centre, cellular automata, edge city, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, music of the spheres, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, packet switching, pirate software, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, Socratic dialogue, South China Sea, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, X Prize
Another, a hard-core science fiction fan, had been boning up on supplemental materials: “Clone Wars,” an animated TV series consisting of “epic adventures that bridge the story arc between ‘Episode II: Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.’ ” If you have watched these cartoons—or if you’ve enjoyed some of the half-dozen “Clone Wars” novels, flipped through the graphic novels, read the short stories or played the video game—you will know that the battle cruiser in question is owned by the New Droid Army of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, which is backed by the Trade Federation, a commercial guild that is peeved about taxation of trade routes. And that is not the only aspect of Episode III that you will see in a different light. If you watch the movie without doing the prep work, General Grievous—who is supposed to be one of the most formidable bad guys in the entire Star Wars cycle—will seem like something that just fell out of a Happy Meal. But if you’ve been boning up, you’ll have seen Grievous slay many a Jedi. Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, has taken flak for his performance.
Deep Sea and Foreign Going by Rose George
Admiral Zheng, air freight, Albert Einstein, bank run, cable laying ship, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Costa Concordia, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Filipino sailors, global supply chain, Google Earth, intermodal, London Whale, Malacca Straits, Panamax, pattern recognition, profit maximization, Skype, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, urban planning
Then, in the words of Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, president of Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland, this is what happened next: ‘The violation of Somali waters by foreign trawlers expectedly triggered a reaction of armed resistance by Somali fishermen [who] linked themselves with local warlords for protection, placing armed militiamen on board the trawlers.’ He calls this new breed of fishers ‘fishermen-turned-pirates’. They then targeted unarmed commercial vessels, ‘inhumanly taking hostages for ransom and disrupting international maritime trade routes’. There are other versions of their origins. For Robert Young Pelton, who ran the Somalia Report news agency, pirates emerged originally from the Puntland coastguard. When the national government fell, the coastguard turned pirate ‘in about a day’. A London-based Somalia expert told me modern pirates had never been fishermen or coastguards. He thought they came from inland criminal gangs. It was a protection racket.
It was the first official document to advocate a line stretching into the depths of Siberia. He argued that Siberia was no longer ‘a desolate and terrible country inhabited by convicts’,14 but rather a rich source of resources which could be exploited with a railway connection. He wanted it to run from Moscow right through to the Amur river, but if that were impossible, at least as far as Irkutsk. He wanted it to use the northern route through Perm, rather than existing trade routes through the south in order to spur the development of these areas, which were home to tribes and untouched by civilization. His plan, though, attracted scant support from the committee of ministers, the contemporary equivalent of the Cabinet. Although, Posyet’s proposal did not gain the support of the committee, it did decide to go ahead with the construction of a railway from Nizhny-Novgorod along the right bank of the Volga to Kazan and Yekaterinburg, a proposal endorsed by the tsar in December 1875.
The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester
Every bank, every entrepreneur, every developer, every engineer in England suddenly seemed to believe that the canal was the highway of the future. The owners of the turnpike roads howled their dismay. Farmers, angry that their land would be torn up, raised all manner of objections. But, one by one, Parliament passed canal acts and navigation acts at a staggering rate. Small armies of navvies—workers on the inland navigations—descended on the hills and valleys to carve and cement these revolutionary new trade routes into place. Grand plans were conceived for connecting the whole country, Carlisle to Cornwall, Dover to Dumfries, with a network of waterways. The great existing trade rivers of England, the Thames, the Severn, the Mersey, and the Trent, were all to be linked. Maybe, one overambitious inventor suggested, the English Midlands could have their own canal that followed the contour lines and so did not need the costly and cumbersome mechanism of locks.
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby
A further source of friction arose over the sale of Kafir girls to the Afghans in exchange for cows and the subsequent disputes over their relative values. He himself says that the chief reasons that caused him to invade Kafiristan were the aggravation caused by having a semi-hostile country at his back and also the fear that the Russians might annex it. Besides these statesmanlike considerations there were others. He longed to convert the Kafirs and win an apostle’s reward and also to keep open the Kunar Valley trade route between Jalalabad and Badakshan, which their really intolerable behaviour made extremely difficult. The campaign opened in the winter of 1895, the idea being to avoid the Kafirs escaping to Russian territory and also to keep casualties as low as possible. Whilst irritated by the Kafirs, the Amir seems to have recognized that they would be more use to him alive. Each man in the three armies that invaded Kafiristan was paid twenty rupees a day to stop him looting which, in such terrain as Kafiristan in mid-winter, would have condemned the inhabitants to death at any rate.
The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook
The Gloved One wanted to change the key in one of the songs, and asked Denniz and Max to fly to L.A. to work with him in his studio. At first, the Swedes declined. “We don’t want to travel all that way just to go record four bars of music, especially since we thought it was really good just like it was,” Max Martin said. But on reflection, the opportunity to meet the King of Pop and work with him in his own studio was too great to pass up, and they flew west, early Nordic navigators of what would become a popular trade route of Swedish song Vikings for decades to come. Expecting a state-of-the-art facility, “instead we went to this little studio out in the country, although not far from Hollywood, but it was like a shack,” Max Martin said in the Swedish Radio documentary. “Our studio was like a dream studio compared to where we went to record over there. So there we sat, pretty much on a rotten sofa, sharing some coffee, just like usual.”
Hidden Family by Stross, Charles
There’s no point trying to train nuclear engineers or build airports in the Gruinmarkt, not with a medieval level of infrastructure, and a lot of the technologies up for sale in the U.S. are simply too far ahead to use here. Those of you who’ve wired up your estates will know what I’m talking about. But we can import tools and ideas and even teachers from New Britain, and deliver a real push to the economy over here. Within thirty years you could be traveling to your estates by railway, your farmers could be producing three times as much food, and your ships could dominate the Atlantic trade routes.” Angbard rapped his gavel on the wooden block in front of him for attention. “The chair thanks Countess Helge,” he said formally. “Are there any more questions from the floor?” A new speaker stood up: a smooth-looking managerial type who smiled at Miriam in a friendly manner from the bench behind her grandmother. “I’d like to congratulate my cousin on her successful start-up,” he began. “It’s a remarkable achievement to come into a new world and set up a business, from scratch, with no background.”
Family Trade by Stross, Charles
Vikings, but Vikings who had assimilated the Roman church—the worship of the divine company of gods—and such learning as the broken wreckage of Europe had to offer. We sent agents across the Atlantic to explore the Rome of this world thirty years or so ago: It lies unquiet beneath the spurs of the Great Khan, but the churches still make burned offerings before the gods. Maybe when there are more of us we will open up trade routes in Europe … but not yet.” “Um. Okay.” Miriam nodded, reduced to silence by a sudden sense of cultural indigestion. This is so alien! “So what about you? The Clan, I mean. Where do you—we—fit into the picture?” “The Clan families are mostly based in Gruinmarkt, which is roughly where Massachusetts and New York and Maine are over here. But we, the Clan families, were ennobled only in the past six generations or so—the old landholders won’t ever let you forget it.
Paris Revealed by Stephen Clarke
And for those who prefer to do nothing, there are several hundred loungers and parasols laid out on artificial beaches (along with an equal number of security men to stop them being stolen). It really is a holiday resort for people who can’t afford to, or don’t want to, leave the city in summer. And Parisians flock there like migrating flamingos. The migration is spreading out from the city centre, too. I live near Napoleon’s Canal de l’Ourcq, which was once one of France’s main trade routes, and is now slowly emerging from decades of industrial and urban decline. In summer, people rent canoes and pedalos, there are one-euro boat trips up the canal to the suburb of Pantin, and a small marina has been installed. Part of the canal, along the Bassin de la Villette, has even been incorporated into the Paris Plage scheme, forcing the city to rename it Paris Plages, plural. Now, as on the banks of the Seine, for a month or so in summer, you can listen to concerts, battle for loungers, learn to line-dance and tango, refresh yourself in a cool mist spray, or dive in the canal and then get yourself vaccinated against Weil’s disease, the potentially fatal illness caused by ingesting rat’s urine.
The Weather of the Future by Heidi Cullen
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, air freight, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, availability heuristic, back-to-the-land, bank run, California gold rush, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, energy security, illegal immigration, Isaac Newton, megacity, millennium bug, out of africa, Silicon Valley, smart cities, trade route, urban planning, Y2K
Let’s go back to a time when things were smaller and simpler. The climatologists can’t seem to decide which they are.” But maybe that’s the point. Maybe the climatologists know we have to do both. We have to look forward and we have to look back. In 1609, 400 years ago, the English explorer Henry Hudson sailed into New York Bay. Hudson had been hired by the Dutch East India Company to find a northeast all-water trade route to Asia. On his ship, the Half Moon, Hudson and his crew left Amsterdam and sailed along the coast of Norway until they hit ferocious weather and sea ice. Rather than return empty-handed, and disobeying orders to search only for a northeast route, Hudson made a 3,000-mile detour in search of warmer weather and the dream of finding a southwest route to Asia through North America. He never found the southwest route, but he did make another discovery, the island of Manhattan.
Losing Control: The Emerging Threats to Western Prosperity by Stephen D. King
Admiral Zheng, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital controls, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, market clearing, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Naomi Klein, new economy, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, statistical model, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y2K, Yom Kippur War
Ultimately, globalization has always been associated with a tension between winners and losers, whether the process of globalization has been market-led or otherwise. The Roman Empire had plenty of winners, but the vast number of slaves brought in to build cities and power ships would not count themselves among that happy throng. The Silk Road, sustained by China’s Tang dynasty and then by the Mongols under Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan, proved to be a most effective trading route for silk, spices, Arabic horses and religion (Buddhism found its way from India to China along the Silk Road). It was also a murderous road, with the ruling Mongols and a growing numbers of opportunistic bandits happy to indulge in death and destruction in pursuit of material gains (if the Mongols didn’t kill you off, the bubonic plague served the same purpose). And, as we saw in Chapter 2, globalization under the British Empire was hardly good news for all concerned.
It led to a golden age of construction in the first half of the sixteenth century, when some of Europe’s most elegant mosques were built and the Miljacka was laced with fine stone bridges. ‘The Bosnian countryman gapes with as much wonderment at the domes of the two chief mosques as an English rustic at the first sight of St Paul’s,’ wrote Arthur Evans when he trekked here in 1875 at the end of Ottoman rule. Established as a hub on trade routes across the Balkan Peninsula, Sarajevo grew quickly through commerce, with one seventeenth-century visitor reporting that the population had already reached 80,000, making it a true metropolis for that era, one of the largest cities in the Balkans. It was a city then dominated by Islam, the faith both of the Ottoman colonial outsiders deployed to Bosnia and of the growing cohort of local Slavs who converted to the religion of the occupier.
CultureShock! Egypt: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (4th Edition) by Susan L. Wilson
Howard Carter’s 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamun’s (King Tut’s) tomb filled with treasures still remains one of the most internationally celebrated sites to visit. For Tutankhamun Enthusiasts If Tut is your interest, National Geographic has a fully interactive site featuring the original February 1923 volume at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/egypt. Aswan Gateway to Africa, frontier city and prosperous market at the crossroads of the ancient caravan trade route, Aswan is undoubtedly one of my favourite places in Egypt. It has a sleepy, almost tranquil atmosphere, in contrast to the rest of Egypt. It is here that the Nile is the most enchanting and magical as it weaves through the mass of boulders and small islands, glistening sparkles dancing off its surface. View of Elephantine Island in Aswan. 26 CultureShock! Egypt The culture here is a fascinating mixture of Egyptian and Nubian heritages.
Digital Bank: Strategies for Launching or Becoming a Digital Bank by Chris Skinner
algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, bank run, Basel III, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, demand response, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Google Glasses, high net worth, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, margin call, mass affluent, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, quantitative easing, ransomware, reserve currency, RFID, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart cities, software as a service, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Stuxnet, trade route, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, web application, Y2K
Salt is something we liberally sprinkle over food, because industrial processing allows us to have an abundance of salt today, but historically it was the most valued source of wealth. Greek slave traders often bartered salt for slaves, giving rise to the expression that someone was “not worth his salt”, whilst Roman legionnaires were paid in salt rations known as ‘solarium argentums’ also known as a ‘salarium’, the Latin origin of the word “salary”. Jesus said “Ye are the salt of the earth” and trade routes such as the ancient Via Salaria, which led from northern Italy to the Adriatic Sea, were used to transport the valuable seasoning inland from the coast. This brought riches and prosperity to the bordering cities which were often named for the white mineral: “Salz”, the German word for salt, which gave Salzburg and Salzgitter their names. The Erie Canal connecting the Great Lakes to New York’s Hudson River was called “the ditch that salt built” in 1825, as salt tax revenues paid for half the cost of construction of the canal, and the British monarchy supported itself with high salt taxes, with 10,000 people arrested for salt smuggling every year back in the 1700s.
Construction was barely underway on the first three pens—which would comprise the center of the finished bunker—when U-552 tied up to the quay on March 16, 1941.9 The armored bunkers at Saint-Nazaire and the other French ports were an integral part of newly promoted four-star admiral Dönitz’s ongoing plan for a major expansion of the U-boat Force. The forty-nine-year-old admiral was adamant that Germany could only defeat Great Britain by severing the maritime trade routes that brought food, fuel, and other critical supplies to the island nation from overseas. Thus far, however, recurring delays in new construction, bureaucratic struggles with the army and Luftwaffe for steel and aluminum, and occasional personnel shortages in the German shipbuilding industry had hamstrung Dönitz’s efforts to knock Britain out of the fight. Dönitz had won Adolf Hitler’s tentative approval in January 1941 for a significant acceleration of U-boat construction.
Paper Promises by Philip Coggan
accounting loophole / creative accounting, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, paradox of thrift, peak oil, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, trade route, tulip mania, value at risk, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce
In 1896, while William Jennings Bryan was leading his campaign for debtors on the other side of the Atlantic, the yield on Consols fell to its lowest level in history – 2.2 per cent.3 Creditors had no inkling of the problems to come in the twentieth century; they would never be so complacent again. What the gold standard also helped to create was the first great era of globalization. This was particularly true in Great Britain which had an empire stretching round the world, a navy that protected trade routes, a sound currency in sterling, and a willingness to invest its savings overseas. Low yields on British government debt (gilts) caused the prosperous middle classes to buy bonds in Argentine railways in search of higher incomes (an early version of the ‘search for yield’ that would be seen in the current era). The quaintly named Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust, founded in 1868 but still around today, was a fund designed to offer Victorians a diversified portfolio; it acquired investments in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Russia, Spain and Turkey.
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis
automated trading system, bash_history, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, collateralized debt obligation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, Flash crash, High speed trading, latency arbitrage, pattern recognition, risk tolerance, Sergey Aleynikov, Small Order Execution System, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Vanguard fund
The NYSE data center in Mahwah, which housed the exchange, was 400,000 square feet. Because the value of the space around the black box was so great, the exchanges expanded to enclose greater amounts of that space so that they might sell it. IEX could function happily inside a space roughly the size of a playhouse. ¶ In 2008, Citadel bought a stake in the online broker E*Trade, which was floundering in the credit crisis. The deal stipulated that E*Trade route some percentage of its customers’ orders to Citadel. At the same time, E*Trade created its own high-frequency trading division, eventually called G1 Execution Services, to exploit the value of those orders for itself. Citadel’s founder and CEO, Kenneth Griffin, pitched a fit, and called out E*Trade publicly for failing to execute its customers’ orders properly. ** Arnuk and Saluzzi, the principals of Themis Trading, have done more than anyone to explain and publicize the predation in the new stock market.
Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Landlord's Game, lone genius, megacity, Minecraft, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern
The sheer scale of the transportation network that brought the cloves to Syria seems almost impossible given the navigational limitations of the age. A Babylonian living two thousand years before Christ would have had no idea about the existence of the Spice Islands, or Indonesia—or the Indian Ocean for that matter. Put another way, those tiny spices traveled thousands of miles farther than any individual human had ever traveled. The epic relay race that brought the cloves to modern-day Syria is lost to us now, but our knowledge of spice-trade routes from Roman times suggests the broad outlines of the itinerary. Outriggers or Chinese traders would have carried the cloves down through the Java Sea, winding their way through the narrow straits of Malacca. At port cities in Sumatra or modern-day Malaysia, they would have been sold to Indian traders who brought them across the Bay of Bengal around Sri Lanka to the Malabar coast of India. There Arab ships would have transported them up through the Persian Gulf, off-loading them to desert caravans whose camels would pull the cloves across modern-day Iraq to the kitchens of Babylon.
Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica by Nicholas Johnson
People walked through the lounge all afternoon, and we fed them Bailey’s and good coffee while we tested our robots on the table and Laz expounded on the merits of the gleaming red asses of baboons. In 1826, when Antarctica had been poked and prodded around the edges but was still thought to be a smattering of islands, John Cleves Symmes revealed his theory that there was a giant hole at the South Pole through which one could enter the earth and find balmy weather, abundant reindeer, lush gardens, and a race of humanoids eager to open a new trade route to the surface world. Symmes sought funds for an expedition to prove his theory, and enlisted charismatic disciple Jeremiah Reynolds to give lectures, which Symmes hoped would increase the public’s receptiveness to his theory, thereby eventually coaxing official support. Unfortunately for Symmes, Reynolds fluttered away once boosted into the limelight. Reynolds had discovered that more people cheered, and more politicians sniffed about curiously, when he broadened the goals of the expedition.
QI: The Third Book of General Ignorance (Qi: Book of General Ignorance) by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson
Albert Einstein, British Empire, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, dark matter, double helix, epigenetics, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, music of the spheres, out of africa, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route
It was his reports of this strange coast that inspired Leif Eriksson’s expedition. By the middle of the eleventh century the Viking age was over. As Scandinavia adopted Christianity and settled into the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, raiding tailed off. The lucrative trade with the Islamic world had fallen sharply as a result of the rise of the Khazar Empire, which occupied the land between the Black and Caspian seas, cutting off Viking trade routes to Byzantium and Baghdad. But Viking culture didn’t disappear overnight. The Normans were a Viking colony in northern France (the Bayeux tapestry clearly shows they invaded Britain in ‘Viking’ ships). And the king of Norway colonised Scotland until the mid-thirteenth century – and the Western Isles until 1469. The Vikings gave us the English words anger, birth, cake, dirt, freckles, hell, ugly, weak, husband, wife, skill, skull and slaughter.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration
Over the period between 1780 and 1850, life expectancies at age 10 declined in the United States from a high of almost 56 years to a low of 48, and mean heights dropped from 5 feet 7 inches for white men to 5 feet 6 inches. These factors suggest that in the short run, market revolution changes could be detrimental. Historians have suggested that inequality of distribution, variable trade cycles, urbanization, and the ease with which diseases could travel along new trade routes may have been to blame.11 In his book Democracy in America, written after an 1831 tour of the United States, the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville praised American social and economic mobility.12 Of course the second quarter of the nineteenth century saw the making of many fortunes in diverse industries. The Astor family made a fortune through fur-trading, shipping, and real estate speculation; the Lowells and Lawrences erected textile factories in New England.
Industry 4.0: The Industrial Internet of Things by Alasdair Gilchrist
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, business intelligence, business process, chief data officer, cloud computing, connected car, cyber-physical system, deindustrialization, fault tolerance, global value chain, Google Glasses, hiring and firing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, inventory management, job automation, low skilled workers, millennium bug, pattern recognition, platform as a service, pre–internet, race to the bottom, RFID, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, smart transportation, software as a service, stealth mode startup, supply-chain management, trade route, web application, WebRTC, WebSocket, Y2K
Should it detect the drivers are sleepy, it will alert them using audio alarms and seat vibrations. Another possible use-case is in supply chain management where the predictive analysis techniques of Big Data can come into play. The world’s largest logistic companies need to know the latest current events on a global scale, such as the political climate as well as the local weather conditions that affect traditional trade routes. They need to know of impending strike action by traffic controllers or crane drivers in a shipping port, as these could cause massive disruption and have a knock-on effect to a customer’s stock inventory levels. However, with trucks and goods bristling with sensors, it is now possible Industry 4.0 to harvest this data on a global level. When combined with data on current affairs, natural disaster, socioeconomic unrest, and similar threats to traditional trade lanes.
When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence by Stephen D. King
Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, congestion charging, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, endowment effect, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, loss aversion, market clearing, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, price mechanism, price stability, quantitative easing, railway mania, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working-age population
In 1347, the Black Death, a noxious mix of bubonic, septicaemic and pulmonary plague, spread by fleas living on black rats or travelling through the air, arrived in Europe. The first symptom of the Black Death was the appearance of a bubo – a boil – in either the armpit or the groin, followed by internal bleeding that led to bruising on the skin. After a few days of terrible pain and suffering, the unlucky victim would drop dead. The Black Death probably arrived in Europe via the Silk Road, the trading route that connected China to modern-day Turkey and Syria. It didn’t help that corpses of plague victims were catapulted into castles during sieges, a sure way of spreading disease with unseemly haste. The Black Death travelled across Europe at tremendous speed and, by the end of 1348, had arrived in England. Thanks to poor sanitation and overcrowding, townsfolk were affected far more than those living in the countryside.
Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff
3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar
By reducing human beings to mere cogs in a machine, we created the conditions to worship growth over all other economic virtues. We must reckon with how and why we did this. MASS MASS MASS For a happy couple of centuries before industrialism and the modern era, the business landscape looked something like Burning Man, the famous desert festival for digital artisans. The military campaigns of the Crusades had opened new trade routes throughout Europe and beyond. So