511 results back to index
The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World―and Globalization Began by Valerie Hansen
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, British Empire, financial innovation, Google Earth, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, polynesian navigation, seigniorage, South China Sea, trade route, transatlantic slave trade
Abbasid empire, 16 Central Asian rulers and, 144, 146, 151 ceramics in, 183 Chinese trade with, 183 Egypt’s break from, 126–27, 129 geographic information for expansion of, 123–24 Mongol invasion and end of, 127 Muslim commonwealth and, 127–28 slave rebellions under, 118 spread of Islam under, 96, 126 unification of territory during, 9–10 Abaoji, 156–57, 168, 212 Adam of Bremen, 39–40, 49, 50, 84–85 Afghanistan, 151, 189 Islam in, 144, 150, 152, 153 slaves from, 119, 121 trade pathways in, 86, 161 Africa Almoravids’ triangular trade route in, 134–35 bead trade in, 113, 133 Cairo and trade routes across, 128 caravans across, 121, 122, 128, 132, 135, 136, 138, 140, 142 China’s trade and, 199, 225, 226, 228 crops traded by, 134 crucial role of Africans in trade and, 114 da Gama’s exploration of, 227–28 gold trade and, 114, 115, 117, 130–32, 133, 134, 135, 136–39, 141, 172 Indian Ocean trade and, 135 Jenne-jeno example of local benefits of trade in, 14–16, 133 metal goods and trade routes across, 133 Portuguese exploration of, 139–41, 142, 225, 226, 227 slaves from, 114–16, 118, 119–21, 147, 172, 203, 231 spread of Islam in, 126 system of pathways connecting outside world to, 141 trade between Europe and, 135–36 trade routes in, 112 (map), 228 trade with Islamic world and Islamicization of, 113–14 voyages to Yucatan Peninsula by, 59–60 al-Bakri, 123, 125, 130–33, 135–36, 137 al-Biruni, 17–18, 147–49, 150, 152, 153, 154, 161 al-Dukkali, 138 Alexander the Great, 19 Alexandria, Egypt, 104–5, 129–30 Alexios I, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, 108 Algonquian peoples, 36, 38, 61 al-Hakim, 128–29 al-Idrisi, 18, 91 al-Marwazi, 160, 161 al-Masudi, 136–37 Almoravid dynasty, 134–35, 137 aloeswood, 196, 199–200, 201, 213, 214, 217, 220, 223 Alptegin, 150 al-Warraq, 123 al-Zawawi, 138–39 Amalfi, Italy, merchants, 130, 234 amber trade, 160 Americas ball games in, 53–55 climate change and, 70 Greenland, contacts with, 46–47 hide-covered canoes in, 28 indigenous peoples in, during period of Norse voyages, 35–36 Leif Erikson’s voyage to, 27–28, 81 map (1590) of, 50–51 Norse decision to abandon settlements in, 47, 50 Norse presence in, 57 Norse voyages to, 27–28, 51–52, 81 pathway networks in, 78–79 Spanish explorers in, 55, 59, 77–79, 228–29 Squanto and the Pilgrims in, 229–30 trade between Scandinavia and, 46, 47, 52 trading centers of, 54 (map) Viking exploration of, 26 (map), 27 Vinland sagas’ information on, 35 Amerindians.
It demonstrated the feasibility of conducting trade from a coastal base to which Portuguese ships could sail directly, obtain the goods they desired, and return home. After the Portuguese established El Mina, African entrepreneurs moved existing trade routes in the interior to the coast so that traders could deliver gold and slaves to the Atlantic ports. This wasn’t the first time that Africans changed their trade routes: when, around 1000, Sijilmasa replaced Zuwila as a key node of trade in North Africa, the major trans-Saharan gold and slave trade route also shifted west. After da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, he was no longer pioneering a new maritime route. He joined the much frequented Persian Gulf–China maritime route connecting East African port cities with Indian Ocean ports. Once on that route, it was easy to find a pilot to guide his four ships across the Indian Ocean to the port of Calicut, famed for its spices.
The year 1000 marked the start of globalization. This is when trade routes took shape all around the world that allowed goods, technologies, religions, and people to leave home and go somewhere new. The resulting changes were so profound that they affected ordinary people, too. In the year 1000—or as close to it as archeologists can determine—Viking explorers left behind their home region of Scandinavia, crossed the North Atlantic, and arrived on the island of Newfoundland on the northeast coast of Canada, a region where no Europeans had traveled previously. (No one had crossed into the Americas since a wave of migrations from Siberia to the west coast of the Americas more than 10,000 years earlier.) The Vikings connected preexisting trade routes across the Americas with those of Europe, Asia, and Africa—a landmass we’ll refer to as Afro-Eurasia.
Origins: How Earth's History Shaped Human History by Lewis Dartnell
agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, clean water, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, Google Earth, Khyber Pass, Malacca Straits, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Pax Mongolica, peak oil, phenotype, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spice trade, supervolcano, trade route, transatlantic slave trade
Here these thrust faults frequently lie at the junction between low-lying barren deserts and high-rising inhospitable mountains or plateaus, and so trade routes often pass along these geological boundaries. Towns dotted along the way accommodate the travelling merchants, supported by the water springs at the foot of the mountains.43 But while tectonic movements can provide water sources in otherwise arid environments, these settlements are also vulnerable to destructive earthquakes with each new slip of the crust.44 In 1994 the small desert village of Sefidabeh in south-eastern Iran was utterly destroyed by an earthquake. The curious thing was that Sefidabeh is exceedingly remote: one of the few stops on a long trade route to the Indian Ocean, it’s the only settlement for 100 kilometres in any direction. And yet the earthquake seemed to target the village with uncanny precision.
The growth of the southerly branch, the East African Rift, set the stage for our evolution as a species, while the deeper fracture to the north-west tore off the Arabian Peninsula as a shard from Africa, with water pooling into this 2,000-kilometre-long crack to create the Red Sea.* The major east–west Eurasian maritime trade routes and crucial straits. The Arabian Peninsula remains hanging off Africa by only a narrow sinew of land in the north–the Sinai Desert–and as the Red Sea has widened the Arabian block has swung east to slam into the southern edge of the Eurasian plate. This folded up the Zagros Mountains in Iran, and along the foot of this range, where the crust has been depressed down into a wedge-shaped foreland basin, the Indian Ocean washed in to create the Persian Gulf. The earliest trade routes from the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf to India hugged the coastline. But by around 100 BC24 the merchants of Ptolemaic Egypt had discovered how to use the south-westerly monsoon winds in summer to sail from Bab-el-Mandeb directly across the Indian Ocean to the west coast of India in just a few weeks,25 returning in winter when the monsoon winds reversed direction.
Exploiting this feature of the planet’s atmospheric patterns–to which we’ll return in Chapter 8–led to a surge in maritime commerce across Eurasia.26 But by the end of the seventh century AD, the Islamic conquests across Arabia, North Africa and south-western Asia had closed the gates of Bab-el-Mandeb to European sailors. For centuries the dhows and caravans of Muslim merchants now dominated the three great east–west trade routes across Asia: the maritime passages from the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf across the Indian Ocean, and the Silk Road through Central Asia.27 This is the world of Sinbad the Sailor in One Thousand and One Nights, who loaded up with trade goods in Baghdad and set sail from Basra down the Persian Gulf on his seven adventurous voyages. Prior to the rise of Islamic supremacy over these trade routes, India had been well known to Greek and Roman geographers like Strabo and Ptolemy, but after the blocking of the Red Sea passage knowledge of its location faded into the obscurity of myths.28 It would be the best part of another millennium before Europeans once again sailed into the Indian Ocean, as we’ll see in Chapter 8.
The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean by David Abulafia
agricultural Revolution, British Empire, colonial rule, David Attenborough, Eratosthenes, ghettoisation, joint-stock company, long peace, mass immigration, out of africa, spice trade, trade route, wikimedia commons, Yom Kippur War
Its rulers were often embroiled in faction-fighting, but the dynasty managed to survive for two more centuries, supported by the prosperity Cyprus derived from its intensive trade with neighbouring lands.7 Massive communities of foreign merchants visited and settled: Famagusta was the base for merchants from Venice, Genoa, Barcelona, Ancona, Narbonne, Messina, Montpellier, Marseilles and elsewhere; its ruined Gothic churches still testify to the wealth its merchants accumulated.8 From Cyprus, trade routes extended to another Christian kingdom, Cilician Armenia, on the south-east coast of modern Turkey. Western merchants supplied wheat to Armenia by way of Cyprus, and they used Armenia as a gateway to exotic and arduous trade routes that took them away from the Mediterranean, to the silk markets of Persian Tabriz and beyond. Cyprus enjoyed close links to Beirut, where Syrian Christian merchants acted as agents of businessmen from Ancona and Venice, furnishing them with massive quantities of raw cotton for processing into cloth in Italy and even in Germany, a clear sign that a single economic system was emerging in the Mediterranean, crossing the boundaries between Christendom and Islam.
Links between the Nile and the Red Sea remained open, with interruptions, until the early Arab period. The aims, however, were quite limited: ‘Amr ibn al- ‘As, the Arab conqueror of Egypt, used the canal system to convey Egyptian wheat to Mecca.4 The idea that a canal might link the trade routes of the Mediterranean with those of the Indian Ocean was not seriously broached before the nineteenth century, for good reason: Egypt was to all intents the Nile waterway, and a parallel waterway through the desert would deprive its rulers of the tax revenues on which the Ptolemies, Fatimids and Mamluks had depended so heavily. There were other ideas about how to create a trade route linking the two seas. In the 1820s the young English entrepreneur Thomas Waghorn noticed the long delays incurred when sending mail from India to England, and saw the potential of a route from Bombay to Suez, which could also carry those passengers who were willing to endure the heat and discomfort of a journey by carriage across the desert from the Red Sea to the Nile.
Copper was to be found on the island of Kythnos in the westernmost Cyclades, or in Attika on the Greek mainland. Early metallurgists had learned they could strengthen the relatively soft metal copper by alloying it with tin. Bringing together the ingredients of bronze and establishing a system of exchanges meant that the network of connections across the Aegean developed into what can at last be described as trade routes: links established regularly according to the seasons, from one year to the next, for the purpose of exchange, in which the intermediaries travelled by boat, though it would be going too far to assume that they were professional merchants who lived entirely from the proceeds of trade. In consequence the Mediterranean was coming alive, criss-crossed by people of varied origins, in search of or anxious to dispose of goods that were of equally varied origins.
The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan
access to a mobile phone, Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, Columbian Exchange, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, drone strike, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, financial innovation, Isaac Newton, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, New Urbanism, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, South China Sea, spice trade, statistical model, Stuxnet, the built environment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment, wealth creators, WikiLeaks, yield management, Yom Kippur War
This was where critical decisions were taken in the battle for the soul of Islam.52 The Muslims had taken over a world that was well ordered and studded with hundreds of cities of consumers – taxable citizens, in other words. As each fell into the hands of the caliphate, more resources and assets came under the control of the centre. Trade routes, oases, cities and natural resources were targeted and subsumed. Ports that connected trade between the Persian Gulf and China were annexed, as were the trans-Saharan trade routes that had built up, allowing Fez (in modern Morocco) to become ‘immensely prosperous’ and home to trade that in the words of one contemporary observer produced ‘huge profits’. The subjugation of new regions and peoples brought astonishing sums of money into the Muslim empire: one Arab historian estimated that the conquest of Sindh (in what is now Pakistan) yielded 60 million dirhams, to say nothing of the future riches to be drawn from taxes, levies and other duties.53 In today’s terms, this was worth billions of dollars.
The decades that followed Alexander’s death saw a gradual and unmistakable programme of Hellenisation, as ideas, themes and symbols from ancient Greece were introduced to the east. The descendants of his generals remembered their Greek roots and actively emphasised them, for example on the coinage struck in the mints of the major towns that were located in strategically important points along the trade routes or in agriculturally vibrant centres. The form of these coins became standardised: an image of the current ruler on the obverse with ringlets held by a diadem, and invariably looking to the right as Alexander had done, with an image of Apollo on the reverse, identified by Greek letters.23 The Greek language could be heard – and seen – all over Central Asia and the Indus valley. At Ai Khanoum in northern Afghanistan – a new city founded by Seleucus – maxims from Delphi were carved on to a monument, including: As a child, be well-behaved.
It sets out a series of mutual obligations, explaining clearly at what point the goods were to be considered in the hands of the owner or the shipper and outlining the sanctions if payment was not effected on the specific date.87 Long-distance business required rigour and sophistication. Roman merchants did not only pay with coins, however. They also traded finely worked glass, silver and gold, as well as coral and topaz from the Red Sea and frankincense from Arabia in exchange for textiles, spices and dyes like indigo.88 Whatever form it took, the outflow of capital on this scale had far-reaching consequences. One was a strengthening of local economies along the trade routes. Villages turned into towns and towns turned into cities as business flourished and communication and commercial networks extended and became ever more connected. Increasingly impressive architectural monuments were erected in places like Palmyra, on the edge of the Syrian desert, which did well as a trading centre linking east with west. Not for nothing has Palmyra been called the Venice of the sands.89 Cities on the north–south axis likewise were transformed, with the most dazzling example at Petra, which became one of the wonders of antiquity thanks to its position on the route between the cities of Arabia and the Mediterranean.
Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James C. Scott
agricultural Revolution, clean water, David Graeber, demographic dividend, demographic transition, deskilling, facts on the ground, invention of writing, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, means of production, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route
The emphasis on raiding in most histories is understandable in view of the terror it evoked among elites of the threatened states who, after all, provide us with the written sources. This perspective overlooks the centrality of trade and the degree to which raiding was often a means rather than an end in itself. Christopher Beckwith’s emphasis on trade routes is illuminating: Chinese, Greek and Arab historical sources agree that the steppe peoples were above all interested in trade. The careful manner in which Central Eurasians generally undertook their conquests is revealing. They attempted to avoid conflict and tried to get cities to submit peacefully. Only when they resisted, or rebelled, was retribution necessary. . . . The Central Eurasians’ conquests were designed to acquire trade routes or trading cities. But the reason for the acquisition was to secure occupied territory that could be taxed in order to pay for the rulers’ socio-political infrastructure. If all this sounds exactly like what sedentary peripheral states were doing, that is because it was indeed the same thing.37 The early agrarian states and the barbarian polities had broadly similar aims; both sought to dominate the grain-and-manpower core with its surplus.
As trade developed later during the second millennium BCE, strategic chokepoints on overland and riverine trade routes—places without a rural hinterland—could serve as places of state making. Much later, with the sea transport of bulk commodities, state building at privileged nodes of trade (Venice, Genoa, Amsterdam) might give birth to maritime states receiving much of their food supply by waterborne transport from considerable distances. 12. Owen Lattimore, “The Frontier in History,” 475. 13. The copper and tin would have been semiprocessed, as the alluvium lacked the high-quality fuel required to smelt. 14. The obvious exceptions would be the natural “chokepoints” on overland trade routes, such as mountain passes and fords and desert oases. The Straits of Melaka, an important node of state formation in Southeast Asia, is a classic example of both water transport routes and a chokepoint, in this case commanding the early India-China maritime trade route. 15.
.”; Bell, “The Dark Ages in Ancient History,” 75. 40. McNeill, Plagues and People, 58–71. David Wengrow (personal communication) believes that the contact via trade and exchange throughout the area would have worked against the isolation of populations that makes possible epidemics among immunologically “naïve” populations. While this is surely true for the major population centers and the trade routes between them, it may be less true for nonstate peoples off the major trade routes and living in populations small enough that many of the common infectious diseases would not have become endemic. McNeill’s conjecture remains just that and awaits further investigation. 7. THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE BARBARIANS 1. By “taxation” I mean any more or less regular charge on the production, labor, or revenue of subjects. In early states, “taxes” are likely to take the form of levies in kind (for example, from the harvest of cultivators) or the form of labor (corvée). 2.
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, creative destruction, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, endogenous growth, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, guest worker program, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Lao Tzu, life extension, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, microcredit, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, open borders, out of africa, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, Richard Florida, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spice trade, trade route, transaction costs, 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.
The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World by Ruchir Sharma
Asian financial crisis, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business climate, business cycle, 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, creative destruction, 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, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, lateral thinking, liberal capitalism, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, 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, Paul Samuelson, 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 Future of Employment, 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.
Seapower States: Maritime Culture, Continental Empires and the Conflict That Made the Modern World by Andrew Lambert
British Empire, different worldview, Donald Trump, joint-stock company, Malacca Straits, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, open economy, rising living standards, South China Sea, spice trade, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, UNCLOS
For the first time the protection of the mercantile marine came to be regarded almost as the chief end for which the regular navy existed, and the whole of naval strategy underwent a profound modification in English thought . . . We forget that so soon as the mercantile marine became a recognised burden on the navy, the main lines of commerce became also the main lines of naval strategy, and the crossing of the trade routes its focal points. This, although strategists, for the purposes of commending their views to the public and Treasury, naturally write in terms of commerce, we must never forget that what they were really aiming at was the command of the sea by the domination of the great trade routes and the acquisition of focal points as naval stations.14 There would be no going back: henceforth the City of London would expect naval protection, whoever sat on the throne. The navy served the City, and the City provided the necessary funds. The new strategic focus on commerce and sea control was represented by a new iconic ship, one that spoke of military might and a ruthless determination to dominate.
• They have oligarchic/progressive politics, and are culturally advanced and outward-looking. • They give the commercial classes a significant share in political power. • They prioritise naval over military power. • They enact legislation to create, secure or improve the maritime and naval resource base – be it ships, seamen, raw materials or trade routes. • They are active in suppressing piracy – which is both a hindrance to trade and the cause of higher insurance rates. • They depend on core trade routes, for which they are prepared to fight. • They use naval power to protect trade, convoying merchant shipping. • They are open to trade with other nations – but use economic measures to crush dangerous rivals. • They secure a limited portfolio of overseas bases, either as imperial outposts or through alliances, which provide critical logistics and strategic facilities for naval forces.
The need to protect this trade against rival economic actors, states or pirates, prompted a militarisation of maritime activity – using ships as fighting platforms or amphibious transports for overseas raids like the Trojan War. The first strategic commodity to be traded was timber. Both Egypt and Mesopotamia needed large, strong timbers for shipbuilding and temple projects, timbers that indigenous tree species could not supply. Not only did they import timber, but they fought for control of the cedar and resinous forests in the Lebanese mountains. The first maritime trade routes carried Lebanese timber south to Egypt, or north to the port of Byblos and then over the mountains to Mesopotamia. Economic need breached the cultural isolationism of these static riverine societies. The expansion of long-distance sea trade to include strategic metals began the process of creating Mediterranean civilisation, a cultural space defined by the sea.2 Although the sea was marginal to the great river-based civilisations, their reliance on imported resources generated maritime trade.
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.
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, Kickstarter, 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.)
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.
Nepal Travel Guide by Lonely Planet
call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, land reform, load shedding, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, traffic fines
Everest Region Astounding high mountain scenery and cosy Sherpa lodges, but try to visit outside of October (Click here) Annapurna Circuit Nepal’s most popular trek has lots of variety, passing Tibetan-style villages, fabulous mountain views and a challenging 5500m pass (Click here) Langtang Quieter trails, alpine valleys and lots of route combinations make this a good low-key option (Click here) Annapurna Sanctuary A straight shot past Gurung villages and bamboo groves into an incredible amphitheatre of frozen Himalayan peaks (Click here) Villages & Day Hikes Nepal’s ridges and valleys are laced with a network of footpaths travelled for centuries by traders and holy men. Bring your daypack to the following for a fine taste of rural Nepali life. Tansen Wander ancient trade routes, visit a potters’ village or explore the eerie ruins of a riverside palace, once the home of an exiled politician (Click here) Jomsom Plane and now minibus connections mean you can use this hub as a base to visit fabulous nearby Himalayan villages like Kagbeni and Marpha (see the boxed text on Click here) Bandipur Base yourself in comfortable digs at this charming medieval village and day hike out to temples, viewpoints and caves (Click here) Pokhara There are loads of options here, from a day’s stroll around Phewa Tal to cardio hikes up to Sarangkot or the Peace Pagoda, all offering superb views (Click here) Porter team ascending a ridge in the Annapurna Range (Click here) GARRY WEARE/LONELY PLANET IMAGES © Wildlife Watching Nepal’s subtropical plains hide an array of wildlife worthy of the The Jungle Book.
Best Places to Eat Or2K (Click here) Third Eye (Click here) K-Too Steakhouse (Click here) Delices de France (Click here) Kaiser Cafe (Click here) Best Places to Stay Hotel Ganesh Himal (Click here) Dwarika’s (Click here) Kantipur Temple House (Click here) International Guest House (Click here) Hotel Tibet (Click here) Kathmandu Highlights Follow our walking tour through the labyrinthine backstreets of the old town (Click here), bursting with hidden courtyards and little-known temples Soak up the amazing architectural monuments of Durbar Square (Click here), an artistic and architectural tradition that rivals the great cities of Europe Dine on momos (dumplings) and wild boar to the beat of madal (drums) and bansari (flutes) at one of the city’s superb Newari restaurants (see the boxed text, Click here) Ensure the enduring love of friends and family by snapping up the bargains in Thamel’s excellent shops (Click here) Chill out in one of Thamel’s rooftop garden restaurants (Click here) with a good book, a pot of masala tea and a slice of chocolate cake Take a day trip to the nearby Unesco World Heritage Site of Swayambhunath (Click here) Escape the traffic in the peaceful and beautifully restored Rana-era Garden of Dreams (see the boxed text, Click here) History The history of Kathmandu is really a history of the Newars, the main inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. While the documented history of the valley goes back to the Kiratis, around the 7th century BC, the foundation of Kathmandu itself dates from the 12th century AD, during the time of the Malla dynasty. The original settlements of Yambu and Yangala, at the confluence of the Bagmati and Vishnumati Rivers in what is now the southern half of the old town, grew up around the trade route to Tibet. Traders and pilgrims stayed at rest houses such as the Kasthamandap, which later lent its name to the city. Originally known as Kantipur, the city flourished during the Malla era, and the bulk of its superb temples, buildings and other monuments date from this time. Initially, Kathmandu was an independent city within the valley, but in the 14th century the valley was united under the rule of the Malla king of Bhaktapur.
South of Durbar Square Easily the best way to explore this part of town is on our walking tour (opposite). Bhimsen Temple BUDDHIST TEMPLE Offline map Google map The Newari deity Bhimsen is said to watch over traders and artisans, so it’s quite appropriate that the ground floor of this well-kept temple should be devoted to shop stalls. An image of Bhimsen used to be carried to Lhasa in Tibet every 12 years to protect those vital trade routes, until the route was closed by the flight of the Dalai Lama in 1959. Tourists are not allowed inside the temple, which is fronted by a brass lion on a pedestal, ducking under the electric wires. Start Durbar Sq Finish Durbar Sq Distance 2km Duration one hour Walking Tour South from Durbar Square Starting from the Kasthamandap in the southwestern corner of Durbar Sq, fork right at the Singh Sattal, and follow the road past a Shiva temple with a finely carved pilgrim shelter.
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.
The Atlas of Disease by Sandra Hempel
Spreading from the subcontinent The disease first emerged from the Sundarbans forest of the Bay of Bengal, in the Ganges delta, where the bacterium Vibrio cholera had probably been mutating for millennia. The organism is found naturally in the environment in some coastal and brackish waters, where shellfish sometimes carry the infection. Only in the early 1800s, however, when the British were opening up new trade routes in India and moving troops across the subcontinent, did cholera begin to move out of its home territory, first across India and eventually across the world in a series of huge pandemics. In August 1817, the British government received a report of a ‘malignant disorder’ in the Sundarbans, killing twenty to thirty people a day. Over the following few weeks, ten thousand people died. From there, the disease spread across the country and then fanned out eastwards and westwards to Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Thailand, Burma, China and Japan.
Doctors in Russia, France and Britain began studying the disease as a matter of urgency and the Russian government offered a prize of twenty-five thousand roubles (more than fifty thousand pounds today) for the best essay on the subject. But finding answers proved to be a difficult business. With hindsight, it should have been obvious that cholera was contagious – that is, spread from person to person. It steadily followed the trade routes and appeared in new places only after the arrival of people from an infected area. Yet throughout most of the nineteenth century, there was huge debate about its mode of transmission. This was because of the way it killed large numbers of people very fast and broke out seemingly at random, striking dozens or even hundreds overnight and then disappearing, only to reappear a few days later in some apparently unconnected place miles away.
It began in AD 541 in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), before spreading east into Persia and west into southern Europe, eventually killing an estimated 33 to 40 per cent of the world’s population. While the plague’s progress after Constantinople is mapped, it is still unclear how the disease reached the city. The Byzantine historian Procopius, who witnessed the devastation, claimed plague came from Egypt, following the trade routes. More recent theories suggest it originated in sub-Saharan African, possibly Kenya, Uganda, and/or Zaire, before either moving into Egypt or taking a different route to the Byzantine capital. Other experts believe the source was from the region spanning what is now Russia and China, now generally agreed to be the source for the Black Death some eight hundred years later. Typically, when winter arrived in Constantinople, plague petered out, only to erupt again across the Byzantine Empire the following spring.
Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order by Bruno Maçães
active measures, Admiral Zheng, autonomous vehicles, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, cloud computing, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, different worldview, Donald Trump, energy security, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global supply chain, global value chain, industrial cluster, industrial robot, Internet of things, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, liberal world order, Malacca Straits, one-China policy, Pearl River Delta, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, trade liberalization, trade route, zero-sum game
Vladislav Surkov, a trusted advisor to President Putin, recently argued that Russia is a “Western-Eastern half-breed nation, with its double-headed statehood, hybrid mentality, intercontinental territory and bipolar history.” In fact Moscow is also looking south to the Middle East, hoping to acquire control over all the main regions of energy production, and to the north, as global warming transforms the Arctic into an important trade route linking Europe and Asia. Eurasia is becoming smaller, more integrated, the stage for intense rivalry and competition between different poles, each of them projecting influence outwards and creating new connections. Japan is financing and building infrastructure across the Indian Ocean, all the way to Djibouti, an initiative to which it has dedicated $250 billion. Iran will not rest until it is able to carve a land corridor to the Mediterranean, something it has been deprived of since the Sassanian Shahs 1,400 years ago.
Oil is the world’s most traded commodity and China the largest importer of crude oil, so the measure will flood international markets with yuan and create spillover effects in other product payments. Exporters such as Russia will likely support the move, as they share the same desire to break the dollar’s global dominance. * * * The Belt and Road represents the transformation of China from a regional into a global power. Announcing the initiative in two separate speeches in September and October 2013, President Xi Jinping appealed to the spirit of the ancient Silk Road, the maze of trade routes connecting major civilizations across Europe, Asia and Africa one or two thousand years ago. Referring to a world before European hegemony, the Silk Road could be held up as symbolizing a model of global politics based on cooperation and mutual learning. Less obviously, it contained the seeds of a return to a time when China was the center of the global economy and a technological powerhouse, holding the secrets of silk production and sharp-head, flat-rear high speed junks.
Standing on the stage of the main auditorium in Nazarbayev University, Xi added: “Today, as I stand here and look back at history, I can almost hear the camel bells echoing in the mountains and see the wisps of smoke rising from the desert, and this gives me a specially good feeling.” Significantly, Xi never describes the initiative he is announcing as a “new Silk Road.” That is because the initiative is wholly new—as the scholar Wang Yiwei puts it, China used a very Chinese concept and name “to demonstrate its intellectual property.”15 It is not a trade route but an economic belt: “We should take an innovative approach and jointly build an economic belt along the Silk Road,” Xi explained. In Beijing’s eyes a Belt is a space of deep economic integration. It may well depend on the development of the necessary transport integration, but it goes much beyond that. In the description presented in Astana, the Belt looks like an extremely ambitious trade agreement organized along five separate dimensions.
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, God and Mammon, ice-free Arctic, imperial preference, income inequality, intermodal, James Hargreaves, John Harrison: Longitude, Khyber Pass, low skilled workers, non-tariff barriers, Paul Samuelson, 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, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, working poor, zero-sum game
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.
Egypt Travel Guide by Lonely Planet
call centre, carbon footprint, Eratosthenes, friendly fire, G4S, haute cuisine, Khartoum Gordon, late fees, low cost airline, low cost carrier, spice trade, sustainable-tourism, Thales and the olive presses, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl
It is believed the ancient Egyptians maintained links with the oases throughout the Pharaonic era, and with the accession of a Libyan dynasty (22nd dynasty, 945-715 BC), focus increased on the oases and the caravan routes linking the Nile Valley with lands to the west. The oases enjoyed a period of great prosperity during Roman times, when new wells and improved irrigation led to the production of wheat and grapes for export to Rome. Garrisoned fortresses that protected the oases and trade routes can still be seen in the desert around Al-Kharga and Bahariya, and Roman-era temples and tombs lie scattered across all the oases. When the Romans withdrew from Egypt, the trade routes became a target for attacking nomadic tribes. Trade suffered, the oases went into gradual decline, and the population of settlements shrank. By medieval times, raids by nomads were severe enough to bring Mamluk garrisons to the oases. The fortified villages built to defend the population can still be seen in Dakhla (Al-Qasr, Balat) and Siwa (Shali).
Encouraged by the British, the Ottoman sultan sent an army that was trounced by the French, which put paid to any pretence that the French were in Egypt with the complicity of Constantinople. Despite these setbacks, the French still maintained rule. FOREIGN INVADERS The story of ancient Egypt is the story of Egypt’s relationships with its neighbours, for its wealth attracted some and its strategic location on the Mediterranean and Red Seas, and on the trade routes between Africa and Asia, attracted others. When it was strong, it controlled the gold of Nubia and the trade route across the Levant – not for nothing was the image of Ramses II crushing the Hittites at Kadesh splashed across so many temple walls. When it was weak, it caught the attention of the power of the moment. In 663 BC, the Assyrian leader Ashurbanipal sacked Thebes. A century later the Persians were in control of the Nile. In 331 BC, Alexander the Great moved against the Egyptians and incorporated them into his Hellenic empire.
One–Two Weeks Desert Escape Inspired by Lawrence of Arabia and The English Patient scenery, would-be desert rovers can get sand-happy in the amazing Western Desert. Begin with a bus from Cairo or Asyut to Al-Kharga Oasis, the southernmost oasis in the Western Desert loop. Spend a day here exploring the Al-Kharga Museum of Antiquities as well as the Graeco-Roman temples, tombs and other interesting traces of the trade routes that flourished here during the Roman Empire. From Al-Kharga, make your way northwest to Dakhla Oasis to see the fascinating hivelike, mud-walled settlements of Balat and Al-Qasr. Next, hop north to either Farafra Oasis or Bahariya Oasis, where you can make a two- or three-day camp in the stunning White Desert National Park. If you have closer to two weeks, then you can strike west across several hundred kilometres of open sands to Siwa Oasis.
The Future Is Asian by Parag Khanna
3D printing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Basel III, blockchain, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, colonial rule, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crony capitalism, currency peg, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, energy security, European colonialism, factory automation, failed state, falling living standards, family office, fixed income, flex fuel, gig economy, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, Parag Khanna, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Washington Consensus, working-age population, Yom Kippur War
Paper entered the Islamic domain after the Arab victory over the Tang in AD 751, after which imprisoned Chinese papermakers transmitted their skills to Muslim craftsmen in Baghdad and Damascus, then Egypt and Morocco, and eventually Spain and Italy. In each phase of Asian history, geopolitical competition for territory and trade routes expanded the reach and intensity of the whole system. Encounters between Arabs and Mongols pushed both each to explore new pathways (and allies), to subdue or evade each other, and to reach key markets. Already in the thirteenth century, the Mongols managed to link much of the world known at the time. For numerous Song Chinese and Southeast Asian maritime entrepôts, external trade was crucial to the survival of local economies. The Chola, Srivijaya, and Ming all jockeyed for control over Indian Ocean trade routes long before the arrival of European merchants. For most of history, then, Asians have been far more aroused by one another’s imperial ambitions, especially the expansionist Arabs, Mongols, Timurids, Qing and other powers.
Despite the region’s vast geographic and cultural diversity, Buddhism was the glue that held numerous Asian civilizations together. Bamiyan became a major center of Buddhist learning where monks nurtured a distinctive artistic style developed fusing Iranian, Indian, and Gandharan forms. Dunhuang in the Tarim basin, the site of stunning Buddhist grottoes chiseled into mountainsides, was the crossroads of several trade routes linking Mongolia and Tibet to Parthia and the Levant. As Han monks and merchants traveled the Silk Road in search of inspiration, they brought back Buddhist texts translated by Sogdians. Buddhism thus extended its reach through the Han Empire in a pincerlike movement from the west and south from India and Southeast Asia. By AD 155, the Han emperor Huan introduced Buddhist ceremonies into the imperial curriculum to complement Confucian teachings.
Though the Song never achieved the splendor of the Tang, their prosperity grew as they embraced a capitalist culture and the use of paper money. Indeed, the Song were the first Chinese dynasty to commercialize the “tribute system” that focused on gains from trade with secondary powers rather than heavy taxation of the populace. Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Pagan unified central and coastal Burma as well as the Malay Peninsula, strengthening overland trade routes that linked the Bay of Bengal via Yunnan to China. The Chola, Song, and Srivijaya all competed to control strategic maritime passageways such as the Strait of Malacca but also amplified the linkages between their external trade and internal economies. Meanwhile, on the other side of Eurasia, Europe had been stagnant for centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. In the eleventh century, the pope sought to reconcile with Byzantium to repulse the advancing Turks and reclaim the holy land of Palestine.
The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St Clair
barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, butterfly effect, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, Francisco Pizarro, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, gravity well, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, out of africa, Rana Plaza, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spinning jenny, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Works Progress Administration
One strip bore the incredibly helpful inscription: ‘A roll of silk from K’ang-fu in the kingdom of Jen-ch’eng; width two feet and two inches; length forty feet; weight twenty-five ounces; value six hundred and eighteen pieces of money.’ When the Song dynasty collapsed in 1127 a new workshop for making rich damask was founded with the specific aim of making silks that could be traded with Tibetan tribesmen in return for horses. Later, silk lent its name to the network of trade routes that spread across Central Asia: the Silk Roads. While the majority of these exchanges were animated by the spirit of commerce, others were motivated by fear.22 Gifts for Enemies The Xiongnu live in the desert and grow in the land which produces no food. [They] are abandoned by Heaven for being good-for-nothing. Discourse on Salt and Iron, 81 BC To those living in northern China in the centuries before and after AD 0, there were probably few things as terrifying as the Xiongnu.
During the day, his ponies’ feet would sink in the sand – it is a region best traversed by camel – as would those of his dog Dash, dressed in a custom Kashmiri fur coat to save him from freezing, but who eventually submitted to being borne along in a camel basket with a hole in the lid. On 18 December 1900, Stein came upon the remains of Dandan-Uiliq, abandoned in the late eighth century, and marked only by the sun-bleached tops of a few dead fruit trees in what was once an orchard. Seven years later, he saw some even more remarkable traces of the trade route that had once stitched the desert together. This time, however, the triumph of actual discovery belonged to someone else.2 While Stein scoured desert regions for archaeological treasure, Wang Yuanlu, a Taoist monk, was the lone guardian of a series of remarkable shrines. Known as the Mogao Caves or the Temples of the Thousand Buddhas, they were situated near Dunhuang, an oasis in north-west China, on the rim of the Gobi Desert.
The midrash, the commentary that runs alongside Hebrew Scriptures, contains a parable of sorts that involves the setting aside of some valuable silk by one man after another has promised to buy it. Although the buyer doesn’t come for his purchase for a long time, the seller keeps faith. ‘Thy word,’ he says when his customer does eventually arrive, ‘is stronger in my eyes than money.’17 Buddhism flourished in China in part because of the exchange of ideas facilitated by the trade routes, eventually becoming one of the country’s three major religions. Silk embedded itself deeply within the faith’s religious practices. Silks were used to wrap important relics and scriptures – a practice later borrowed by other beliefs, including Christianity. (Benedict Biscop, the English abbot of Wearmouth and Jarrow, made five trips to Rome in the mid-seventh century and he returned to his Northumbrian monasteries bearing books, relics and rich silks with which to wrap them.)
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.
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 Lessons of History by Will Durant, Ariel Durant
“Westward the course of empire takes its way,” wrote George Berkeley about 1730. Will it continue across the Pacific, exporting European and American industrial and commercial techniques to China, as formerly to Japan? Will Oriental fertility, working with the latest Occidental technology, bring the decline of the West? The development of the airplane will again alter the map of civilization. Trade routes will follow less and less the rivers and seas; men and goods will be flown more and more directly to their goal. Countries like England and France will lose the commercial advantage of abundant coast lines conveniently indented; countries like Russia, China, and Brazil, which were hampered by the excess of their land mass over their coasts, will cancel part of that handicap by taking to the air.
The outstanding personalities in these movements were effects, not causes; Agamemnon, Achilles, and Hector would never have been heard of had not the Greeks sought commercial control of the Dardanelles; economic ambition, not the face of Helen “fairer than the evening air clad in the beauty of a thousand stars,” launched a thousand ships on Ilium; those subtle Greeks knew how to cover naked economic truth with the fig leaf of a phrase. Unquestionably the economic interpretation illuminates much history. The money of the Delian Confederacy built the Parthenon; the treasury of Cleopatra’s Egypt revitalized the exhausted Italy of Augustus, gave Virgil an annuity and Horace a farm. The Crusades, like the wars of Rome with Persia, were attempts of the West to capture trade routes to the East; the discovery of America was a result of the failure of the Crusades. The banking house of the Medici financed the Florentine Renaissance; the trade and industry of Nuremberg made Dürer possible. The French Revolution came not because Voltaire wrote brilliant satires and Rousseau sentimental romances, but because the middle classes had risen to economic leadership, needed legislative freedom for their enterprise and trade, and itched for social acceptance and political power.
.), 61 Taine, Hippolyte Adolphe (1828–93), 72* Talleyrand-Périgord, Charles-Maurice de (1754–1838), 90 Taranto, Greek colony at, 29 Tatars, 83 taxation, 56, 59–63, 66, 92 Ten Commandments, 40, 44 Teutons, 26, 30 Thales of Miletus (fl. 600 B.C.), 29 Thirty Years’ War, 28, 45 Thrasymachus (fl. 5th century B.C.), 39, 93 Thucydides (471?–?400 B.C.), 73, 100 Tiberius, Emperor of Rome (r. 14–37), 84 Tours, battle of (732), 24, 83 Toynbee, Arnold J. (1889– ), 69* trade routes, 15, 16, 53, 92 Trajan, Emperor of Rome (r. 98–117), 69 Treitschke, Heinrich von (1834–96), 26 Trichinopoly, 29 Trotsky, Leon (1877–1940), 66 Umbrians, 27 United States of America, 20, 21, 26, 30, 31, 42, 71, 100 industrial development, 16, 39, 40 agriculture and food supply, 22 morals and religion, 39, 40, 48, 50, 51, 96 concentration of wealth in, 55, 57 democracy in, 68, 76, 79, 91, 94, 96, 99 and Western civilization, 83, 84, 85, 91, 94, 97 Vandals, 27 Varangians, 28 Venice, 16, 92 Vico, Giovanni Battista (1668–1744), 88 Vinci, Leonardo da, see LEONARDO DA VINCI Virgil (70–19 B.C.), 53, 87 Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet; 1694–1778), 23, 40, 49, 53, 77, 92, 100, 101 Wagner, Richard (1813–83), 26 Wang An-shih (premier 1068–85), 62–63 Wang Mang, Emperor of China (r. 923), 62 war, 18–22 passim, 55, 60, 61, 66, 70, 76, 77, 79, 81–86, 93 air power in, 16 and morals and religion, 23, 24, 39, 40, 42, 44, 47, 49 causes of, 53, 81, 82 and science, 82, 95 Watt, James (1736–1819), 41 wealth, concentration of, 55–58, 70, 72, 77, 92 West, the, 53, 67, 96, 100 decline of, 16 Western Europe, 29, 40, 45, 84 civilization of 28–30, 49, 83, 94, 97 U.
Money: Vintage Minis by Yuval Noah Harari
23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, British Empire, call centre, credit crunch, European colonialism, Flash crash, greed is good, job automation, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, lifelogging, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, self-driving car, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game
A Growing Pie THEN CAME THE Scientific Revolution and the idea of progress. The idea of progress is built on the notion that if we admit our ignorance and invest resources in research, things can improve. This idea was soon translated into economic terms. Whoever believes in progress believes that geographical discoveries, technological inventions and organisational developments can increase the sum total of human production, trade and wealth. New trade routes in the Atlantic could flourish without ruining old routes in the Indian Ocean. New goods could be produced without reducing the production of old ones. For instance, one could open a new bakery specialising in chocolate cakes and croissants without causing bakeries specialising in bread to go bust. Everybody would simply develop new tastes and eat more. I can be wealthy without your becoming poor; I can be obese without your dying of hunger.
The empires built by bankers and merchants in frock coats and top hats defeated the empires built by kings and noblemen in gold clothes and shining armour. The mercantile empires were simply much shrewder in financing their conquests. Nobody wants to pay taxes, but everyone is happy to invest. In 1484 Christopher Columbus approached the king of Portugal with the proposal that he finance a fleet that would sail westward to find a new trade route to East Asia. Such explorations were a very risky and costly business. A lot of money was needed in order to build ships, buy supplies, and pay sailors and soldiers – and there was no guarantee that the investment would yield a return. The king of Portugal declined. Like a present-day start-up entrepreneur, Columbus did not give up. He pitched his idea to other potential investors in Italy, France, England, and again in Portugal.
Mercenary armies and cannon-brandishing fleets cost a fortune, but the Dutch were able to finance their military expeditions more easily than the mighty Spanish Empire because they secured the trust of the burgeoning European financial system at a time when the Spanish king was carelessly eroding its trust in him. Financiers extended the Dutch enough credit to set up armies and fleets, and these armies and fleets gave the Dutch control of world trade routes, which in turn yielded handsome profits. The profits allowed the Dutch to repay the loans, which strengthened the trust of the financiers. Amsterdam was fast becoming not only one of the most important ports of Europe, but also the continent’s financial Mecca. HOW EXACTLY DID the Dutch win the trust of the financial system? Firstly, they were sticklers about repaying their loans on time and in full, making the extension of credit less risky for lenders.
Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World (Politics of Place) by Tim Marshall
9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, California gold rush, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Hans Island, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, market fragmentation, megacity, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, trade route, transcontinental railway, Transnistria, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, zero-sum game
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.
Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration by Kent E. Calder
3D printing, air freight, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, colonial rule, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, energy transition, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gini coefficient, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interest rate swap, intermodal, Internet of things, invention of movable type, inventory management, John Markoff, liberal world order, Malacca Straits, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, supply-chain management, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, trade route, transcontinental railway, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, union organizing, Washington Consensus, working-age population, zero-sum game
In response to China’s BRI, Japan’s Silk Road diplomacy has been growing more active, and more collaborative with Indian and US efforts, although Abe also proved conciliatory to BRI in his late 2018 dialogue with China, demonstrating once again the oscillating character of Japan’s Silk Road diplomacy. Turkey’s Middle Corridor Initiative Central geographical positioning, including control over important trade routes, has long been a concern of the Turks and their ancestors, although specific priorities and strategies have changed over the years. The Ottomans, for example, placed high priority during their early days on achieving exclusive control over land trade routes from Europe across Asia. The current Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan has regarded transcontinental trade routes as a geo-economic tool also. Domestic politics have also driven Turkish continental policies over the centuries. The Ottomans, by the late nineteenth century, had developed a geopolitical obsession with control of the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina.55 Such control was essential to legitimate the Ottoman sultan’s politically important claims as caliph, or Defender of the Faithful, as the empire itself was declining.
The importance of the classic Silk Road to the evolution of Chinese, Western, and Islamic civilizations is little known but difficult to overstate. The role of spices in Chinese cuisine, introduced from Persia during the Tang dynasty, was one concrete and enduring result of such confluence, as was the role of paper and gunpowder introduced from China into the West. Chinese pottery also graced both the Islamic world and the West. Religious concepts likewise flowed along the trade routes—Buddhism, Manichaeism, and Nestorian Christianity all traveled together with the silk. All this was largely achieved, however, through the power of markets, random military action, and interpersonal trading networks. There was only a limited role for political authority—and none at all for strategic decisions by the nation-state.14 For well over a thousand years the classic Silk Road was the principal conduit between East and West, linking the central poles of world civilization across Eurasia, the largest landmass on earth and a potential Super Continent.
The Caravanserai Project, initiated by Turkey, is working to coordinate customs clearance among the nations of this Middle Corridor, and numerous related infrastructure projects are also underway.63 Erdoǧan summarizes Turkey’s intentions this way: “This initiative, realized in a vast geography, means establishing a brand-new system interconnected in economic, political, social, and cultural areas.”64 In its efforts to reconnect Eurasia, Turkey’s approach is analogous, albeit in a smaller way, to China’s BRI—and also in tension with Russian aspirations to dominate transit routes across the Eurasian continent. China’s Belt and Road Initiative Few Chinese traversed the classic overland Silk Road beyond China’s frontiers, as we have noted. And China never— except under the Mongols— exerted powerful geopolitical sway over the transcontinental trade routes. China’s BRI, however, could be the vehicle for a variety of forms of influence over Eurasia—through “distributive globalism”—that China has never exerted before. No country is more centrally located within the populated core of Eurasia than China, encircled as it is by fourteen neighbors and the major economic centers of the region. Location gives it diverse options for transcontinental The Silk Road Syndrome 43 commerce, including Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Turkey, as well as Russia.
The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life by Robert Wright
"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, centre right, cognitive dissonance, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, fault tolerance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global village, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, invention of writing, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Marshall McLuhan, Norbert Wiener, planetary scale, pre–internet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, social web, Steven Pinker, talking drums, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, your tax dollars at work, zero-sum game
But, like the Muslims before them, the Mongols realized that, once the pillaging is over and you’ve got an empire to run, peace is a wonderful thing. They kept trade routes safe, and in return for thus lowering the communication and trust barriers, they exacted what has been compared to the modern value-added tax, at around 5 percent. This was a bargain. Compared to the series of power brokers through which Jewish and Muslim caravans previously passed, the Mongol thoroughfare offered “less risk and lower protective rent,” according to the social scientist Janet Abu-Lughod. By the end of the thirteenth century, with the Mongols having brought China into direct contact with Europe, there existed a “world system that . . . had made prosperity pandemic.” The Mongol Empire’s transcontinental highway, paired with seagoing trade routes to the south, thus carried Eurasia’s invisible brain, and its invisible hand, to new evolutionary heights.
Freedoms would wax and wane within city walls, and political struggles between the commercial and landed classes would go back and forth. But the good guys won in the end, and in the meantime the displays of inchoate capitalism’s might were impressive. Merchants in various German cities formed the Hanseatic League to subdue pirates, build lighthouses, and otherwise lubricate their livelihood. The league wound up defeating the king of Denmark in war and controlling maritime trade routes. In Italy, cities that had fast become city-states—complete with fighting among themselves—felt their freedoms threatened by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I. (One early clue: Frederick took an advocate of urban independence, burned him to death, and scattered his ashes in the Tiber River.) The cities put aside their differences, formed the Lombard League, and fought Frederick until he gave in: they would pay lip service to his supremacy but be free to govern themselves.
By Abu-Lughod’s reckoning, this is no coincidence, but rather a sign of interdependence. Mutual loss, after all, is the seamy underside of that bright promise of non-zero-sumness, mutual gain; stagnation, like prosperity, can become pandemic. The fourteenth-century downturn was accentuated by what may have been a more literal Eurasian pandemic. William McNeill has suggested that the bubonic plague began in the interior of China and moved over Mongol trade routes to the Black Sea and then finally, via Mediterranean shipping, spread across Europe. Whether or not the black death did move transcontinentally, it certainly could have, and there lies its value as a metaphor that captures a basic trend of history. As economic and social integration grow in depth and scope, the welfare—the health—of ever more distant peoples becomes correlated. The web of non-zero-sumness expands.
Egypt by Matthew Firestone
call centre, clean water, credit crunch, friendly fire, haute cuisine, Khartoum Gordon, Right to Buy, spice trade, sustainable-tourism, Thales and the olive presses, trade route, urban sprawl, young professional
* * * Favoured punishments employed by the Mamluks included al-tawsit, in which the victim was cut in half at the belly, and al-khazuq (impaling). * * * Return to beginning of chapter FOREIGN INVADERS The story of ancient Egypt is the story of Egypt’s relationships with its neighbours, for its wealth attracted some and its strategic location on the Mediterranean and Red Seas, and on the trade routes between Africa and Asia, attracted others. When it was strong, it controlled the gold of Nubia and the trade route across the Levant – not for nothing was the image of Ramses II crushing the Hittites at Kadesh splashed across so many temple walls. When it was weak, it caught the attention of the power of the moment. In 663 BC, the Assyrian leader Ashurbanipal sacked Thebes. A century later the Persians were in control of the Nile. In 331 BC, Alexander the Great moved against the Egyptians and incorporated them into his Hellenic empire.
From colossal statues to delicate jewellery, all were fashioned using simple tools and natural materials. Building stone was hewn by teams of labourers supplemented by prisoners, with granite obtained from Aswan, sandstone from Gebel Silsila, alabaster from Hatnub near Amarna and limestone from Tura near modern Cairo. Gold came from mines in the Eastern Desert and Nubia, and both copper and turquoise were mined in the Sinai. With such precious commodities being transported large distances, trade routes and border areas were patrolled by guards, police (known as medjay) and the army, when not out on campaign. Men also plied their trade as potters, carpenters, builders, metalworkers, jewellers, weavers, fishermen and butchers, with many of these professions handed down from father to son. (This is especially well portrayed in the tomb scenes of Rekhmire, Click here.) There were also itinerant workers such as barbers, dancers and midwives, and those employed for their skills as magicians.
Although they were based in Alexandria and looked out to the Mediterranean, the Ptolemies pushed their way south into Nubia, the land that straddled what is now the border between Egypt and Sudan. They ensured peaceful rule in Upper Egypt by erecting temples in honour of the local gods, building in grand Pharaonic style to appease the priesthood and earn the trust of the people. The riverside temples at Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Philae are as notable for their strategic locations, on ancient trade routes or key commercial centres, as for their artistic or architectural merit. Aswan’s history was always going to be different. However much the rulers in the north, whether Theban or Macedonian, may have wanted to ignore the south, they dared not neglect their southern border. Settlement on Elephantine Island, located in the middle of the Nile at Aswan, dates back to at least 3000 BC. Named Abu (Ivory) after the trade that flourished here, it was a natural fortress positioned just north of the First Nile Cataract, one of six sets of rapids that blocked the river between Aswan and Khartoum.
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 pandemic, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, 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, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uber lyft, undersea cable, 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.
Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History by Stephen D. King
9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, air freight, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bilateral investment treaty, bitcoin, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, income per capita, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, paradox of thrift, Peace of Westphalia, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Skype, South China Sea, special drawing rights, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
In 1880, the UK had the largest national income among the European Great Powers, enjoyed by far the highest per capita income among those powers, had by some margin the biggest share of world manufacturing output (eclipsing not only the UK’s European rivals, but also the US) and by far the most impressive collection of warships: 650,000 tons, compared with 271,000 for France, 200,000 for Russia, 169,000 for the US, 100,000 for Italy and a measly 88,000 for Germany.15 It was on the verge of creating the biggest empire – in terms of both land mass and population – the world had ever seen. Nor was its empire all ‘hard power’: it created legal systems, opened trading routes, established giant bureaucracies (notably in India), constructed rail networks and brought cricket to the masses. None of this, however, was enough to ensure the British Empire’s survival. As it crumbled, the world succumbed to a prolonged economic and social spasm. We may be on the verge of something similar today. 4 PRIDE AND THE FALL ON THE MARCH When the Berlin Wall came down, it was easy enough to believe that countries previously shackled to Soviet communism would choose the American way.
THE CHINESE VERSION At the other end of the Eurasian land mass, China’s first serious attempts at globalization came 1,500 years before Columbus discovered the Americas. Faced with constant demands for tribute from Xiongnu warriors to their west, the Han Chinese eventually decided to fight back, in the process discovering an agricultural bounty, a path through the Gansu corridor and, via the Pamir Mountains, the beginnings of a trade route that later became known as the Silk Road. The ebb and flow of both trade and power thereafter meant that the magnetic appeal of the Silk Road – and, later, its maritime equivalents – became a dominant part of the pre-New World global economy. In the thirteenth century, China capitulated to the Mongol hordes, who promptly set up camp in what became known as Beijing. By the early fifteenth century, the whole world was keen to get its hands on Chinese products, from the finest silks (which had been admired in the West from Roman times onwards) to the most delicate porcelain.
Only with a new-found confidence under Mao and, later, a new-found openness under Deng, did China begin to re-establish its poise of old: confidence in the destiny of its people, a willingness to connect, on its own terms, with the rest of the world, and an acute and enduring mistrust of Western power. THE OTTOMAN VERSION The Roman and Persian Empires were too busy sparring with each other over the relative merits of Christianity and Zoroastrianism to notice the arrival of a new religious, political and military movement in the seventh century. Yet, thanks largely to the rapid unification of often nomadic Arab tribes, and helped along by their deep knowledge of existing trade routes, Islam spread extraordinarily rapidly: under the Umayyad Caliphate, established only three decades after the Prophet Mohammad’s death, Islam reached through North Africa to the Iberian Peninsula and marched through the Middle East into India. For Arabs in particular, the Quran had both spiritual and practical attractions. Whereas existing religions had offered instruction only in alien languages – Aramaic, Latin, Persian – Islam’s language was Arabic: God, it turned out, was communicating with his followers in their own language.
Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World by Ian Bremmer
airport security, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, clean water, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, global rebalancing, global supply chain, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, Nixon shock, nuclear winter, Parag Khanna, 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.
Lonely Planet Panama (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Carolyn McCarthy
California gold rush, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, land tenure, low cost airline, Panamax, post-Panamax, Ronald Reagan, sustainable-tourism, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, women in the workforce
Although the Spanish settlement quickly became an important center of government and church authority, the city was ransacked and destroyed in 1671 by the English pirate Captian Henry Morgan, leaving only the stone ruins of Panamá Viejo. Three years later, the city was reestablished about 8km to the southwest in the area now known as Casco Viejo. Although the peninsular location was well defended, the Spanish overland trade route faded upon the destruction of the Caribbean port at Portobelo in 1746. Panama gained independence in 1821 and became part of Gran Colombia; a decade later the regional confederation dissolved and Panama belonged to Colombia. Panama City subsequently declined in importance, though it would return to prominence in the 1850s when the Panama Railroad was completed, and gold seekers on their way to California flooded across the isthmus by train.
RIDE THE PANAMA RAILROAD One of the best ways to fully appreciate the extent of the canal is to travel from Panama City to Colón along the historic Panama Railroad ( info 317-6070; www.panarail.com; one way adult/child US$25/US$15; departs from Panama City 7:15am, Colón 5:15pm daily) . The rails fell into disrepair during the Noriega regime, but in 1998 the Panama government partnered with Kansas City Southern, an American-based railway holding company, to create the Panama Canal Railway Company (PCRC). The joint venture sought to re-establish the Atlantic–Pacific rail link and create a profitable alternative to the Panama Canal trade route. In 2001 PCRC also introduced a passenger service with a fully operational vintage train. If you’re looking to relive the golden age of railway travel, the vintage train features exotic wood paneling and blinds, carpeted interiors, glass-domed cars and open-air viewing decks. The hour-long ride parallels the canal, sometimes traversing thick rainforest. While you’re sipping a hot cup of coffee and admiring Panama’s scenic interior, consider for a moment this cool train trivia: » Peaking at US$295 a share, the Panama Railroad was the highest-priced stock on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the mid-1800s. » With a total construction bill of US$8 million, it was, at the time, the most expensive railroad per kilometer ever built. » Despite being only 76km long, the Panama Railroad required 304 bridges and culverts. » During the first 12 years of its operations, the Panama Railroad carried over US$750 million in gold and silver, and collected 0.25% on each shipment. » In 1913 the railroad hauled 2,916,657 passengers and transported 2,026,852 tons of freight across the isthmus, which was the heaviest per-kilometer traffic of any railroad in the world. » An estimated 12,000 laborers died during its construction, mainly from malaria and yellow fever. » Disposing of the dead was such a problem that the Panama Railroad administration started pickling the bodies in barrels and selling them to medical schools, the proceeds of which were used to build a hospital in the Panama Canal Zone.
The secondary forests of the protected area are rich in bird life and there’s no shortage of mountainous trails and waterfall-fed ponds to discover. History Following the destruction of Nombre de Dios by Sir Francis Drake in 1573, the Spanish moved to fortify the Caribbean coast. Of principal concern was the Río Chagres, which flowed inland to the town of Venta de Cruces (near the modern town of Gamboa), and then linked up with the trade route leading to the city of Panamá. In 1595, by order of Phillip II of Spain, Fuerte San Lorenzo was built into the side of a steep cliff near the river mouth. Fuerte San Lorenzo, Portobelo and Panamá, the ‘three keys’ of the Americas, became known as the strategic hearts of the Spanish trade empire. Once established, Fuerte San Lorenzo was under constant pirate attack. In 1596, only one year after its completion, Drake seized San Lorenzo.
New World, Inc. by John Butman
Admiral Zheng, Atahualpa, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, commoditize, currency manipulation / currency intervention, diversified portfolio, Etonian, Francisco Pizarro, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, market design, Skype, spice trade, trade route, wikimedia commons
In a series of remarkable voyages of discovery in the early fifteenth century, a eunuch admiral, Zheng He, took his fleet of giant ocean-going treasure ships—four hundred feet long, with nine masts, nearly one hundred support vessels, and a crew of 28,000 sailors—to the Persian Gulf and the east coast of Africa.9 But these expeditions were abruptly halted in the 1430s when China turned inward, shunning the outside world. It remained the richest country on earth, however, with an extraordinary gravitational pull on the global economy. By 1500, China accounted for 25 percent of the world’s output of goods and services. England, by contrast, accounted for just 1.1 percent.10 Through the fifteenth century, a tangled web of trade routes connected Cathay to Europe, stretching five thousand miles across oceans, mountains, steppes, and deserts. Along these routes—which the German explorer Baron von Richtofen labeled the “Silk Road” in the 1870s—all manner of luxury goods were carried by ship, camel, and horse.11 By the time they reached Europe, their price could have risen by as much as 1000 percent, having been handled by many middlemen—factors, traders, government officials—who charged fees, exacted their portion, skimmed a percentage, imposed taxes and duties, and demanded bribes.12 For centuries, it was the Venetians who were the primary importers of Chinese, Indian, and other Asian goods into Europe, collecting them from Arab merchants who had overseen their transportation to the key markets of the eastern Mediterranean—Alexandria in Egypt and Aleppo in what is now Syria.
Along these routes—which the German explorer Baron von Richtofen labeled the “Silk Road” in the 1870s—all manner of luxury goods were carried by ship, camel, and horse.11 By the time they reached Europe, their price could have risen by as much as 1000 percent, having been handled by many middlemen—factors, traders, government officials—who charged fees, exacted their portion, skimmed a percentage, imposed taxes and duties, and demanded bribes.12 For centuries, it was the Venetians who were the primary importers of Chinese, Indian, and other Asian goods into Europe, collecting them from Arab merchants who had overseen their transportation to the key markets of the eastern Mediterranean—Alexandria in Egypt and Aleppo in what is now Syria. It was a highly profitable business, not least because the Venetians held an effective monopoly. And it was partly to break this Venetian stranglehold on the spice trade that the Portuguese launched a succession of voyages in search of a faster, cheaper trade route to the East. In 1498, after nearly a century of exploration, the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama rounded the southern tip of Africa—the Cape of Good Hope—sailed into the Indian Ocean, and reached Calicut, on India’s Malabar coast. This port was the great trading center of the East, a fabulous emporium, every bit the equal of Venice and Antwerp, where Indian, Arab, and Chinese merchants came to trade.
After dinner, the tsar impressed the Englishmen by greeting each of his guests by name and conversing with them.22 The reception of the English by the tsar was truly a momentous event. Not since the days of King Harold II—who was vanquished by William, Duke of Normandy, at the Battle of Hastings in 1066—had there been official contact between England and Russia. Back then, Harold’s daughter had been married off to the Grand Prince of Kiev.23 But Chancellor had arrived in Muscovy at an opportune moment of change. The Russians were expanding their empire by opening the trade route along the Volga River—which flowed from Moscow to the Caspian Sea—and tapping into the riches of Persia and the Silk Road to China. It had been thirty years since an ambassador from western Europe, representing the Habsburgs, had been seen at the Russian court. Now Ivan was looking for new trading partners. Chancellor’s unexpected arrival provided him with an opportunity to reestablish relations with the governments and traders of western Europe—and he seized it.24 After several weeks in Moscow, Chancellor was granted what he had come for: a trade agreement from the tsar for King Edward.
Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides's Trap by Graham Allison
9 dash line, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, game design, George Santayana, Haber-Bosch Process, industrial robot, Internet of things, Kenneth Rogoff, liberal world order, long peace, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, one-China policy, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spice trade, the rule of 72, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, UNCLOS, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game
In September 2013, Xi Jinping announced China’s intention to invest $1.4 trillion in building a “New Silk Road” of infrastructure to link sixty-five countries in Asia, Europe, and North Africa with a combined population of 4.4 billion people. Through the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”—collectively known as One Belt, One Road (OBOR)—China is constructing a network of highways, fast railroads, airports, ports, pipelines, power transmission lines, and fiber-optic cables across Eurasia. These modern physical links along what were once ancient Chinese trade routes will foster new diplomatic, trade, and financial ties. At this point, OBOR includes 900 projects at a cost exceeding $1.4 trillion. Even after adjusting for inflation, this amounts to 12 Marshall Plans, according to the investor and former IMF economist Stephen Jen.74 Largesse, economic imperialism—call it what you will. The fact is that China’s economic network is spreading across the globe, altering the international balance of power in a way that causes even longtime US allies in Asia to tilt from the US toward China.
They have also been chafing against Chinese claims of sovereignty in the East and South China Seas. In a crisis involving its historical rival Beijing, any steps Tokyo takes would certainly be shaped by these memories, and by the Japanese government’s shifting attitude toward military force. A likely flashpoint is the Senkaku Islands (known in China as the Diaoyu Islands), located near valuable fishing grounds, trade routes, and potential oil reserves in the East China Sea. The United States temporarily controlled the islands after World War II, but in the early 1970s returned them to Japan, which had claimed them since the nineteenth century. But in the 1970s, China also claimed sovereignty over the islands. Chinese ships regularly pass through these waters, raising tensions between Beijing and Tokyo and risking a collision that could set off a chain reaction.
The two most instructive cases of these good-news stories come from the twentieth century: the first when the United States deposed the United Kingdom as the leading global power; the second when an ascending Soviet Union threatened America’s position as the unipolar power. Together, they offer a rich set of clues for leaders seeking to make the rise of China a fifth case of no war. SPAIN VS. PORTUGAL Late fifteenth century For most of the fifteenth century, Portugal’s fleet ruled ocean trade routes, overshadowing its Iberian rival and neighbor, the Spanish kingdom of Castile. Portugal’s success reflected its historical development. In 1249, its people became the first Europeans to escape Muslim rule, creating a nation largely along Portugal’s modern-day borders. Then, in 1348, the Black Death killed one-third of the country’s population, leaving too few able-bodied workers to farm the rocky soil.1 Enterprising Portuguese turned to the Atlantic and in time became Europe’s most skilled and successful fishermen.
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, Nelson Mandela, new economy, out of africa, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, surplus humans, the market place, Thomas Malthus, trade route, 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, butter production in bangladesh, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, digital map, 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, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, obamacare, Occupy movement, packet switching, pension reform, prediction markets, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stuxnet, trade route, undersea cable, 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.
The Ages of Globalization by Jeffrey D. Sachs
Admiral Zheng, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, Columbian Exchange, Commentariolus, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, domestication of the camel, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, European colonialism, global supply chain, greed is good, income per capita, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, packet switching, Pax Mongolica, precision agriculture, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, South China Sea, spinning jenny, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons
The control of fire enabled early humans to move to colder biomes; the multisite invention of agriculture enabled dense human settlements in alluvial plains; the domesticated horse expanded the zones of agriculture; Columbus’s voyages of discovery ultimately led to massive European migrations to the Americas; the Suez and Panama canals deeply altered the costs and patterns of global trade and, with global warming, new trade routes in the Arctic Sea may do the same; the British mass production of quinine to control malaria enabled the European conquest of tropical Africa; the railroad opened up the interiors of continents for food production and trade. The economic importance of geography is therefore constantly reshaped by changing knowledge and technologies. We should keep in mind that the Earth’s physical geography is itself subject to long-term change, and indeed that humanity is dangerously changing the Earth’s physical geography in the twenty-first century.
Most dryland agriculture other than in the river valleys is based on animal herding in the wetter part of the drylands, called steppes or grasslands. The Eurasian steppes were home to the wild horse and were the original sites of horse domestication. Before the Industrial Age, the steppes were for millennia the vast east-west “highway” for horse-based transport and communication, known today as the Silk Road (a name given to these ancient trade routes in the nineteenth century). The cold zones have growing seasons that are too short and too cold to support high-yield crop production, other than some wheat-growing areas in the more hospitable parts of the cold zones, such as in Canada and Russia. As with the dry climates, population densities tend to be low. Other agriculture includes logging, trapping animals for furs, fishing, and reindeer herding.
China’s invention of gunpowder gave rise, centuries later, to the musket and other firearms that, in turn, decisively ended the advantages of the archers. The cannon artillery enabled by gunpowder helped to account for the spectacular successes of the Ottoman, Mongol, and Timurid empires. When the Atlantic powers, including the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and English, successfully added cannon power to their ocean vessels, they were able to dominate the Indian Ocean trade routes. Britain’s early industrialization tremendously spurred its military power, through a steam-powered navy, mass-produced firearms and heavy artillery, machine guns, logistics and transport supported by rail and telegraph, and in the early twentieth century, armored personnel carriers and tanks. The invention of powered flight in the first decade of the twentieth century led to bombardments by plane as early as 1912 in the first Balkan War, and then at a much greater scale in World War I.
Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen by James Suzman
access to a mobile phone, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, clean water, discovery of the americas, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, full employment, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, means of production, Occupy movement, open borders, out of africa, post-work, quantitative easing, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, trickle-down economics, unemployed young men, We are the 99%
They accused the Harvard Kalahari Research Group and other anthropologists of having failed to properly examine the Bushmen’s historical relationships with other peoples over time—most notably the many pastoralist peoples that had colonized parts of southern Africa during the first and second millennia. They cited archaeological and historical evidence that pointed to the possible long-term presence of livestock herders in some parts of the Kalahari as well as the existence of nineteenth-century trade routes through areas that had been assumed to be completely isolated until the mid-twentieth century. These criticisms cooled enthusiasm for the romantic version of primitive affluence that blossomed in popular culture. But like the popularizers, the critics of primitive affluence radically overstated their case in what soon became referred to as the “Great Kalahari Debate.” They imputed links where none existed and—according to Richard B.
There is also little doubt that during wet seasons the inhabitants of the Brandberg would have ranged as far as the sea, using the riverbed as a road, to hunt seals and marvel at the infinity of the ocean. So while there is no record of Cão’s crew seeing any indigenous people, it is possible that Cão and his crew were seen by them. It was Cão’s friend and rival Bartolomeu Dias who would make the first documented contact between Europeans and southern Africa’s indigenous people. Charged by King João II of Portugal to follow in Cão’s wake, find a sea trade route to India, and establish the truth of the legend of Prester John, Dias embarked for the southern Atlantic in August 1487. He made good progress and after several months pushed farther south than Cão’s padrão at Cape Cross. Dias’s fleet rounded the Cape of Good Hope in January 1488. But he was too far out to sea to spot the natural harbor that lay under the majestic slopes of Table Mountain. It was only after the fleet bore northeast again that they made landfall.
The expansion of white settlements in the Cape and, later, across South Africa, set off successive waves of migration into areas that previously were considered too marginal and unproductive to bother with. During this period of upheaval, Tswana-speaking herders from the east pushed deeper into the Kalahari, as did Herero and Mbanderu from the west. At around the same time, the first white hunters and explorers arrived in the Kalahari hoping to make their fortunes from ivory and ostrich feathers. They followed a series of narrow trade routes along which their booty flowed west from the Kalahari to the coast and European goods like muskets, ironware, and textiles flowed from the coast into the interior. But their activities were contained by the Ju/’hoansi. James Chapman, a white hunter and explorer whose legacy still looms large over the Kalahari, remarked in 1851 that “the inhabitants of these parts are a much finer race of Bushmen” than others his men had encountered.
Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms & a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester
British Empire, cable laying ship, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, friendly fire, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Isaac Newton, Louis Blériot, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Nelson Mandela, North Sea oil, Piper Alpha, polynesian navigation, supervolcano, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, undersea cable
The journey was to have been 360 miles, but the bitumen must have leaked, because the reeds in the hull became waterlogged three miles off the Arabian coast. The tiny craft promptly sank and everyone had to be rescued by a ship from the Royal Oman Navy. 5. SAILINGS The Phoenicians were the first to build proper ships and to brave the rough waters of the Atlantic. To be sure, the Minoans before them traded with great vigor and defended their Mediterranean trade routes with swift and vicious naval force. Their ships—built with tools of sharp-edged bronze—were elegant and strong: they were made of cypress trees, sawn in half and lapped together, with white-painted and sized linen stretched across the planks, and with a sail suspended from a mast of oak, and oars to supplement their speed. But they worked only by day, and they voyaged only between the islands within a few days’ sailing of Crete; never once did any Minoan dare venture beyond the Pillars of Hercules, into the crashing waves of the Sea of Perpetual Gloom.
The Norsemen refused to give the skraelinger any weapons: the sagas say they bartered with them, employing as trade goods not beads or useless trinkets, but milk, which the Eskimos appeared to like. All told, the Norsemen’s brief stay in America seems to have been motivated by curiosity, marked by maritime courage, and sustained with a degree of apparent civility. The much better-known voyage of Columbus, by contrast, was motivated by a combination of commercial ambition, a growing Spanish exasperation at the blockage of land trade routes to the east by the Ottoman Turks (and the thought that this East could be reached instead by heading west and sailing halfway around the world), and the evangelical yearnings of the Church. It turned out to be a voyage carried out in comparative nautical comfort, and it never actually reached the North American mainland, with Columbus to his death believing he had reached the East—the Indies—and in all probability, Japan.
Historians argue over why the Vikings began their rovings and rampages. Those who believe it was a need of more agricultural land to feed a growing population are countered by those who wonder why they didn’t just push backward into their northern forests and make agriculture there. Others suggest it was a decline in the trade to which the Vikings had long been accustomed—with the expansion of Islam in the Mediterranean having an unanticipated impact on the old trade routes and prompting the Vikings to try to open new ones. Some say climate may have also played a role: the period between 800 and 1300 A.D. coincided with a period of warming in the Northern Hemisphere, which increased sea temperatures by a degree or more and would have caused the ice in many of the fjords used by the Vikings to melt, furthering their ability to sail away more frequently. Still others—pointing to Viking grave sites dotted along the Atlantic shores, which show lots of dead Viking men buried alongside a scattering of clearly local women—insist that the seafarers had gone abroad looking for wives, to better their genetic stock.
Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P. W. Singer, August Cole
3D printing, Admiral Zheng, augmented reality, British Empire, digital map, energy security, Firefox, glass ceiling, global reserve currency, Google Earth, Google Glasses, IFF: identification friend or foe, Just-in-time delivery, low earth orbit, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, new economy, old-boy network, 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, WikiLeaks, zero day, zero-sum game
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.
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, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, 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, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kangaroo Route, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, kremlinology, low cost airline, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, 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, starchitect, 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, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game
“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.
The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times by Giovanni Arrighi
anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business process, colonial rule, commoditize, Corn Laws, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, double entry bookkeeping, European colonialism, financial independence, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, late capitalism, London Interbank Offered Rate, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Peace of Westphalia, profit maximization, Project for a New American Century, RAND corporation, reserve currency, spice trade, the market place, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, Yom Kippur War
The wealth and power of Holland, in contrast, were based on commercial and financial networks which the Dutch capitalist oligarchy had carved out of the seaborne and colonial empires through which the territorialist rulers of Portugal and Spain, in alliance with the Genoese capitalist oligarchy, had superseded the wealth and power of Venice. These networks encircled the world and could not easily be bypassed or superseded. In fact, the wealth and power of the Dutch capitalist oligarchy rested more on its control over world financial networks than on commercial networks. This meant that it was less vulnerable than the Venetian capitalist oligarchy to the establishment of competing trade routes or to increased competition on a given route. As competition in long-distance trade intensified, the Dutch oligarchs could recoup their losses and find a new field of profitable investment in financial speculation. The Dutch capitalist oligarchy therefore had the power to rise above the competition and turn it to its own advantage. Second, the interests of the Dutch capitalist oligarchy clashed far more fundamentally with the interests of the central authorities of the medieval system of rule than the interests of the Venetian capitalist oligarchy ever did.
On the contrary, developments in Genoa were radically shaped by the wider Italian, European, and Eurasian systemic contexts, which were only in small part the making of Genoa. The most important of these systemic circumstances was no doubt the disintegration of the Eurasian trading system within which Genoa’s commercial fortunes of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries had been made. These fortunes were built primarily on the competitiveness of the Central Asian trade route to China and on the success with which Genoese enterprise managed to establish a quasi-monopolistic control over the Black Sea “terminal” of this route. As long as the Mongol empire ensured access to and security of the Central Asian route, and Genoa retained its military superiority in the Black Sea region, Genoese trade prospered and Genoese enterprises grew in scale, scope, and number. But as soon as the decline of Mongol power made the Central Asian trade THE RISE OF CAPITAL 117 route less competitive and secure, and the rise of Ottoman power in Asia Minor undermined and then destroyed Genoese supremacy in the Black Sea region, the wheel of fortune turned.
The reason why we are speaking of a Genoese cycle, however, is not that at a critical juncture the Catalans were “embattled on so many fronts,” since the Genoese were embattled on even more fronts. In part, to paraphrase Abu-Lughod’s dictum concerning Venice, the reason is that the Genoese “gamble” on Castilian trade proved a fortunate one. Even more than in the case of the Venetian “gamble” on the southern Asian trade route, chance was none the less only a minor part of the Genoese story. The most important part was that the Genoese placed their “bets” very carefully and, more important, backed them up with a repertoire of monetary and organizational means that few, if any, of their actual or potential competitors could match. In a sense, the matrix of the sixteenthcentury fortunes of the Genoese capitalist class were its “misfortunes” of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.
The Map of Knowledge: How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found: A History in Seven Cities by Violet Moller
As al-Mansur explained to his generals, ‘Here is the Tigris, with nothing between us and China, for all that is from the sea can come to us on the river, as can the provisions of the Jazira, Armenia and the surrounding areas. And there is the Euphrates, on which everything from Syria, Raqqa and the surrounding areas may come.’5 Baghdad was ideally situated, with direct access, via the al-Sarat and Nahr’Isa canals, to the major trade routes: north-west, up the Euphrates to Syria and beyond; north-east, on the Tigris, via Mosul; and south, to the Persian Gulf, gateway to India, China and the Far East. Baghdad also lay at the centre of a vast network of land routes. Travellers and merchants from the East would have descended along the Silk Roads with their winding caravans, down through the mountains of Iran, on their way to North Africa, Arabia, Syria, the Mediterranean coast and on to Europe.
At that time, al-Ándalus was dominated by religious conservatives, so these early Mu’tazili scholars had to be careful not to attract too much attention from the authorities – some were persecuted and their books were burned. Even though it was underground at first, Mu’tazilism helped to bring classical learning to al-Ándalus, coming into its own during the following century, under the enlightened rule of Rahman III and al- Hakam II – just as it had in al-Ma’mun’s Baghdad. Rahman II, who ruled from 822 to 852, opened up trade routes in the Mediterranean by making alliances with the Byzantines in Constantinople. This increased opportunities for the trade of Andalusian produce, minerals and textiles, created huge wealth and connected the peninsula with the wider world. Rahman was also a generous patron of scholarship and did all he could to stimulate intellectual activity in Córdoba. By the mid ninth century, Arabic culture was flourishing – as is clear from the complaints of the Christian scholar Paul Alvarus, who bemoaned how young Christians had fallen in love with the Arabic language and its poetry: ‘All talented young Christians read and study with enthusiasm Arab books; they gather immense libraries at great expense. . . they have forgotten their own language.’* That language was, of course, Latin, slowly suffocating from a lack of ideas and religious atrophy while Arabic triumphed – exotic, poetic, the language of the future, the language of science.
By the mid sixteenth century, it had split into three separate political entities. In the ensuing tumult, there was neither the time nor the money to fund ambitious programmes of mathematical exploration, astronomical observation or medical research. The two great discoveries of the fifteenth century, the New World and the printing press, were disastrous for Islamic fortunes. European voyages of discovery opened up new trade routes by sea that bypassed the Middle East, depriving it of commercial opportunity. The ancient Silk Roads, which had conveyed such great riches over the centuries, grew quiet and desolate. As printing presses opened in towns across Germany, France, Italy and England, in the Muslim world people remained suspicious of this new technology and struggled to design moveable type for Arabic, with its whirling diacritics and myriad variations.
The Dawn of Eurasia: On the Trail of the New World Order by Bruno Macaes
active measures, Berlin Wall, British Empire, computer vision, Deng Xiaoping, different worldview, digital map, Donald Trump, energy security, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global value chain, illegal immigration, intermodal, iterative process, land reform, liberal world order, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, open borders, Parag Khanna, savings glut, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, speech recognition, trade liberalization, trade route, Transnistria, young professional, zero-sum game, éminence grise
Suddenly, the 2.6-million-square-kilometre area at the centre of the Arctic, which does not fall under any country’s jurisdiction, would become the main unexplored fishery on earth. In 2011 Putin told participants at a conference in the White Sea port city of Arkhangelsk that Russia would be investing massively in the Arctic region in a bold bid to challenge traditional trade lanes. Perhaps different countries and cities will soon begin to compete to attract investment and people to the new trade route. Will there be a capital of the Arctic? In his Connectography, Parag Khanna suggests that Kirkenes in Norway may be the best candidate for the role, but Murmansk in Russia, just 200 kilometres to the south-east and founded in 1916, starts with considerable advantages. It is by far the largest settlement within the Arctic Circle and in 2016 its port handled more than 30 million tonnes of goods, a 50 per cent increase from 2015.
In Oman, for example, the souks of Muscat are peopled with a Hindu community from Rajasthan and Hyderabad. There are two old Portuguese forts, a reminder of the time when Portugal ruled the waves. The embroidered caps of the men bear influences from Zanzibar and Baluchistan. Chinese porcelain is ubiquitous and the bakers are Yemeni and Iranian. On the beach women dressed in burqas fly their kites just like in Afghanistan. As Kaplan puts it, ‘the ocean constituted a web of trade routes. It vaguely resembled what our world of today increasingly looks like with its commercial and cultural interlinkages.’11 The best image of this connected Indian Ocean world must have been that of one of its ports at the time of the Mongols, where dhows with lateen sails from the Red Sea, prahus from Malaysia and Indonesia and enormous Chinese junks would be tied next to each other. And then the Portuguese caravels arrived.
Were we to head south, we would disembark on the modern beach towns on the Iranian shore and a short drive would take us to Tehran and on to Isfahan and the Indian Ocean. The Caspian is like a compass where the four cardinal points guide you to the four corners of the Old World. The ancient geographer and astronomer Ptolemy speaks in his discussion of the longitudinal dimension of the world of a middle point on the trade route between Europe and China which he calls the Stone Tower. He mentions that a certain Greek merchant, an adventurous soul, travelled all the way to the Stone Tower, where he either met merchants coming from China or sent his own agents to the Chinese capital, ‘the metropolis of the Seres’.5 From his account it is clear that no one would make the whole journey, but it was still possible to collate different distances and calculate something like the total extension of the known world from the Atlantic to China.
Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis
On the Tibetan frontier tensions also remained high, with border clashes between Tibetan and British troops leading to open conflict in March 1888 as two thousand British troops were dispatched to repel a Tibetan military intrusion into Sikkim, the second in as many years. In 1890 Britain moved to annex Sikkim, and by the terms of the Anglo-Chinese Treaty, which fixed the boundaries, and the subsequent trade regulations, negotiated in 1893, it was granted the right to establish a trade mart and install a permanent agent at Yatung, in the Chumbi Valley, a verdant sliver of Tibetan territory that runs between Sikkim and Bhutan and had long been the traditional trade route between India and Tibet. Lhasa was party to neither agreement and actively intervened to impede commerce, imposing custom duties on the Chinese at Phari, at the head of the valley, and physically barricading the valley beyond Yatung to keep out the British. Curzon inherited the standoff when he became viceroy in 1899 and was not about to accept such an affront to British prestige. Recognizing the futility of dealing with Peking, he sought to open direct relations with Lhasa.
In support were no fewer than 10,000 porters and 20,000 yaks, which each day would carry some 40,000 pounds of food, ammunition, and equipment over a tenuous supply line eventually reaching from Lhasa to Darjeeling. In weather so cold that white rainbows spread across the sky, the army headed not north to the Serpo La and Kampa Dzong, but east to the Jelep La, the 14,390-foot pass that led to the Chumbi Valley and the main trading route from Sikkim to Tibet. This was the direct approach to Gyantse, the immediate goal, and Lhasa, the ultimate quest. Younghusband himself went through the Jelep La on December 13, a Sunday. In terrible winds, with thermometers recording thirty degrees of frost, he surely must have reflected on the audacity of marching an army across the Himalaya in the heart of winter along narrow tracks that had never seen the passage of a European.
After an official audience with the high lama, and a few days spent provisioning the men with fur coats and hats and thick woolen blankets, as well as securing new transport, the expedition, altogether thirty-five men and forty-four ponies, along with a hundred hired horses and the requisite drivers, left Shigatse on October 16. In four days they reached Lhatse, a fort and monastery perched on a rocky outcrop dominating a wide plain and guarding the approaches to the heart of central Tibet from the west. There the expedition divided. Bailey and another officer, Captain Wood of the Royal Engineers, taking all the heavy baggage and most of the transport animals, followed the traditional trade route, which ran overland, parallel to the river but well north of it for some 160 miles. Rawling and Ryder, lightly equipped, elected to continue west along the right bank of the Tsangpo, a perilous track perched at times 200 feet above the water on rock ledges too narrow to permit the movement of a loaded pony. For three days they traversed the bluffs, a dangerous passage relieved only by the discovery of verdant valleys, isolated between the long stretches of rock and ice.
Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris
addicted to oil, 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, God and Mammon, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, market bubble, mass immigration, 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, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, 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.
Arabs: A 3,000 Year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires by Tim Mackintosh-Smith
Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, colonial rule, domestication of the camel, Donald Trump, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, invention of movable type, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, liberation theology, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, New Urbanism, out of africa, Pax Mongolica, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Scramble for Africa, trade route
Later, during the Himyari ascendancy in the first century AD, the compiler of the Greek Periplus, a merchant mariners’ guide, wrote of the vast traffic of Muza, not far inside the entrance to the Red Sea. All this busy trade is eloquent evidence of how an Arabian ‘nation far off’, as the Book of Joel calls the Sabaeans, were tied multiply into distant economies. Then it was perfumes and gums, now it is petroleum and gas. Another people connected by trade with wider economies were the Nabataeans, whose domain straddled the trade routes where they were funnelled out of the north-west of the peninsula. Unlike the Sabaeans and their South Arabian neighbours, the Nabataeans almost certainly spoke a form of Arabic; like the Sabaeans, however, they almost certainly did not consider themselves ’arab. Not only were they a settled people, but living as they did in the Levant, in the lap of the Mediterranean rather than out on some Arabian limb, their cultural contacts had made them true cosmopolites.
Although there is nothing obviously like poetry in all those thousands of Safaitic inscriptions on rocks in the wilderness, many of poetry’s later themes – love, lust, loss, raiding, longing – appear in them. And while the oldest complete odes that we have are by Kindah poets of the sixth century, it seems impossible that they could have hatched, ab ovo, not only fully fledged but flying high. Poetry must have been developing in those early centuries AD, going on its oral travels up and down the trade routes, picking up its material and forming its character along the way. Indeed, much of the oldest verse is about departures, journeys, mounts. ‘Go!’ urged al-Shanfara, early in the sixth century, You have all you need: the moon is out, The mounts are girthed to go, the saddles too. . . . Yes, by your life! The world has room for one Who seeks or flees by night . . . Epic it is not; but, like Homeric Greek, its special form of Arabic, elevated above everyday speech, brings together diverse elements from many dialects.
Above, we have seen Imru’ al-Qays celebrating present beauty as well as past love. The late pre-Islamic poet al-A’sha was himself so celebrated for his descriptions of female beauty that he was in demand as a ‘marriage bureau’, producing airbrushed poetic advertisements for plainer girls. As the sixth century progressed, poets themselves gained in celebrity: when, towards the end of the century, Muhammad’s tribe of Quraysh founded the pan-Arabian fair of Ukaz on the main trade-route leading into Meccan territory from the south, poetic competitions were the biggest attraction. Contestants arrived on the most expensive mounts and, wearing their flashiest clothes, duelled in verse. Poets were the pop-stars of the time. And the importance of places like Ukaz was more than literary: they were places of truce, where warring tribes could meet without the ever-present pressure to pursue feuds and extract vengeance.
Israel & the Palestinian Territories Travel Guide by Lonely Planet
active transport: walking or cycling, airport security, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bike sharing scheme, carbon footprint, centre right, clean water, coronavirus, G4S, game design, illegal immigration, Khartoum Gordon, Louis Pasteur, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, special economic zone, spice trade, trade route, urban planning, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
Megiddo remained a prosperous Egyptian stronghold for at least 100 years and later on held out against the Israelites (Judges 1:27), probably only falling to David. Under his son Solomon, Megiddo was transformed into one of the jewels of the Israelite kingdom and became known as the Chariot City – excavations have revealed traces of stables extensive enough to have held thousands of horses. For a while Megiddo was a strategic stronghold on the important trade route between Egypt and Assyria, but by the 4th century BCE the town had inexplicably become uninhabited. However, its strategic importance remained, and among the armies that fought here were the British in WWI. On being awarded his peerage, General Edmund Allenby took the title Lord Allenby of Megiddo. Jewish and Arab forces clashed here during the 1948 war. Excavations of Tel Megiddo have unearthed the remains of 26 or 27 distinct historical periods, from 4000 BCE to 400 BCE, but it takes some stretching of the imagination to see in the modern-day site any traces of its former grandeur.
It was later captured by Saladin (1188), dismantled by the Ayyubids (1220), rebuilt by the Knights Templar (1240) and expanded by the Mamluk Sultan Beybars (after 1266). During the late 15th and 16th centuries, Tsfat’s Jewish community increased in size and importance thanks to an influx of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. Among the new arrivals were some of the Jewish world’s pre-eminent Kabbalists. During this period, Tsfat was an important stop on the trade route from Akko to Damascus and was known for its production of textiles. A Hebrew printing press – the first such device anywhere in the Middle East – was set up in Tsfat in 1577. In the late 1700s, Tsfat welcomed an influx of Hasidim from Russia. Tsfat was decimated by the plague in 1742, 1812 and 1847, and devastated by earthquakes in 1759 and 1837. The latter disaster killed thousands and caused all but a handful of buildings to crumble.
Obviously, if you see a situation developing – particularly around Al-Manara Sq – go the other way. Hiring a local guide can help explain the situation in the city, but be aware that Palestinian guides probably won’t be allowed in settler areas. If you arrive independently, expect local kids to offer you a tour, but agree on the price before you set off. Despite its woes, Hebron continues to flourish as a business leader among Palestinian communities. Situated on a former trade route to the Arabian Peninsula, the city is celebrated for its grapes, its skilled traders and its artisans’ production of blown glass, leather and hand-painted pottery, just as it has been since antiquity. History According to the Hebrew Bible, Hebron was founded around 1730 BCE, its biblical name, Kiryat Arba (the Village of Four), perhaps referring to its position on four hills on which four Canaanite tribes settled.
The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps by Edward Brooke-Hitching
STRAIT OF ANIAN 48°29'N, 124°50'W Also known as Strete of Anian Willem Barentsz’s landmark 1598 map of the Arctic region, drawn from his observations made during his 1596 voyage. It is decorated with sea monsters, ships, whales and the mythical ‘Estrecho de Anian’ in the top right corner. One of the greatest obsessions in the history of European exploration was the search for the Northwest Passage. Uncovering a trade route through the crushing pack ice of the Arctic to reach Asia and her endless riches – as an alternative to the gruelling and dangerous route around South America – would bring incalculable wealth to the nation that found the way. For centuries such a way was purely theoretical, willed into mythical existence through sheer mercenary desire. It wasn’t until 1850 that a true Northwest Passage was discovered by Robert McClure, and until 1906 that the sea route was successfully navigated by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.
CROKER’S MOUNTAINS 74°22'N, 94°02'W In the early nineteenth century, the confusion caused by an illusory mountain range spotted off the eastern coast of Greenland led to acrimonious debate, the public ridicule of a respected British naval officer, and a serious delay in uncovering the Northwest Passage. In 1818, three years had passed since the Napoleonic Wars and the British fleet lay idle in dock. This offered a chance to pursue non-martial preoccupations. Reports were coming in from whalers that the ice packs to the east of Greenland were breaking up at an unprecedented rate, and so, under Sir John Barrow, Second Secretary to the Admiralty, efforts were renewed to hunt for a long-sought trade route through the Arctic to Asia. The command of the first expedition was handed to 41-year-old John Ross, a capable Scot who had joined the British Navy aged nine as an apprentice, and spent the following thirty-two years developing an illustrious naval career, including a captaincy in the Swedish Navy. A chart of the track of Ross’s expedition, taken from his A Voyage of Discovery (1818). Croker’s Mountains are drawn on the far west side, apparently walling up Lancaster Sound.
Hugely influential, this trusted information was employed by cartographers who explained the twenty-day voyage with the logical speculation of a large western inlet. Carte des Nouvelles Decouvertes, a map by Buache and de l’Isle from 1750, showing La Mer de l’Ouest, a vast inland sea in North America. As European settlement of North America expanded, the English and French grew more desperate for a thoroughfare trade route to compete with the Spaniards’ lucrative East Indies trafficking. Those who mounted expeditions through the American interior relied on information from native guides, and, as we have seen from Baron de Lahontan’s error-ridden journey tracing his Great River of the West (see relevant entry here), these explorers were not provided with the most reliable of intelligence. Nevertheless, the cartographer Guillaume de l’Isle combined the now-established rumour of a Western Sea with Lahontan’s accounts of a great salt lake (as described by Lahontan’s quoted source, the Tuhuglauks) to feature the body of water on his lauded 1703 map of Canada.
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, Charles Lindbergh, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, 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, fixed income, 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, Parag Khanna, 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, 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.
How We Got Here: A Slightly Irreverent History of Technology and Markets by Andy Kessler
Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, animal electricity, automated trading system, bank run, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buttonwood tree, Claude Shannon: information theory, Corn Laws, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, fiat currency, fixed income, 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, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, packet switching, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, railway mania, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, 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, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, undersea cable, 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.
Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe by Noam Chomsky, Laray Polk
American Legislative Exchange Council, 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 Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy by Bruce Katz, Jennifer Bradley
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, British Empire, business climate, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, collapse of Lehman Brothers, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, double entry bookkeeping, edge city, Edward Glaeser, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, intermodal, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lone genius, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, megacity, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, place-making, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Spirit Level, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, transit-oriented development, urban planning, white flight
There is a metropolitan twist to this macro story: the new global economic order is a new metropolitan order. The scale and speed of urban and metropolitan growth across the world is the defining and unifying thread of the twenty-first century. Rising metros are fueling the rise of nations. Throughout 144 07-2151-2 ch7.indd 144 5/20/13 6:55 PM A GLOBAL NETWORK OF TRADING CITIES 145 history, cities have been the heart of global commerce, forming trade routes, crossroads, switching points, and meeting places. Metropolitan areas are now the origins of global trade, concentrating idea generators, innovation zones, and production hubs. They have become the focus of global investment, responding to the insatiable hunger for the transport, energy, and social infrastructure necessary to grow and develop. Something profound is happening. The world is being remade in the metropolitan image.
Hamburg, located on the River Elbe, which flows into the North Sea, had close access to salt mines, the key ingredient in preserving fish.93 The marriage between these two river cities and their merchants (the Hansa) altered the economic geography and evolution of northern Europe. The proximity of the rivers (the Trave runs inland, ending thirty-two miles from the Elbe) allowed an alternative trade route between the Baltic and North Seas.94 Merchants were able to circumvent the dangerous passage around Denmark and provide more security for the shipment of goods. 07-2151-2 ch7.indd 166 5/20/13 6:55 PM A GLOBAL NETWORK OF TRADING CITIES 167 The growth of trade spurred demand for more infrastructure (for example, the opening of the Stecknitz canal between the Elbe and Trave rivers in 1398),95 other products (such as barrels for shipping the salted fish), and supportive services (taverns, shoes, clothing).
As trade grew and became more secure, a new type of ship, the Hanseatic cog, was invented, “which was larger, could better protect the cargo and was also more navigable than local vessels.”97 As Lübeck and Hamburg extended trade with other cities, the alliance’s membership and structure became larger and more formal. Cologne, with its close trading links to London, became a key member. In 1280 Lübeck allied with Visby to ensure safe passage of goods along trade routes to Gotland, Sweden, and Novgorod, Russia. Shortly thereafter Riga and Tallinn, two Baltic trading cities, joined as well. Thus was opened a gateway for Russian goods, crops, and materials needed for ship building.98 Scholars give different dates for the formalization of this network of trading cities into the Hanseatic League, but by the fourteenth century, a “powerful compact of cities” had emerged, “with far reaching trade agreements and almost total control of North European trade.”99 As Jennifer Mills recounts, “Since there were no navies to protect their cargoes, no international bodies to regulate tariffs and trade and few ports had regulatory authorities to manage their use, the merchants banded together to establish tariff agreements, provide for common defense and to make sure ports were safely maintained.”100 A semiformal governance structure, the Hanseatic Diet, was established, which met every twenty-five to thirty years to discuss league policy.101 With economic power came political influence.
The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations by Jacob Soll
accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, delayed gratification, demand response, discounted cash flows, double entry bookkeeping, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, God and Mammon, High speed trading, Honoré de Balzac, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, new economy, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scientific racism, South Sea Bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route
He dealt in art and was painted numerous times in his red robes, most notably as one of the “honorable men” in Fra Filippo Lippi’s masterpiece, the Madonna del Ceppo, which is still housed in Prato’s Civic Museum. When he died in 1410, he left a fortune of about 100,000 florins, a king’s ransom.2 In 1383, as today, it took particular skills to get rich. Less than forty years after the Black Death that carried off half the population of Europe (and both of Datini’s parents), and with trade routes plagued by brigands and pirates, there was nonetheless an economic boom, much of it centered in Northern Italy. By the 1340s, the Italians had invented double-entry bookkeeping, the bill of exchange, and marine insurance, and they had perfected payments by book transfer, note, and oral agreement. It was here that money and wool passed, via England, Flanders, and Castile. Florence was the great center of banking, famous not just for literary figures, such as Dante, but also for the florin itself, the city’s little “flower.”
There were stalks of rhubarb and sugarcane, piles of gunpowder and saltpeter, wax, gum, and ginger. The odors of styrax flowers, spicewood, frankincense, and myrrh wafted across what was, to visiting foreigners, an overwhelming display of commercial marvels.7 Along with products, other things flowed in from around the world, including reports, accounts, logbooks, and works of science and natural history, assessing political climates, trading routes, and fluctuations in commodities prices. Dutch consuls sent reports from Dutch whale oil factories in the Arctic, plantations in the West Indies, and trading posts in Europe, Brazil, Surinam, Manhattan, and Aden. Dutch trading posts could be found anywhere in the streets of the world, even in their own backyard, in cities of their hated neighbors the French, such as Nantes and La Rochelle.8 Accounting became a central element of Dutch education.
Working off Descartes’s theories of geometry, in 1659 he published a book about the calculations of lines and curves, which was useful not only for applied physics but also for ballistics.31 By the seventeenth century, Holland’s wealth and freedoms were both celebrated and feared throughout the world. Yet peace did not come to the Netherlands. After the death of the Stadtholder William II of Orange in 1650, Johan de Witt had led the Netherlands for more than twenty years. Yet as Holland’s wealth grew, so did the envy of its powerful neighbors, France and England. In the 1650s and 1660s, the English and Dutch fought numerous battles over the English Channel, trade routes, and even colonies. The English captured the Dutch colony of New Netherland and its capital Manhattan in 1664. In 1672, Louis XIV’s troops raided and plundered Holland. De la Court and de Witt could calculate, account, and call for republican government, but even with all their wealth, 1 million Dutchmen could not resist 23 million Frenchmen with a hostile, absolute Sun King and his giant army bent on bringing the arrogant, lowborn merchants to their knees to beg for mercy from Catholic France.
The Life and Death of Ancient Cities: A Natural History by Greg Woolf
agricultural Revolution, capital controls, Columbian Exchange, demographic transition, endogenous growth, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, global village, invention of agriculture, invention of writing, joint-stock company, mass immigration, megacity, New Urbanism, out of africa, Scramble for Africa, social intelligence, social web, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl
Early modern travellers like Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta were not hacking their way through dense jungles looking for lost civilizations like the heroes of Victorian romances. They travelled along well-established trade routes that had connected the urban centres of the Old World, routes that went back to the Middle Ages and sometimes even earlier. Alexandrine merchants had traded with southern India in the time of Christ, riding the monsoon from the mouth of the Red Sea to Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. What we now call the Silk Road was really a complex of these routes, stretching some north, others south of the Himalayas linking the urban civilizations of China and her neighbours to central Asia, Iran, India, and ultimately the Mediterranean world. The Indian Ocean was connected by maritime trade routes first in the Roman period and then intensively in the Islamic Middle Ages.6 This reconnection was not a product of the European Age of Discovery.
Perhaps the most spectacular pre-Columbian city was Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, which rose and fell in rough synchronization with the Roman Empire across the Atlantic Ocean. Teotihuacan was a vast planned city. Its boulevards were lined with thousands of buildings, and ceremonial routes connected great plazas to its enormous temples. Those temples bore great monumental sculptures and reliefs of marble and granite decorated with gold and jade and bright painted murals. At the height of its power Teotichuacan probably had over 100,000 inhabitants. Trade routes and imperialism connected it to every part of Central America. After its fall in the middle of the sixth century c.e. it was mythologized, imitated, and even excavated for treasure by later pre-Columbian civilizations. Among them were the Aztecs whose own capital city, Tenochtitlán, the city built over a lake that lies under modern Mexico City, was already nearly two hundred years old when it was sacked by the Spanish in 1521 (see Figure 3).
Iron also made better weapons. More land was cultivated, populations grew, and chieftains became more powerful. When local growth intersected with the loose network of maritime connections being stretched across the Mediterranean by eastern mariners, new opportunities presented themselves. The Etruscans, some of them at least, were among the first to grasp the potential of connecting economic growth to trade routes.5 We can now trace this process in some detail. During the tenth century b.c.e. most villages were smaller than 5 hectares, with just a few reaching 10 or 15 hectares. During the ninth century a small number of much bigger settlements appeared. This is the period termed Villanovan. Most were new sites, created on tufa plateaux or on promontories protected on most sides by steep ravines. The shift was most pronounced in southern Etruria where Tarquinia, Veii, Caere, Vulci, and Volsinii each covered between 100 and 200 hectares.
Frommer's Israel by Robert Ullian
airport security, British Empire, car-free, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, East Village, haute cuisine, Khartoum Gordon, mass immigration, 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.”
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.
Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order by Parag Khanna
"Robert Solow", 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, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, different worldview, 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, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, land reform, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pax Mongolica, Pearl River Delta, 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.
Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
"Robert Solow", 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 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, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, 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, digital map, disruptive innovation, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, 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 cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low earth orbit, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, 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, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, 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.
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.
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, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, 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.
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.
The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman
American ideology, banking crisis, British Empire, business cycle, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, low earth orbit, mass immigration, 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.
Fodor's Venice and Northern Italy by Fodor's
To avoid too great a concentration of power, these 10 served only one year and belonged to different families. A Long Decline. Venice reached its height of power in the 15th and 16th centuries, during which time its domain included all of the Veneto region and part of Lombardy. But beginning in the 16th century, the tide turned. The Ottoman Empire blocked Venice’s Mediterranean trade routes, and newly emerging sea powers such as Britain and the Netherlands ended Venice’s monopoly by opening oceanic trading routes. The Republic underwent a slow decline. When Napoléon arrived in 1797, he took the city without a fight, eventually delivering it to the Austrians, who ruled until 1848. In that tumultuous year throughout Europe, the Venetians rebelled, an act that would ultimately lead to their joining the Italian Republic in 1866. Art Stars. In the 13th through 15th centuries the influence of Gothic architecture resulted in palaces in the florid Gothic style, for which the city is famous.
The competition to design a stone bridge across the Grand Canal (replacing earlier wooden versions) attracted the late-16th-century’s best architects, including Michelangelo, Palladio, and Sansovino, but the job went to the less famous but appropriately named Antonio da Ponte (1512–95). His pragmatic design featured shop space and was high enough for galleys to pass beneath; it kept decoration and cost to a minimum at a time when the Republic’s coffers were low due to continual wars against the Turks and the opening of oceanic trade routes. Along the railing you’ll enjoy one of the city’s most famous views: the Grand Canal vibrant with boat traffic. | Rialto. Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. This immense Gothic church of russet-color brick, completed in the 1400s after more than a century of work, is deliberately austere, befitting the Franciscan brothers’ insistence on spirituality and poverty. However, I Frari (as it’s known locally) contains some of the most brilliant paintings in any Venetian church.
GTT bus service connects the two towns, but is not direct. Train service to Asti, on the other hand, is frequent and fast. Visitor Information Asti tourism office (Corso Alfieri 357 | 14100 | 0141/530357 | www.astiturismo.it). Exploring Asti Asti is best known outside Italy for its wines—excellent reds as well as the famous sparkling white spumante—but its strategic position on trade routes at Turin, Milan, and Genoa has given it a broad economic base. In the 12th century Asti began to develop as a republic, at a time when other Italian cities were also flexing their economic and military muscles. It flourished in the following century, when the inhabitants began erecting lofty towers (West end of Corso Vittorio Alfieri) for its defense, giving rise to the medieval nickname “city of 100 towers.”
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.
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2011 by Steve Coll
airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, centre right, 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.
A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook
Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, joint-stock company, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pearl River Delta, Potemkin village, profit motive, rent control, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, starchitect, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor
From the coming of Islam in 630 AD to the dawn of the twentieth century, Dubai and its surrounding region experienced no population growth. Befitting its status as a trading port, but hardly a boomtown, Dubai was of minor interest to Great Britain in its age of empire. Seeing the centrality of the Gulf for its lucrative trade routes to India, the British East India Company sought to safeguard the region from anti-Western, Islamic fundamentalist pirates in the early nineteenth century. With the help of their intimidating royal navy, the British struck a series of agreements with the local sheikhs beginning in 1820 to keep the region peaceful and the trade routes open. When the Maktoum, a branch of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, a small trading port seventy-five miles down the coast, took over Dubai in 1833, they duly kept the peace on behalf of the British. The Makhtoums have ruled Dubai as autocrats ever since.
He resolved to slam it shut. 2 SHANGHAI RACE CLUB Shanghai, 1842–1911 The Bund, mid-1860s A thirteenth-century Mongol emperor is credited with naming the city of Shanghai, which means “above the sea” in Chinese. The emperor was describing the city physically—it sits on bluffs above the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze, just a few miles from where it empties into the ocean—but the name also embodies a deeper, albeit less literal, truth. Presiding over the innumerable trade routes of the world’s largest ocean, the city of Shanghai reigns over the Pacific. If geography is destiny, the city where the Yangtze meets the Pacific—the gateway to the world for one-tenth of humanity—is, by rights, the leading city on the planet. When Hugh Lindsay of the British East India Company first laid eyes on Shanghai, he understood its importance immediately. On his 1832 journey, Lindsay was floored by the hundreds of junks, some from as far away as Siam, plying the Huangpu by Shanghai.
In the International Settlement, the British shipped in Sikhs from India—whom they prized for their martial traditions, not to mention their regal height, turbans, and mustaches—to serve as policemen. Among other duties, they patrolled the public garden to keep out the Chinese. A small Parsi community, a diaspora group of Persian Zoroastrians who had settled in India in the Middle Ages, also made their way to Shanghai following British trade routes. As “foreigners” in Shanghai, Parsis had full use of the public garden and other spaces from which the Chinese were banned. Still, given the city’s racial hierarchies, passing not just for foreign but for white was of great importance. Shanghai’s Jewish community, with roots in Baghdad, was careful to identify themselves as Sephardim, a Hebrew term literally meaning “Spaniards,” denoting the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492.
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, low cost airline, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, 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.
Cheese and Culture: A History of Cheese and Its Place in Western Civilization by Paul Kindstedt
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.
No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, business cycle, business intelligence, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, demographic dividend, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, job automation, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Great Moderation, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population, Zipcar
The cross-border movements of goods, services, and finance in 2012 reached $26 trillion, or 36 percent of global GDP—1.5 times the share of GDP in 1990.9 International trade hasn’t simply grown in volume. It has broadened and branched out, like a river moving through its delta. In 1990, more than half of all goods flows were between developed countries. The typical transaction might have been a Toyota Celica shipped from Japan to the United States. But in 2012, such transactions accounted for only 28 percent of all goods flows.10 Since 1990, trade routes have evolved from hubs in the United States and Western Europe into a global web of trade, with Asia as the largest trading region. Emerging economies now account for 40 percent of all goods flows, and 60 percent of those go to other emerging economies—known as south-south trade. In 1990, this trade accounted for 6 percent of global goods flows; it rose to nearly 24 percent by 2012.11 It might, for example, involve a barrel of oil going from Congo to China, or soybeans farmed deep in Brazil shipped to Malaysia, or an Indian pharmaceutical shipped to Algeria.
Between 1980 and 2007, annual cross-border capital flows increased from $0.5 trillion to a peak of $12 trillion, a twenty-three-fold increase that was in large measure driven by Europe’s monetary and trade integration.15 Such flows fell sharply in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and then bounced back. In 2012, estimated financial flows stood at $4.6 trillion, nearly five times the level in 1990.16 Trade routes have expanded and trade patterns have become increasingly more complex 1 Includes only merchandise. 2 This value does not include the trade flows between countries in a region. If intraregional trade flows are included, the total trade for 2009 is $18.3 trillion. Overall value estimate for 2013, breakdowns calculated on data until August 2010. Updated February 2011/May 2014. SOURCE: Global Insight – World Trade Service; McKinsey Global Institute analysis As with the trade in physical goods, the flow of capital is becoming more varied and complex.
GE in 2014 partnered with the Millennium Challenge Corporation to provide $500 million in financing for the Ghana1000 project, a huge, 1-gigawatt power plant the company is helping to build in Western Ghana.47 Beyond tapping tangible assets, companies are able to mine intangible assets—knowledge, competencies, data—that can help them participate in global flows. Some do so for philanthropic purposes. Coca-Cola used its market distribution expertise in sub-Saharan Africa to manage the storage and delivery of AIDS drugs in countries such as Tanzania. “We’re not lending our trucks or our fleet, or our motorcycles,” as Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent put it. “We’re lending our expertise.”48 Trade routes have expanded and trade patterns have become increasingly more complex 1 Migrants data from 2010 used for people flows; 2013 cross-border Internet traffic used for data and communication flows. For data on complete country set, download the full report, Global flows in a digital age: How trade, finance, people, and data connect the world economy. 2 Calculations exclude data and communication flows, for which data are not available for 1995.
Escape From Rome: The Failure of Empire and the Road to Prosperity by Walter Scheidel
agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, British Empire, colonial rule, conceptual framework, creative destruction, currency manipulation / currency intervention, dark matter, disruptive innovation, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, mandelbrot fractal, means of production, Network effects, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, secular stagnation, South China Sea, spinning jenny, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, zero-sum game
The dominant mode of resource extraction likewise evolved. Nicola di Cosmo distinguishes between tribute empires that depended on payments from China and subordinates, from the Xiongnu at the end of the third century BCE to the Rouran up to the mid-sixth century CE; trade-tribute empires—exemplified by the Turks and Khazars during the following 350 years—that added control over long-distance trade routes to tribute-taking; dual-administration empires such as those of the Liao and Jurchen from the tenth through the mid-thirteenth centuries that increasingly relied on taxation; and the direct-taxation empires of the Mongols and Manchu that were made possible by the wholesale conquest of China.63 Throughout this period, as steppe powers shored up their capabilities, the interstitial phases between monopolistic (or duopolistic) empire in China itself kept contracting.
In the latter region, prebendal assets were never similarly well privatized or protected, and the advent of Turkic and Mamluk conquest regimes increased the odds of arbitrary confiscation.47 The impact of political fragmentation on trade varied. Even though one might reasonably suspect more intense polycentrism to have raised transaction costs, the opposite could also be the case. The presence of multiple autonomous polities along the same trade route did in fact harm exchange by prompting serial predation. At the same time, interroute fragmentation that enabled traders to choose among “multiple politically independent routes” lowered tariffs. In the end, whatever the costs of fragmentation in terms of lives and treasure, it reliably opened up room for choice and bargaining.48 Medieval Foundations of Modern Development By 1000, Latin Europe had, in Michael Mann’s words, turned into “a multiple acephalous federation” that lacked a dominant center and was composed of complex interaction networks.
Hall 1996: 56 (state system with a “built-in escape system”). 45. Quotes: Landes 1998: 38; E. Jones 2003: 118. Karayalcin 2008: 977–85 for a model, and 985–91 for supporting evidence; likewise Chu 2010, esp. 182. 46. E. Jones 2003: 233. 47. J. Hall 1985: 126–28; van Bavel, Buringh, and Dijkman 2018: 47. 48. Cox 2017: 726–29, who shows that tolls on fixed Ottoman caravan routes were much higher than on flexible English trade routes. 49. Mann 1986: 376–77 (quote: 376). 50. This last feature prompts Baechler 1975: 77 to observe that “the expansion of capitalism owes its origins and its raison d’être to political anarchy” (quote italicized in original). 51. Van Zanden 2009a: 48–49. My specifications in italics add much-needed precision to his own underlying trifecta (49). For the difference between despotic and infrastructural power, see Mann 1984.
The Price of Everything: And the Hidden Logic of Value by Eduardo Porter
Alvin Roth, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, longitudinal study, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, new economy, New Urbanism, peer-to-peer, 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, ultimatum game, unpaid internship, urban planning, Veblen good, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, young professional, zero-sum game
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.
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, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, 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, WikiLeaks, 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.
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, Johannes Kepler, 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.
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, business cycle, 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 market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, 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, 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.
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.
1947: Where Now Begins by Elisabeth Åsbrink
Tired of the Zionists’ bombs and acts of terrorism; of keeping the Arabs happy; of the fact that £80 million has been squandered in Palestine over the last two years, and that 100,000 British men are obliged to be there, far from their homes and work. All “for the sake of a senseless, squalid war with the Jews in order to give Palestine to the Arabs, or God knows who,” as Winston Churchill puts it. Britain, which once occupied the region to secure trade routes and colonial power, no longer wants the future of Palestine to be seen as an internal British matter, but instead places the responsibility on the rest of the world. On February 18, five days after Christian Dior’s dream fireworks, the British announce that they are handing the issue of Palestine’s future over to the UN without making any recommendations whatsoever. They want to distance themselves from the mess, to get as far away as possible from the burden of sorting it out.
On Thursday, February 20, the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, announces that the British will be granting India independence. On Friday, February 21, the Americans are informed that Great Britain will no long be supporting Greece and Turkey as it did in the past. The Empire is collapsing. The country that once wielded world dominion is relinquishing it; the country that commanded the seas and the trade routes, held the balance of power, and disseminated its language, sport, arms, education system, currency, and soldiers across the globe is now cutting ties and turning in on itself. An incomprehensible week. Budapest The purge of anti-Communist elements starts on February 25 with the arrest of Béla Kovács, leader of the small farmers’ party, FKGP. He is accused of conspiracy against the Soviet occupation power and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Siberia.
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.
Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi Tharoor
affirmative action, barriers to entry, Boris Johnson, British Empire, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, corporate raider, deindustrialization, European colonialism, global village, informal economy, joint-stock company, land tenure, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, night-watchman state, Parkinson's law, trade route
Indian handloom fabrics were much in demand in England; it was no accident that the Company established its first ‘factory’ in 1613 in the southern port town of Masulipatnam, famous for its Kalamkari block-printed textiles. For centuries the handloom weavers of Bengal had produced some of the world’s most desirable fabrics, especially the fine muslins, light as ‘woven air’, that were coveted by European dressmakers. As late as the mid-eighteenth century, Bengal’s textiles were still being exported to Egypt, Turkey and Persia in the West, and to Java, China and Japan in the East, along well-established trade routes, as well as to Europe. The value of Bengal’s textile exports alone is estimated to have been around 16 million rupees annually in the 1750s, of which some 5 to 6 million rupees’ worth was exported by European traders in India. (At those days’ rates of exchange, this sum was equivalent to almost £2 million, a considerable sum in an era when to earn a pound a week was to be a rich man.) In addition, silk exports from Bengal were worth another 6.5 million rupees annually till 1753, declining to some 5 million thereafter.
The Bengal fleet in the early seventeenth century included 4,000 to 5,000 ships at 400 to 500 tonnes each, built in Bengal and employed there; these numbers increased till the mid-eighteenth century, given the huge popularity of the goods and products they carried. This thriving shipping and shipbuilding culture would be drastically curbed by the British. To reduce competition after 1757, the Company and the British ships that they contracted were given a monopoly on trade routes, including those formerly used by the Indian merchants. Duties were imposed on Indian merchant ships moving to and from Indian ports, not just foreign ones. This strangled the native shipping industry to the point of irrelevance in everything but some minor coastal shipping of low-value ‘native’ goods to local consumers. The self-serving nature of British shipping policy was made apparent during the Napoleonic Wars, which led to a severe shortage of British merchant vessels.
The self-serving nature of British shipping policy was made apparent during the Napoleonic Wars, which led to a severe shortage of British merchant vessels. (The war of 1803 destroyed 173,000 tons of British shipping, forcing the government in London to employ 112,890 tonnes of foreign vessels to conduct British commerce.) Expediently, Indian shipping was now deemed to be British and Indian sailors were reclassified as British sailors, allowing them access to British trade routes under the Navigation Acts. But as soon as the Napoleonic Wars ended, the Navigation Acts were again amended to exclude Indian shipping and the industry once again declined. The story was repeated in the early twentieth century, when V. O. Chidambaram Pillai in Madras was allowed to set up a shipping company in the run-up to World War I. His success set the alarm bells ringing, however, and when regulations alone did not destroy his business, he was quickly jailed for his nationalist views, breaking his spirit as well as the back of his enterprise.
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson
"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, BRICs, British Empire, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, invention of movable type, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, land reform, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, Paul Samuelson, price stability, profit motive, Rosa Parks, Scramble for Africa, Simon Kuznets, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, working poor
Venice appeared to have been on the brink of becoming the world’s first inclusive society, but it fell to a coup. Political and economic institutions became more extractive, and Venice began to experience economic decline. By 1500 the population had shrunk to one hundred thousand. Between 1650 and 1800, when the population of Europe rapidly expanded, that of Venice contracted. Today the only economy Venice has, apart from a bit of fishing, is tourism. Instead of pioneering trade routes and economic institutions, Venetians make pizza and ice cream and blow colored glass for hordes of foreigners. The tourists come to see the pre-Serrata wonders of Venice, such as the Doge’s Palace and the lions of St. Mark’s Cathedral, which were looted from Byzantium when Venice ruled the Mediterranean. Venice went from economic powerhouse to museum. IN THIS CHAPTER we focus on the historical development of institutions in different parts of the world and explain why they evolved in different ways.
Map 12 shows the location of the historical state of Aksum in modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea, with outposts across the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Just as Rome declined, so did Aksum, and its historical decline followed a pattern close to that of the Western Roman Empire. The role played by the Huns and Vandals in the decline of Rome was taken by the Arabs, who, in the seventh century, expanded into the Red Sea and down the Arabian Peninsula. Aksum lost its colonies in Arabia and its trade routes. This precipitated economic decline: money stopped being coined, the urban population fell, and there was a refocusing of the state into the interior of the country and up into the highlands of modern Ethiopia. In Europe, feudal institutions emerged following the collapse of central state authority. The same thing happened in Ethiopia, based on a system called gult, which involved a grant of land by the emperor.
Inhabitants of these islands produced and exported these rare spices in exchange for food and manufactured goods coming from the island of Java, from the entrepôt of Melaka on the Malaysian Peninsula, and from India, China, and Arabia. The first contact the inhabitants had with Europeans was in the sixteenth century, with Portuguese mariners who came to buy spices. Before then spices had to be shipped through the Middle East, via trade routes controlled by the Ottoman Empire. Europeans searched for a passage around Africa or across the Atlantic to gain direct access to the Spice Islands and the spice trade. The Cape of Good Hope was rounded by the Portuguese mariner Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, and India was reached via the same route by Vasco da Gama in 1498. For the first time the Europeans now had their own independent route to the Spice Islands.
Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain by John Darwin
Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, European colonialism, financial independence, friendly fire, full employment, imperial preference, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, Kowloon Walled City, land tenure, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, open economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, principal–agent problem, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Right to Buy, Scientific racism, South China Sea, special economic zone, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, union organizing
By the 1870s, every fifth ship at Calcutta was a British India steamship.73 Much of the rest of Mackinnon’s career was spent in the restless search for ways of extending this maritime empire, especially in East Africa, where, as a pious Scot, he was drawn by Livingstone’s grand project for promoting ‘Christianity, commerce and civilization’ to destroy paganism, slavery (and Muslim overrule). The sad end of this venture – the inglorious failure of his Imperial British East Africa Company – probably hastened his death. 9. Principal British trade routes and commodities, 1923 THE GOLDEN EMPORIUM Of course, the eastern economy was not just the handiwork of the India-based British. Around a vast arc of the southern oceans, from Natal to Fiji, Indian emigrant labour (some of it indentured and short-term) was vital to the growth of plantation economies. Indian merchants and money-lenders, like the Madras chettiars who followed the British into Burma,74 were indispensable commercial auxiliaries who were willing to work for much lower margins than their British counterparts.
Lugard also campaigned in the press and on the platform, invoking Britain’s anti-slavery mission to trump liberal unease. Uganda was duly annexed in 1894. Lugard now had the perfect credentials for a colonial proconsul. Another ex-soldier turned trader, George Goldie, had extracted a charter from London to defend Britain’s stake in the Niger valley against a commercial takeover by France. Goldie formed his Royal Niger Company in 1886. It used strong-arm methods to force open the trade routes into the Nigerian interior. By the mid 1890s, it was embroiled in all but a shooting war with French advance parties, moving south from the Sahel. Lugard’s task, as commander of Goldie’s private army, was to repel French influence and sign up local rulers to support the Company. When the armed struggle proved too much for the Company’s finances, its assets were nationalized (in 1898) and London took over.
As well as his and his family’s clothes, a medical chest and ‘civilized’ necessities such as coffee, sugar and tea, he would need some ‘equipment’ to make his presence effective: a stock of Bibles and books; the tools he would need for minimal self-sufficiency (spades, axes and saws) as well as those he would encourage his converts to use. The missionary could rarely operate very far from an established trade route or too far in advance of the trader’s frontier. Indeed it was sometimes convenient to become a trader himself. So determined was Samuel Marsden to rescue the Maori from the Prince of Darkness (his phrase) that he bought his own ship (he had become a rich man) and sailed the 1,200 miles from Sydney to the North Island of New Zealand to buy Maori flax in exchange for his trade goods. It was the way to win friends and Marsden quickly made contact with Maori communities around the North Island’s coast.
Lonely Planet China (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Shawn Low
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, bike sharing scheme, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, G4S, haute couture, haute cuisine, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Kickstarter, land reform, mass immigration, Pearl River Delta, place-making, Rubik’s Cube, 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.
Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips
algorithmic trading, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, corporate raider, creative destruction, 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, money market fund, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old-boy network, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, 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.
The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be by Moises Naim
additive manufacturing, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, business cycle, 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, creative destruction, crony capitalism, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, 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, intangible asset, intermodal, invisible hand, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, liberation theology, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, 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, zero-sum game
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 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.
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, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, liberation theology, retrograde motion, scientific worldview, 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.
The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey From Shetland to the Channel by David Gange
Such sites mark, therefore, the identity of the Outer Hebrides as an archipelagic frontier between societies. In the twentieth century, the papae were seen as holy men seeking a ‘desert place in the ocean’ and choosing these island sites because of their remoteness. But only a modern landlocked culture could misinterpret coastlines quite so drastically. Two things demolish that interpretation. One is the centrality of these islands to premodern trade routes. The ocean lanes now sometimes labelled ‘sea roads of the saints’ were general lines of travel for goods, ideas and people: these seas were society’s arteries. In later centuries Macleod lords set up home near two old Pabbays; historians long wrote of these lordly manors as sitting at ‘extreme outer limits of their territories’. It was an interpretive leap made in the 1980s that stopped seeing ‘second homes’ (where lords ‘got away from it all’) and recognised these islands as crucial sites for ruling sea realms.26 The second reason to reinterpret the papae sites is that these machair-rich islands are anything but ‘desert’: they’re often the richest landscapes in their region.
These fishers were seafarers, comfortable offshore. Sea travel was not, for them, as unwelcome a risk as it was in the minds of the first scholars to study them. Nor were they simple folk: their arrival on Scottish shores may have been caused by the expansion of large-scale maritime trading networks.2 As the archaeologist Hugh Carthy put it in 2011: ‘we appear seriously to have underestimated the extent and importance of coastal trade routes throughout the prehistory of western Europe, perhaps flippantly dismissing our ancestors as primitive hunter-gatherers’.3 This region, with its many shoreline niches for human exploitation, offers a vivid demonstration of the sea’s role as the cohesive element of the Mesolithic world. For every onshore structure dug up by Scotland’s archaeologists a hundred shipwrecks must lie at the bottom of such places: rowed, sailed and sunk during vast tracts of human history when boats and not buildings were humans’ primary tool against starvation and the elements.
Murray, 14; Orkney, 51–2, 57, 66, 86–7; in post-war Cornwall, 317–23, 324–5; Romantic poets, 131, 148; Shetland dialect poets, 25, 42, 54, 55; shieling songs and poems, 94–5; Simm’s otter poems, 175; Skye, 165, 175–8; Vagaland, 25–6, 40, 317; in Wales, 303–4, 306–10; of Western Isles, 93; wolves in, 136 poitín (home-made spirit), 220–1 Poldark (television series), 332 Pont, Timothy, 158 Pope, Alexander, 127 population density, 126–7 porphyry, 39 porpoises, 49, 167, 236, 272, 279, 333; as food, 276–7, 278–9 Porteous, William, 54, 55–6 Porter family of Enlli, 305 Portree (Skye), 181 potatoes, 111, 210, 214, 218, 228–9, 250 Praeger, Robert Loyd, 242–3 Presbyterians, Scottish, 219 primroses, 93 ptarmigan, 160, 180 puffins, 20, 32, 55, 55, 68, 87–8, 188, 227 Pwllheli (Wales), 292, 293, 294–5 Quandale, parish of (Rousay), 78–81 quartz, 33 quartzite, 126, 160 Quinag (A’ Chuinneag) (‘the Milk Churn’, mountain), 2, 3 Raasay, island of, 167 rabbits, 63, 65–6, 71, 228 racism, scientific, 190 Rackwick (‘Orkney riviera’), 83–5 railway boom (1830s), 5 Ramna Stacks, 32 Ramsbury, bishop of, 344 Rathlin lighthouse, 198 rats, 95 razorbills, 214, 271 Receivers of Wreck, 280 red fescue, 93 red ochre, 168 redstarts, 160 red-throated divers, 41 religion, 128, 219, 260–1, 304; mid-nineteenth century debates, 298–9; see also Catholicism; Celtic Christianity Renaissance, 189, 340 Rendall, Robert, Orkney Shore (1963), 67, 88 Rendall, Tommy, 68, 73 Ritchie, John, 11 Roan Inish, skerry of, 228 Robertson, Robin, ‘The Law of the Island’, 21–2 Robertson, Thomas, 34 Robinson, Mairead, 256–7, 259 Robinson, Tim, 256–7, 274–5, 310, 339, 340, 345; Connemara’s modern mapping, 240–1, 254, 256, 257, 258, 261; on Dún Aonghasa, 262; on imperial logic of mapping, 241–2; logic of attentive being, 265–7; noise of Atlantic coastlines, 85; as philosopher of place-lore, 256, 257, 258, 260, 263–4, 267–8; rejection of shore as boundary, 261; religion and secularism, 260–1 rock pipits, 277 Rodel (Harris coastal chapel), 172 Rognvald Kali Kolsson, Earl, 50–3, 60–1 Roman Britain, 209, 294 romanticism, 346–7; Celtic revival, 94–5; Cornish, 332; Romantic poets, 131, 148; and Shetland, 54; and Skye, 166, 182–3; of west of Scotland, 12 Rona, island of (Ronaidh an t’haf), 99, 167, 174 Ronas Voe (Shetland), 35 Ross, Mary, 282 Roundstone village (Connemara), 259 Rousay, island of, 59, 76–81, 86–7 Ruaidhrí, Patsaí Dan Mag (Thoraí island king), 225 Rullard’s Roost (tidal race), 59–60, 77 Rum, Isle of, 92, 180, 187, 190 Rumann mac Colmáin (poet), 273 Rusk Holm (Orkney skerry), 76–7 Ruvaal lighthouse, 198 rye, 220 Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (Skye), 165 Sakhalin Island, 248–9, 252 salmon, 236; farming of, 247 San Pellegrino of Ireland, 207 sand sedges, 93 sanderling, 254 Sandray (Sanndraigh), isle of, 116 sandstone, 33, 77, 82, 135 Sandwood Bay (near Cape Wrath), 310 Saro-Wiwa, Ken, 249–50, 251 Saunders, Gwenno, 316 Saurin, Amanda, 112–13 Saxa Vord (headland), 18 saxifrage, xi Scalloway (Shetland), 44 Scandinavia, xi, 168, 206; see also Norse world Scariff Island (County Kerry), 287 Schama, Simon, Landscape and Memory, 6 Schönberg, Arnold, 84 Scilly Isles, 333, 334, 335 Scoraig peninsula (Scotland), 153 Scotland: Act of Union (1707), 88, 128; ancient woodland, 157, 158, 159–60; Ardnamurchan coast, 187, 188; Argyll coastline, 198–204, 208; Balnakiel (near Cape Wrath), 123, 128–9, 172; Cape Wrath to Coigach, 123–4, 125, 132–4; clearances, 8, 127, 136, 188; conversion to strict Calvinism, 128; co-operative societies, 229, 230; deep sea lochs of west, 145; deforestation, 157–9; emptying of north-west, 152–3; first settlers, 167–70; geology/landscape in north-west, 123, 125–6, 130–3, 134, 135, 138–9, 145–9, 153–4; ‘Great Wilderness’, 153–6; ‘Highland problem’ as Enlightenment invention, 344; Highland sporting estates, 152–3, 154–5; historical sources for far north-west, 128, 130–2, 154; human traces/ruins, 123, 127, 136, 154, 155, 157–8; independence referendum (2014), 208; Industrial Revolution in, 157–9; land ownership today, 154; low treeline in mountain areas, 156–7; mountains of north-west, 2–3, 125–6, 134, 137, 145–6, 153, 155, 156, 157, 159–61; post-Culloden reign of terror, 129; steamers to Shetland, 26–7; stereotyping/mythologising of coastal communities, 11–12; urban Gaelic renaissance, 141–2; wildlife and flora of north-west, 125, 134–5, 139, 153, 156–7, 159–61; see also entries for islands and island groups; Sutherland Scotsman newspaper, 104 Scott, Walter, 182–3 Scottish Wildlife Trust, 135 sea clans, 171–4; stripped of power, 99–100, 173 sea conditions: death on the edge-zone, 236–7; as deceptive in changing weather, 28–9, 30, 40–1, 59–60; Dorus Mor tide, 193–4; at Foula, 55; late summer uncertainty, 59; noise of Atlantic coastlines, 83–7; Orkney tides, 19, 59–60, 75–7, 82–3; Outer Hebridean waves/rolling swell, 97–8; at Seven Stones, 335–6; shallow inshore in Hebrides, 97–8; Shetland tides, 19, 22–3, 27–30, 32, 36, 49, 50, 53, 75; tides of Hoy, 82–3; violence of waves, 18, 22; violent seas around Ireland, 228, 242–6, 266–8, 287; on Welsh coast, 293, 304 sea eagles, 7, 110, 135, 167 sea gooseberries, 110 Sea of Moyle, 229, 282 sea roads and trade routes: and early humans in Scotland, 168–9; historic sea links to China, xi, 206; in MacCaig’s verse, 137; Ness ships on, 101; of Norse world, 23, 50–1, 119–20, 172–3; plotted by ships of science, 240; revived during Donegal blockade, 230; role of in Mesolithic world, 168–70; in Shetland, 23, 26; South Atlantic sea route, 88; west coast of Ireland, 206, 211–13, 260 seabirds: breeding, 19; feathers as commodity, 117; as food, 11, 68, 70–1, 107; ground-nesting on Foula, 55; on Handa Island, 135, 137; in Ireland, 214, 215, 227, 228, 235, 236, 271, 283; ‘King Auk’, 62–3; on Orkney, 68, 70–1; on Shetland, 17, 20–2, 31–2, 38, 39, 42, 43, 46–8, 55–6; on Skye, 167, 168, 176, 178; Skye symbolism, 176; in Wales, 296; on Western Isles, 99, 107, 116, 117 Sealga, Loch na, 155, 156 seals, 81, 243, 246; killing of on Orkney, 68, 69–70; killing of on Papa Stour, 39 seaside resorts, 292–3, 310–11 seasons: autumn, 93–4, 116, 123–4; climbing in winter, 125–6, 145, 179–81; July as turn of British year, 17–18; late summer uncertainty, 59; spring, 188, 214, 227–8, 271; summer, 93–4, 315; winter, 18, 125–6, 155–6, 179–81, 187, 189, 293 Second World War, 317, 318, 321–2, 328, 332 secularism, 260–1, 297, 301 Sennen Cove (Cornwall), 333 Seven Stones (Cornish Atlantic), 334, 335–6 Severin, Tim, The Brendan Voyage (1978), 212 Sgoth Niseach (traditional Ness boat), 98, 108 Sgùrr Alasdair (Cuillin), 180–1 Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich (Cuillin), 181 Sgùrr na Banachdaich (Cuillin), 181 Sgùrr na Stri (Cuillin), 182 Sgùrr Thearlaich (Cuillin), 181 sharks, 17, 69, 139, 167, 254, 271–2 Sharp, William, 94 shearwaters, 236, 271 sheep, 40, 43–4, 46, 72, 76–7, 78, 96, 107, 117, 151, 156, 277 Shell (multinational company), 248–50, 251, 341 Shenavall bothy (Scotland), 153–6 Shetland Islands: arable land on Havera, 43, 47; boat design, 26–8, 29–31; coast of north mainland (Northmavine), 32–4; da roost (tide at Sumburgh Head), 27, 49, 50, 52; dialect tradition, 25, 31, 42, 53–4; drongs (sea stacks), 25, 48; Eshaness cliffs, 36–7; first newspapers, 53–4; Fitful Head, 49; geology/landscape, 18, 22, 25–6, 32–7, 38–40, 41–5, 48, 55–6, 75; Havera: The Story of an Island (2013), 41–2; history, 23, 24–31, 33–5, 39–40, 41–8, 52–3; human traces/ruins, 23, 24, 41, 43–7, 49, 50; intermixing of coast and culture, 24–6; Jarlshof Viking site, 50; and July’s double nature, 17–18; and Hugh MacDiarmid, 33–5; mountain heritage, 33, 75; Muckle Flugga, 18–22; Nort Atlantik term, 93; ocean floor, 33; Papa Stour caves, 38–9, 40; sea crossings, 75; sea fog (haa), 29, 40–1; sinking of coastline, 49; skerries, 5, 18–22, 23, 26; small boat tradition, 23, 24–31; St Magnus Bay, 36–7, 38–9, 40; steamers to Scottish mainland, 26–7; storms/shipwrecks in nineteenth-century, 27, 28–9, 30; Sumburgh Head, 27, 49, 50–2; tidal conditions, 19, 22–3, 27–30, 32, 36, 49, 50, 52, 75; tombolo beach, 49; violence of waves, 18, 22, 29–30; wildlife and flora, 17–18, 20–2, 31–2, 37–8, 41, 42, 43, 46–8, 50, 55–6; windmill on Havera, 43, 44–5, 47 Shiant Isles, 2, 99 Shieldaig (Scotland), 161 the shieling (Western Isles bothy), 94–5 Simm, Colin, 175 sixareens, 28, 29–31 Skea Skerries (Orkney), 76 Skellig Michael, skerry of, 283–7 the Skelligs, 277, 283–7 Skerryvore rock (Argyll), 198, 284 Skokholm (Pembrokeshire island), 291, 311 Skomer (Pembrokeshire island), 291, 311–12 skuas, 7, 17, 20, 38, 39, 47, 137 Skye, Ise of: Araidh na Suiridh, 94; ‘Battle of the Braes’, 177; bridge to mainland, 166; cattle-droving routes, 150–1; Cuillin, 176, 178, 179–82, 187; Dunnett and Adam reach, 193; Eyes on Skye community initiative, 166; fame as unique, 165; geology/landscape, 166–9, 174, 175–6, 177, 178, 179–82; ‘Glendale martyrs’, 177; history, 150–1, 165, 166; human traces/ruins, 167–71; in modern popular culture, 183; mountains, 3, 92, 176, 178, 179–82, 187; nineteenth-century land agitations, 165; poetry, 165, 175–8; politics, 176–8; ‘relict coastlines’, 167–9; Stallion Rock, 177, 178; and tourism, 165–6, 181–3; tradition of activism, 165, 166, 177; wildlife and flora, 167–9, 174–5, 176, 178, 180; as zoomorphic landscape, 176–8 slavery and British Empire, 88, 190 sleeping bag, 2, 35 Slieve league, sea cliffs of (County Donegal), 211 Sligo (Ireland), 237, 245 Slioch (‘the Spear’, mountain), 156, 157 Slyne Head lighthouse, 202 Smart, Borlase, 327 Smith, Brendan, 294 Smith, Brian, 53 Smith, Christine, 103 snipe, 198 snow buntings, 160 social inequality, 115, 177–8, 191–2; diet as marker of class, 127, 203; influence of new technologies, 343; shoreline sustenance associated with poverty, 127; and Trevelyan’s travels, 147–8, 152 social media, 9–10 socialism, 177–8 Society of Antiquaries, 44 Solnit, Rebecca, 7 Sound of Luing, 199 South Uist, 100, 109, 116–17 Spanish Armada, xi, 74–5 Spring, Dick, 248 Spring Rice, Thomas, 239 St Agnes (Cornwall), 324 St Boniface’s Kirk (Papay), 63–4 St Brendan, 118, 175, 212, 273, 284 St Columba (Colmcille), 118, 206, 214, 215, 225, 272–3, 284 St Cuthbert, 175 St David, 284 St Fionan, 272, 284 St George’s Channel, 291 St Gildas, 284 St Ives (Cornwall), 325–32, 333 St Kilda, 5, 8, 11, 99 St Ninian’s Isle, 48–9 St Patrick, 286 St Ronan, 98–9, 118 Stac Pollaidh (mountain), 2 Stac Clò Kearvaig, 134 Stafford, George Granville Leveson-Gower, marquis of, 127 Stags of Broadhaven, 243–6, 248 Stalin, Joseph, 178 Stenness Island, 36–7 Steven, Kenneth, 175 Stevenson family, 198 Stiùbhart, Domhnall Uilleam, 99 stone circles, 8 stonechats, 277 storm foul, 178 storm petrels, 1, 47 Stornoway, 97, 100, 105, 110, 132 Strathy Point lighthouse, 86 Stromeferry (Scotland), 152 Stromness (Orkney), 82, 83, 140–1 Stuart, house of, 100, 128–9 Styles, Harry, 183 Suilven (Sùilebheinn) (‘the Pillar’, mountain), 2, 3 Sula Sgeir, island of, 99, 107 Sula Stac, island of, 99 Summer Isles (Scotland), 1–3, 333 supernatural and the uncanny: Chamberlain’s Tide Races (1962), 302–3; mounds in landscape, 79–80 Sutherland: clearances, 127, 136; coastal mountains, 125–6; eighteenth-century communication lags, 129; and isolation, 188; and Jacobite cause, 128–9; low population density, 126–7; and Norman MacCaig, 121, 124, 137–40, 142; offshore skerries at Cape Wrath, 134; and urban Gaelic renaissance, 141–2; wildlife and flora, 134–5 Sutherland, Alex, 154 Swinburne, Algernon Charles, 333 Taobh Tuath (Lewis), 109 Taransay (Harris), 118 ‘taskscape’, 79 Telford, Thomas, 141 Tennyson, Alfred, 333 terns, 32, 38, 43, 227 thalassophobia, 170, 205 Thomas, Antonia, 80–1 Thomas, Edward, 94 Thomas, Keith, 6 Thomas, R.S., 303–4, 308 Thompson, Sydney Mary, 282 Thomson, David, The People of the Sea, 246 Thomson, Willie, 66 timber trade, 157 Tobermory (Mull), 195, 196–7 Tocqueville, Alexis de, 218 Thoraí (Tory Island) (County Donegal), 214–23; island king, 215, 218, 223, 225, 226; lack of tourist infrastructure, 225–6; lighthouse, 198, 204; resistance to island’s emptying, 223–5; sean-nós (song style), 223; seasonal migration to Scotland, 229; as site of unfinished histories, 226; tradition of art, 223–5 Torridon range, 3, 161 tourism, 345; in Aran Islands, 262; in Cornwall, 312, 315–16, 325, 326; gulf between communities and visitors, 292; opening of Skye to visitors, 165–6, 181–3; in Wales, 292–3, 310–12 Traills (Orcadian laird family), 73–4, 88 transhumance customs, 94–5 transport: decline of boat travel, 6; mainland arteries, 5, 325–7 trees: ancient pinewoods, 157, 158, 159, 160; deforestation, 157–9, 175; low treeline in Scottish mountain areas, 156–7; on Skye, 167–8, 169 trefoils, 23, 94 Trevelyan, G.M., 6, 146–9, 152, 258 Trevose Head (Cornwall), 316 Tristan and Isolde myth, 333, 334 Tuatha Dé Danaan (mythological Irish race), 213 Turner, J.M.W., 182–3 A Turning Tide in the Life of Man (film, 2014), 264 Ùig (Skye), 100 Uist (Western Isles), 22–3, 100, 109, 111–12, 115, 116–17, 204 Ullapool (Scotland), 3–4, 124, 140–2 Ulster, province of, 118, 134; historical significance of coast, 205–9; see also Donegal, County (province of Ulster); Thoraí (Tory Island) (County Donegal) Underhoull (Shetland site), 23 Unst, island of, 22–3, 28–30, 32, 39–40 urban society, 141–2, 268, 339, 340, 341, 343, 344–6 Urquhart, Robert, 141–2 Vagaland (Thomas Alexander Robertson), 25–6, 40, 317 Valentia Island, 279–82 Vallay, island of, 111 Ve Skerries, 39 Viking heritage see Norse world voles, 95, 160 Wales: Anglo-Welsh ‘islomania’, 291, 295–6; and ‘Atlantic Arc’ idea, 295; Bae Ceredigion (Cardigan Bay), 291–2, 311; and Celtic Christianity, 296, 297–9, 301–4, 305; force of sea in winter, 293; geology/landscape, 295–6; Gorsedd festivals, 324; history, 292–3, 294–5, 296–302, 306–10, 311; human culture of coastlines, 293–5; human presence on coastlines, 292–3, 310–12; kingdom of Dyfed, 294; Llyn Peninsula, 291, 293, 295, 299–300; mixed essences of, 291, 293, 295–6; Pembrokeshire islets, 291, 311–12; St David’s Peninsula, 294; tourism in, 292–3, 310–12; Welsh language place names, 293–4, 296; wildlife and flora, 295–6, 307–8 walking: coastal walking routes, 9; in ‘Great Wilderness’, 153, 156; and Haldane, 149, 150; as research, 6, 7, 146–9, 257, 258–9; and Tim Robinson, 258–9; and Trevelyan, 146–9 Wallen, Errollyn, 86, 87 HMS Wasp, 215 Water Witch (sixareen), 30 Watt, Henry, North Sea (1939), 11 weather and climate, 336; and clothing decisions, 35; as deceptive in changing weather, 36; and deceptive seas conditions, 28–9, 30, 36, 40–1, 59–60; Europe’s ‘little ice age’, 49–50; July in Shetland, 17, 23–4, 28–9, 31; ocean as ecosystem, 343; prevailing sou’westerlies, 24; sea fog (haa) on Shetland, 29, 40–1; ‘Storm King’ on Shetland, 55–6; storms in nineteenth-century Shetland, 27, 28–9, 30 web resource, xii Wedgwood, Veronica, 148–9 Weisdale (Shetland), 44 Wellington, Duke of, 239 Welsh language, 4, 10, 293–4, 305–6; and oceanic geographies, 294–5; and slate industry, 246 West Africa, 169–70 West Burra, island of, 27 West Skerry, island of, 43 Western Isles, 1; active practice of history on, 104–14; broadcasting and publishing, 109; calcareous shell-sand, 93, 94, 95; clearances, 8, 95, 96, 100–1, 102; coffin roads and coffin ships, 96; competition for rich coastal land, 94; ‘Comuinn Eachdraidh’ (historical societies) in, 104–9, 112, 113, 115, 212; Cuan Siar term, 93; destigmatising of tradition, 107–8, 112–13; dramatic rejuvenation since 1970s, x, 91; early-medieval ‘thalassocracies’, 91; and Enlightenment ‘progress’, 95, 111–12, 258; farming on, 94–5, 96, 111–13, 116–17, 119–20; and Gaelic language, 72, 91, 93, 99, 100, 102, 104–5, 107–10; Gaelic language in, 72, 91, 93, 99, 100, 102, 104–5, 107–10; geology/landscape, 91–2, 93–4, 95–6, 98–9, 116; history, 94–5, 96, 98–100, 104–8; human traces/ruins, 96, 98, 99, 116–17, 119; illicit distilling on, 117; Industrial Revolution in, 100; infrastructure of Gaelic community, 109; lack of inscriptions, 92; linn nan creach (time of raids), 100; local government reform (1970), 105; machair (flowering grassland), 93, 96, 111, 112, 119, 227; mid-twentieth-century depression, 102; oral culture, 92, 99, 102, 106–7, 112; ‘papa’ sites, 117–20; poetry of, 93; potato blight of 1840s, 111; relationship of land with sea, 93–4; respect for unquiet ocean, 97–8; sea clans stripped of power, 99–100; small-scale crofting, 111–12, 115; sunsets and dawns, 96, 116; waves/rolling swell, 97–8; wildlife and flora, 93–4, 95–6, 110–11, 112–13, 116–17 Westray, island of, 60–1, 67–75 whales, 19, 49, 50, 167, 272–6, 280–1 Whalsay, island of, 26 wheatears, 42 Whitbread family, 153 White, Ben, 126 wild thyme, 112–13 wild-cats, 125 Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, 311–12 Williamson, Gideon, 44 Williamson, Laurence, 54 Wilson, Brian, Blazing Paddles: A Scottish Odyssey, 197 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 172 wolves, 136 Woolf, Virginia, 316–17, 326, 330 Wordsworth, William, 130, 148 wrens, 153, 277 Yarner Wood (Dartmoor), 160 Yeats, W.B., 250–1 Yell, island of, 23, 29, 32 Youth Hostel Association, 148 Zennor (Cornwall), 320 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO know how to approach the acknowledgements required in a project like this, since the whole thing would never have got going, and would have fallen apart many times thereafter, were it not for the kindness of multitudes of friends and strangers.
Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Shaped the Modern World - and How Their Invention Could Make or Break the Planet by Jane Gleeson-White
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, British Empire, business cycle, 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, Johannes Kepler, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, means of production, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, Ponzi scheme, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, source of truth, 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.
Empires of the Weak: The Real Story of European Expansion and the Creation of the New World Order by Jason Sharman
British Empire, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, death of newspapers, European colonialism, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, land tenure, offshore financial centre, passive investing, Peace of Westphalia, performance metric, profit maximization, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, spice trade, trade route, transaction costs
Instead, in Africa and Asia, the process of expansion owed much more to European submission than dominance. Particularly when they encountered Eastern empires far mightier than any European great power of the day, Europeans had little choice but to pay deference. Though they were quick to use violence whenever they thought they could get away with it, more important than military prowess in explaining expansion was the coincidence whereby Europeans’ goals were largely maritime—trade routes and port outposts—whereas local great powers were concerned with controlling land and territory, but largely indifferent to the seas. These complementary preferences allowed for a rough- and-ready coexistence. In addition, European ventures in the East and the Atlantic world were crucially reliant on the cultivation of local allies, patrons, and vassals. Finally, in the Americas, various pandemics allowed European adventurers to destroy local empires, though these well-known triumphs were balanced by lesser-known defeats.
But in the main, Europeans were realistic that they stood little chance of mastering foes who could put far superior forces in the field against them, and so Europeans deferred to the authority of Asian empires. Aside from military calculations, Europeans also depended on access to Asian markets much more than vice versa. The Mughals, Japanese, Chinese, and others could bring the Europeans to heel simply by refusing to trade with them. For their part, the polities of the region had little desire to contest Westerners’ efforts to establish control of key trade routes, resulting in a rough modus vivendi sometimes referred to as an “age of contained conflict.”139 CHAPTER TWO Company Sovereigns and the Empires of the East THE BEGINNING of the seventeenth century saw the arrival of a new type of European actor in Asia: the chartered company or “company sovereign,” epitomized by the Dutch and English East India Companies. The company sovereigns (of which the English and Dutch enterprises were only two of many others) present a puzzle.
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, Kickstarter, 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.
The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations? by Ian Bremmer
affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global reserve currency, global supply chain, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, race to the bottom, reserve currency, risk tolerance, shareholder value, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, tulip mania, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
Generally speaking, Europe’s mercantilists had two methods of increasing their stockpiles: by building a positive trade balance (more gold coming in than going out) and by conquering the lands where new reserves were discovered. The latter was a powerful incentive for financing an age of exploration. Privately funded ventures like the merchant Marco Polo’s gave way to state-subsidized projects led by explorers like Columbus, Vasco da Gama, John Cabot, and Magellan, men charged with opening new trade routes and helping their benefactors amass new wealth—and in some cases, new territory. The acquisition of new land brought fresh supplies of raw materials with which to produce goods for export in return for more gold. Conflicts over trade routes and colonies became inevitable.11 So did transatlantic slavery. Growing bureaucracies, colonialism, and trade competition stoked conflicts. To thwart the efforts of competitors to build a positive trade balance, mercantilist governments imposed tariffs, taxes, and quotas on imports, particularly of manufactured goods, while promoting the interests of their export merchants through subsidies, tax rebates, and monopoly licenses.
Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity by Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods
Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, Law of Accelerating Returns, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, out of africa, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, smart cities, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, white flight, zero-sum game
But this period of time, now known as the Upper Paleolithic, was remarkable for more than just an upgrade in weapons and living conditions.35 It was around this time that we began to leave evidence of unique forms of cognition, especially our expanding social networks.36 Jewelry made from shells has been found hundreds of miles inland, implying that an object with no practical value was either worth carrying some distance or was obtained from someone else who had traveled on one of our first trade routes.37, 38 We painted animals on rocks so skillfully that the contours of the stone rippled beneath their bodies and gave them a third dimension. In what can be regarded as the creation of protocinema, a cave wall bears the illustration of a bison with eight legs that would have seemed to gallop in firelight. We even seem to have illustrated with sound: horses’ mouths open in a whinny, lions depicted in midroar, and rhinoceroses butting their heads ferociously enough that you can almost hear the clash of their horns.
And to do this they need institutional support,” says the urban planner Mai Nyugen. Nyugen suggests subsidized housing in the cities, or close to transit lines, that can efficiently move people to job centers. “Exposure creates tolerance,” she points out. Cities should be places where people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences can freely mix and exchange ideas. For our ancestors, these were settlements along trade routes, where far-flung travelers could share ideas, technology, and merchandise. For us, these are common areas—parks, cafés, theaters, restaurants—where we can meet and become familiar with neighborhood faces. Our habitat has changed, but we have not. We are at our most productive when we live in large, cooperative groups. We are at our most innovative when we exchange ideas with people from diverse backgrounds—even those with whom we vehemently disagree.
Salt: A World History 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, long peace, 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.
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, creative destruction, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, Edward Glaeser, energy security, failed state, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, Haber-Bosch Process, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, mass immigration, microcredit, oil shale / tar sands, old age dependency ratio, 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.
Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization by Iain Gately
Albert Einstein, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business climate, Cape to Cairo, financial independence, Francisco Pizarro, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, profit motive, surplus humans, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, women in the workforce
The description does not even mention the property of tobacco which had been a matter of universal comment in early European accounts – its ability to suppress the appetite. It is possible that in a country motivated by Zen and the spirit of minimalism, an antidote to gluttony was not a priority. In Japan, tobacco had been abstracted from the rituals of and reasons for its consumption, and it flourished in their absence. Tobacco arrived in many other Asian countries via the trans-Pacific trade route that the Spanish had opened up between Mexico and the Philippines in 1571. From the Philippines it was dispersed to Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Goa. From Goa its use spread rapidly throughout the Indian subcontinent, so that within a few years of its introduction an English ambassador to the court of the Great Mogul was able to report: ‘They sow tobacco in vast plenty and smoke it much.’
Actions taken by tobacco companies have included facilitating the availability of cigarettes to smugglers, sometimes by building warehouses close to borders with poor customs control. Even government-owned tobacco companies, fearful of missing opportunities, have participated in ‘General Trade’ as the market for smuggled cigarettes is known. For example, Japanese International Tobacco, a state-owned behemoth with more than half of the Japanese market, sells most of its cigarettes into Taiwan via the UK and Switzerland using the General Trade route to circumvent an embargo on imports ex-Japan. Eighty-six per cent of Japanese International Tobacco’s sales volume in Taiwan in 1993 was General Trade. Tobacco is the contraband of choice all over the world. Real camels carry loads of their namesake along the ancient silk route. Cigarette adverts with the useful reminder ‘Available in Duty Free’ appear in countries where the product is not officially available anywhere else.
Reynolds 212, 223–4, 274–5, 316, 334–5 Highly Leveraged Transaction, target for 335–6 Roberts, Julia 349 Robinson, Edward, G. 250 rock ’n’ roll 270–1, 312 Rogers, Sir Philip 294 Rolfe, John 70–2, 74, 80, 105 Rolling Stones 299 Roman Catholic clergy and snuff 36, 80 Röntgen, Wilhelm 218 Roosevelt, Eleanor 252 Roosevelt, Franklin 257 Roosevelt, Theodore 222 Rosenblatt, Stanley 356 Rosie, George 261–2 Rousseau 132 Rowlands, Samuel 49 Royal College of Physicians 292 Royal Navy 102, 104, 141 tobacco rations 232 Vigo, battle of 120–1 Russia 85, 93, 94–5, 258, 261, 269, 270, 337–8 Napoleon’s blockade, resistance to 145 Napoleon’s defeat 152 Napoleon’s invasion 145–6 Peter’s beard tax 95 smoking habits 146, 337 Russian Orthodox Church 94–5 Ryamin, Valery 337 Saba 84 Saddam Hussein 341 Saigon 91 St Croce, Prospero 40 St Eustatius 84 St Kitts 76–7 St Maarten 84 Saka, Dr 57 Salons, The (Baudelaire) 180 Saluzzo, Bishop of 40 San Agustín 51 San Francisco 44 see also United States of America San Salvador 22 Sands of Iwo Jima, The 268 Sandwich Islands 171 Santa Fe, California 166 Santa Maria, capture of 56 Santo Domingo 51, 79 Sassoon, Siegfried 232, 233 Saturday Night Fever 313 Saturday Night and Sunday Morning 281 Sauckel, Gauleiter Fritz 263 Saxony 95 Schairer, Eberhard 255 Schöniger, Eric 255 Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) 346 Scotland 100–5 colonization attempt 102 Edinburgh 100 England, union with 104 Glasgow 105, 140–1 Highlands 100–2 Lowlands 102 slave trade 105 tobacco growing 141 Scott, Captain Robert Falcon 219 Scott, Sir Walter 159 Scouting for Boys (Baden-Powell) 217 Scuttertnull of Glen Moran (legend) 101–2 Sears, Roebuck & Co. 225 SEITA 180–1 Serbia 231 Serturner, Friedrich Wilhelm 161 Seven Years War 136, 137 Seville 80, 115 Fabrica del Tobacos 115–16, 146–7, 177–9 Sex Pistols 314 Shakespeare, William 50, 78, 83 shamans 6–7, 8, 9–10, 27, 283 Shaw, George Bernard 220 Shelley, Percy 159 Siberia 87 Sirius convict ship 134 slavery and the slave trade 63–4, 77, 106, 110–13, 138, 183–4 abolition of in USA 184 American tobacco plantations, life on 111–12 Dickens offended by 176–7 Dutch 84 names, choosing of 112 Scots 105 tobacco as trigger 73 Small Faces 299 Smith, Adam 126 Smith, Captain John 72 smoke-blowing ritual 7 smoking: age barriers among Victorians 193 apparel 158 arts, represented in 82–3, 220, 280–1 children, warnings to 194 curiosity to craze, change from, in England 46 decline during nineties 345 divans 159 English rituals 47 films, portrayed in 246–51, 267–8, 271, 348–50 product placement 331–4 giving-up-smoking books, courses and counselling 310–11 health issues 274, 283, 321 see also lung cancer health warnings 296–7, 302, 309, 311 ‘It Girls’ 240 Johnson’s observation 123 meditation link 97 no-smoking areas 306–7, 310, 341 London Underground trains 341 opposition 195–6, 215–18, 229–31, 241, 317, 320 propaganda battle 347 passive (Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)) 329–31, 346–7 cot death 346 punishments: China 86–7 Islamic countries 86 Japan 86 Lüneburg (Lower Saxony) 95 Persia 92 Russia 85 ‘reeking gallants’ 47 ritual blowing 7 scientific research 161–3, 218, 255, 315, 318–19, 321 segregation 158 smoking rooms 193 teenage females, proportion of smokers rises in UK 351 tribal customs, North America 17 versus snuff 123–4 see also cigarettes; cigars; nicotine; pipes; tobacco Smoking and Health (Royal College of Physicians) 292 Smoking and Health Now (Royal College of Physicians) 311 Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service (USA) 292–3 ‘Smoking Kills’ (White Paper) 352, 353 smuggling 98–9, 358–60 snuff 4, 7, 9, 31–2, 42, 63, 80, 117–24 adulteration 122, 124 boxes 101 Brummell 154 English etiquette 121, 152, 154 Fabrica del Tobacos, Seville 115–16 French fashion 119 in Ireland 101 Martinique blend 154 as medicine 124 Morocco blend 154 ‘Nicotian Herb’ 40 in Prussia 117 in Scotland 100–1 ‘snuffy [Queen] Charlotte’ 138, 154 taxes 124 versus smoking 123–4 snuffing machines 9 Sofala 59 Solly, Samual 195 Song of Hiawatha, The (Longfellow) 168 South Africa 361 Spain 43–4, 113–15, 146–8, 357–8 Armada 56 bandoleros 149–50 Bible and fairy-tale morality 23 Bonaparte, Joseph, as king 146 Britain’s 1808 expeditionary force 150 Caribbean islands’ population, extermination of 25 conquistadores 21, 25 Aztec temples, overthrow of 30 contraband under French rule 149 crown’s regulations in colonies 113 decree limiting tobacco growing 79–80 disease, spreaders of 25–6 Ferdinand and Isabella 21, 22 Inca, subduing and extermination of 9, 34–5 infidels, cruel towards 23 Inquisition 115 papelote, punishments for using 148–9 population’s tobacco preferences 147–8 slaughter, Biblical ‘justification’ for 25 Tabacalera (tobacco company) 80 tobacco, growing techniques 71–2 trans-Pacific trade route 58 Venezuela, tobacco production banned in 113–14 Vigo, battle of 120–1 Spanish Inquisition 115 Spenser, Edmund 49 sports sponsorship 207, 298, 313 Formula One 353 Sri Lanka 58, 90 Stalin, Joseph 265 Stallone, Sylvester 332–3 Stanley, Henry 200 Stephen Mitchell & Sons 213 Strychnine 162 Sublime Tobacco (Mackenzie) 283 Sunday, Billy 241 Superman II 331–2 supernatural forces 6 Swanson, Gloria 247 Sweden 81 Switzerland 43, 95 Sydney Opera House 135 syphilis 27 Tabacalera (tobacco company) 80 Tachard, Guy 89 Tahiti 127, 128–9, 131–3, 135–6 as New Scythera 133 Taiwan 337, 359 Talleyrand-Périgord, Charles Maurice de 164 Tatler 121 taxation of tobacco 69, 85, 104, 208, 209, 255, 312, 353–4, 358–60 taxonomy 118 Team Lotus 298 television 276–7 cigarette advertising banned in UK 297 cigarette advertising banned in USA 309 commercial, in UK 278 soap operas 276 sponsorship of shows 277 television ads banned in Japan 357 temperance movement 195, 216, 241, 294, 351 Tempest, The (Shakespeare) 78 Teniers, David, the Younger 82 Tennessee 216 Tennyson, Lord Alfred 187 Terry, Luther 292–3 Tess of the D’Urbevilles (Hardy) 192 Tezcatlipoca 13 Thackeray, William 159 Thailand 58, 359 Thevet, André 33 Thirty Years War 81 Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (Freud) 228 Thunderball 284 Thurman, Uma 349 To Have and Have Not 267 Tobacco Industry Research Committee (USA) 288 Tobacco Smoking and Cancer of Lung 286 tobacco: addiction 25, 68, 226, 314–15, 317–19, 324, 340–1 additives 211 adulteration by apothecaries 51–2 bandoleros 149–50 Bright 211 British Empire, growing encouraged throughout 199 British excise bill and consequent riots 124 Burley 211 cancer, potential cure for 39–40 see also lung cancer Cartier’s description 31 centre of origin 3 chewing 7–8, 173–6, 339 ingredients 175 Chinese medicine 58 Christians’ spiritual aversion 27 cleansing and fertility 5 clyster 8, 186 companies as targets for Highly Leveraged Transaction (HLT) 335–6 company diversification 335 consumption leaps in industrial world 219–20 cost 42–3, 50–1 as currency 108 Devil, association with 38, 41, 67 domestic production 43 Double Happiness brand 303 as drink 7, 8 duty raised in USA 216 enemas 8, 186, 196 English import statistics 51 essence de tabac 162 Europeans, first to smoke 23 exchange, instrument of 88 first smoking of 4 flavour enhancers 19 as fumigant 5 habit spread by seamen 56–7 as hallucinogen 5 home growing See Appendix 1 as hunger suppressant 10, 24, 245, 351 as insecticide 5 as intoxicant 46 James I’s prohibition 78–9 law suits 289, 294, 355 legends 91 Scottish 101–2 licking 8–9 longevity claim 96 Master Settlement Agreement 355–6 Mayan farms 11 medicinal use 5–6, 16–17, 41 in animals 41 in bubon-c plague 83–4, 96 military rations 231–2 Monardes’ pamphlet 40–1 name, etymological debate about 32–3 Napoleon I’s influence 144 Nicotiana: benthamiana 130 excelsior 130 gossei 130 ingulba 130 Linnaeus’s taxonomy 118 rustica 2, 3, 118 tabacum 2, 3, 70, 118 Orinoco brand 74, 84, 100, 102 oversupply and consequent price drop 106–7 papelote 148–9, 179 becomes ‘cigarette’ 179 ‘picado’ (minced) 147 Piedmont leaf 184 pigtail 186 Prince Albert brand 223 prohibition of sale to young in UK 217–8 prohibition, first ever 36 religious attitudes 65–6 as rite of passage 5 ritual 7, 9, 89 salaries paid in 107–8 Salem brand 303 sex, association with 177–8 shag 186 shamans 6–7, 8, 9–10, 27, 283 Silk Cut 87 Skoal Bandits 339 slave trade, introduction of 73 smuggling 98–9, 358–60 ‘sotweed’ tag 46 Southern States growers’ co-operatives 221 spiritual functions 54 spittoons 174, 175 sports sponsorship 207, 298, 313 Formula One 353 taxation 69, 85, 104, 208, 209, 255, 312, 353–4, 358–60 twist 186 Vatican crop 40 war causes demand 146, 302 ‘yallacure’ 184, 210 youth market targeted by manufacturers 316–17 see also cigarettes; cigars; nicotine; pipes; smoking; snuff Todd, Geoffrey 294 Tolstoy, Leo 145 Tom Jones (Fielding) 122 Tophane 94 Torres Strait 91 Torres, Luis de 23, 24 Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de 220 Trafalgar, battle of 145 Travis, Dave Lee 339 Travolta, John 349 Tropic of Cancer 90 Twain, Mark 175–6 Tyler, John 175 Under Two Flags (Ouida) 197 United States of America 140–1 Castro, attempt to overthrow 309 child smokers 216 cigarette consumption, fall in 213 cigarette consumption, growth in 205, 209, 212 cigarette habit, nation dismayed by 205 Civil War 184 Declaration of Independence 140 diplomatic relations with Britain’s enemies, establishment of 141 Lewis and Clark 164–5 Louisiana Purchase 164 migration west 165–6 tobacco duty raised 216 tobacco exports 141 War of Independence 140–3 Treaty of Paris 142–3 USA Today 348 Utopia (More) 77 van Gough, Vincent 220 Van Riebeck, Jan 89 Vanity Fair (Thackeray) 156, 159 Vauquelin, Nicolas 162 Venezuela 27, 79 tobacco production banned 113–14 Venice 183 tobacco tariff 80 Venitia 182 Vespucci, Amerigo 32 Vicious, Sid 314 Victoria, Queen 173 Vietnam 91 War 302–3 Vigo 120–1 Vile Bodies (Waugh) 240 Virginia 53–5, 107–8 Britain’s firing of tobacco fields 142 Company 69–70 dissolved by James I 74–5 first tobacco taken to London 72 Orinoco brand 74, 84, 100, 102 population growth 105 slaves 110 thriving tobacco trade 105 tobacco, French preference for 181 Tobacco Inspection Act (Virginia) 108 tobacco, salaries paid in 107–8 see also United States of America Volstead Act (USA) 241 Wagner, Honus 223 Wahlstatt, Field Marshal Prince Blucher 152, 159 Wales 103 Walker, John 202 Wallis, Captain Samuel 127 Walpole, Horace 136 War and Peace (Tolstoy) 145–6 Washington, George 136, 137, 139 Waterloo 156–7 Waugh, Evelyn 240, 251 Wayne, John 268 W.
Dawn of Detroit by Tiya Miles
However, we can read into the silences in this regional history a pattern that has been confirmed in the southern states. In the U.S. South, white men developed an extremely profitable “fancy trade” in which African American women, most often of mixed-race ancestry, were sought for sexual slavery. Marketed at exorbitant prices, these women referred to as “fancy girls” or “fancy maids,” were sexually abused by slave dealers in slave pens, markets and prisons along trade routes, as well as by a string of buyers. While we do not have a record as explicit in its ugliness as that which exists in the South, this particular order for young girls in Askin’s letter whispers of unseemly ends, especially when viewed in the context of the numerous Native women who were bearing babies to unknown fathers in Detroit. We have now come to recognize the horrendous trials and compromised survival strategies of “fancy girls” in the southern slaveocracy.
When the Moravians finally reached “the city” and saw “the whole country round about, on both sides [of] the river . . . about a mile wide,” they had passed through a territory made wild by the vagaries of a natural water-rich environment as well as by the vicissitudes of an unpredictable war.76 The Moravians had likewise passed through lands inhabited by indigenous people whose villages and trade routes surrounded Detroit from as near as the Detroit River to the southern reaches of Ohio and into the Cherokee territory of the Southeast. The scene was similar far north of Detroit where Fort Michilimackinac was situated and far west of the city at the southeastern shores of Lake Michigan: Native people and Native lands encompassed Detroit, a center for distributing goods, passing information, and crafting wartime strategy that pulled in people of various colors, cultures, and creeds.
Anne’s Church Records, Reel 1, VII, 1744–1780. 88. James Sterling to Ensign J. S. Schlosser, June 12, 1762, Sterling Letter Book. I am grateful to Jonathan Quint for pointing out the reference to Native women in this letter. 89. Dowry: Crouch, “Black City,” 25; James Sterling to [?], February 26, 1765, Sterling Letter Book; quoted in Marrero, “Founding Families,” 281; Marrero, “Founding,” 282–83. 90. Independent trade routes: Crouch, “Black City,” 25. 91. Crouch, “Black City,” 1, 4; James Sterling to [?], Sept 29, 1765, Sterling Letter Book. Christian Crouch was the first to analyze Sterling’s preference for black male laborers. In her paper, “The Black City,” she carefully considers and leaves open the question of why Sterling preferred black male laborers, speculating that black men had a greater facility in travel because of a learned ability to get along with native people lacking in white men like Morrison. 92.
The Regency Revolution: Jane Austen, Napoleon, Lord Byron and the Making of the Modern World by Robert Morrison
British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, financial independence, full employment, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, land tenure, Mahatma Gandhi, New Urbanism, railway mania, stem cell, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, urban planning, wage slave
With Hemans and Haydon on one side, and Byron on the other, Regency artists and writers defined the terms of the debate about the Parthenon Marbles that continues to inflame opinion today and that raises crucial legal and moral questions about history, museum stewardship, cultural commodification, and postcolonial restitution.33 The Greek government has repeatedly asked for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. They remain in the British Museum. IV In pursuit of wealth and treasure, Britons also traveled far beyond the Levant. The British East India Company was the largest and most powerful multinational corporation in the world. Founded in 1600, it had by the time of the Regency transformed itself from a mercantile body into an empire builder, with a vast series of highly lucrative trade routes under its control and hundreds of thousands of people in its employ, including the soldiers of its own private army. India, with its rich stores of silk, cotton, tea, coffee, and spices, was the company’s most prized possession, and from its base in Calcutta (as it was then known), it extended its influence across the subcontinent until, in the Regency, it achieved a stranglehold. In 1813, when the East India Company’s charter was renewed, the British government granted Christian missionaries permission to proselytize throughout India, and a year later the Church of England consecrated Thomas Fanshaw Middleton as the first bishop of Calcutta, a diocese that included the whole of India.
Probably the oldest drug known to humankind, it is obtained by slightly incising the unripe seed capsules of the poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. The East India Company exported it from Bengal to China, and then used the revenue from the sales to buy Chinese luxury items like spices, ivories, porcelain, silk, and, especially, tea, all of which were in great demand in Regency Britain. Better, shorter, and more well-established trade routes, however, meant that Turkey supplied the vast majority of the opium consumed in Britain. Turkish opium was also a good deal stronger than the Indian variety. Opium pills were available, but most people consumed the drug as “laudanum,” a tincture “made by pouring the best French brandy, or spirits of wine, upon crude Opium.” The drug was an unremarkable part of daily life in the Regency. It was cheaper than beer or gin.
Britain extended its reach in West Africa even further in 1816 when its soldiers moved from Sierra Leone north to The Gambia, purchased St. Mary’s Island from the chief of Kombo, and founded the town of Bathurst (Banjul). Named after the colonial secretary, Henry Bathurst, third Earl Bathurst, it became for Britain another power base from which its ships checked the slave trade, its merchants explored trade routes and opportunities, and its missionaries promulgated European ideals and the Christian faith. In the West Indies, meanwhile, it was business as usual. British plantation owners had increased their numbers of enslaved people prior to the passage of abolition, and thus continued the frequently barbaric exploitation of black women, men, and children in order to produce two major Regency commodities: rum and sugar.
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, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sceptred isle, 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.
Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa by Martin Meredith
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.
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, lateral thinking, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, 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.
The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire by Wikileaks
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, drone strike, 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, Kickstarter, liberal world order, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, Philip Mirowski, 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, zero-sum game, 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?
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, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, Red Clydeside, Ronald Reagan, Skype, special economic zone, trade route, urban renewal, WikiLeaks
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.
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict From 1500 to 2000 by Paul Kennedy
agricultural Revolution, airline deregulation, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, floating exchange rates, full employment, German hyperinflation, imperial preference, industrial robot, joint-stock company, laissez-faire capitalism, long peace, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, night-watchman state, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, oil shock, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, stakhanovite, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, zero-sum game
To readers brought up to respect “western” science, the most striking feature of Chinese civilization must be its technological precocity. Huge libraries existed from early on. Printing by movable type had already appeared in eleventh-century China, and soon large numbers of books were in existence. Trade and industry, stimulated by the canal-building and population pressures, were equally sophisticated. Chinese cities were much larger than their equivalents in medieval Europe, and Chinese trade routes as extensive. Paper money had earlier expedited the flow of commerce and the growth of markets. By the later decades of the eleventh century there existed an enormous iron industry in north China, producing around 125,000 tons per annum, chiefly for military and governmental use—the army of over a million men was, for example, an enormous market for iron goods. It is worth remarking that this production figure was far larger than the British iron output in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, seven centuries later!
To take one specific and obvious instance, it was inconceivable in the fractured political circumstances of Reformation Europe that everyone would acknowledge the pope’s 1494 division of the overseas world into Spanish and Portuguese spheres—and even less conceivable that an order banning overseas trade (akin to those promulgated in Ming China and Tokugawa Japan) would have had any effect. The fact was that in Europe there were always some princes and local lords willing to tolerate merchants and their ways even when others plundered and expelled them; and, as the record shows, oppressed Jewish traders, ruined Flemish textile workers, persecuted Huguenots, moved on and took their expertise with them. A Rhineland baron who overtaxed commercial travelers would find that the trade routes had gone elsewhere, and with it his revenues. A monarch who repudiated his debts would have immense difficulties raising a loan when the next war threatened and funds were quickly needed to equip his armies and fleets. Bankers and arms dealers and artisans were essential, not peripheral, members of society. Gradually, unevenly, most of the regimes of Europe entered into a symbiotic relationship with the market economy, providing for it domestic order and a nonarbitrary legal system (even for foreigners), and receiving in taxes a share of the growing profits from trade.
In the sixteenth century, indeed, “to most European statesmen the loss of Hungary was of far greater import than the establishment of factories in the Orient, and the threat to Vienna more significant than their own challenges at Aden, Goa and Malacca; only governments bordering the Atlantic could, like their later historians, ignore this fact.”28 Yet when all these reservations are made, there is no doubt that the development of the long-range armed sailing ship heralded a fundamental advance in Europe’s place in the world. With these vessels, the naval powers of the West were in a position to control the oceanic trade routes and to overawe all societies vulnerable to the workings of sea power. Even the first great clashes between the Portuguese and their Muslim foes in the Indian Ocean made this clear. No doubt they exaggerated in retrospect, but to read the journals and reports of da Gama and Albuquerque, describing how their warships blasted their way through the massed fleets of Arab dhows and other light craft which they encountered off the Malabar coast and in the Ormuz and Malacca roads, is to gain the impression that an extraterrestrial, superhuman force had descended upon their unfortunate opponents.
The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World by Peter Frankopan
active measures, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, cashless society, clean water, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, global supply chain, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, land reform, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, Nelson Mandela, purchasing power parity, ransomware, Rubik’s Cube, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, trade route, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, urban planning, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game
We are living through a transformation and a shift that is epochal in its scale and character, similar to what happened in the decades that followed the crossing of the Atlantic by Columbus and those who soon followed him, and the near-simultaneous rounding of the southern tip of Africa by Vasco da Gama that opened up new maritime trade routes between Europe, the Indian Ocean, South Asia and beyond. Those twin expeditions, just over 500 years ago, laid the ground for a dramatic shift in the world’s centre of economic and political gravity, placing western Europe at the heart of global trade routes for the first time in history.74 Something similar is happening today, albeit in reverse. Asia and the Silk Roads are rising – and they are rising fast. They are not doing so in isolation from the west, nor even in competition with it. In fact, quite the opposite: Asia’s rise is closely linked with the developed economies of the United States, Europe and beyond.
The Return of Marco Polo's World: War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-First Century by Robert D. Kaplan
Admiral Zheng, always be closing, California gold rush, collective bargaining, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, Haight Ashbury, kremlinology, load shedding, mass immigration, megacity, one-China policy, Parag Khanna, Pax Mongolica, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, trade route, Westphalian system, Yom Kippur War
This is no coincidence. The Mongols, whose Yuan Dynasty ruled China in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, were, in fact, “early practitioners of globalization,” seeking to connect the whole of habitable Eurasia in a truly multicultural empire. And Yuan China’s most compelling weapon was—despite the Mongols’ bloody reputation—not the sword but trade: gems, fabrics, spices, metals, and so on. It was trade routes, not the projection of military power, that emblemized the “Pax Mongolica.”*9 Mongol grand strategy was built on commerce much more than on war. If you want to understand China’s grand strategy today, look no further than Kublai Khan’s empire. Yet, for Kublai Khan it didn’t altogether work. Persia and Russia were beyond Chinese control, and the Indian subcontinent, separated from China by the high wall of the Himalayas, with seas on both sides, remained its own geopolitical island.
Indian ballistic missiles can reach cities in China’s arable cradle while Chinese fighter jets can reach the Indian subcontinent. Indian warships are in the South China Sea while Chinese warships sail throughout the Indian Ocean, with China deeply involved in port development projects in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea that virtually surround India on three sides. The high wall of the Himalayas no longer separates these two great civilizations, and hasn’t for some time. Trade routes linking China and India, by way of Tibet, Nepal, West Bengal, and Myanmar—joining Lhasa, Kathmandu, and Kolkata—will only further mature, with peaceful commerce cushioning the impact of this new strategic geography.*35 But these widened tentacles of vehicular transport also might be used for Chinese tanks to enter India. Again, connectivity does not necessarily presage a more peaceful world.
Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags by Tim Marshall
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, Donald Trump, drone strike, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mahatma Gandhi, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, trade route, white picket fence
It had to be there because ‘it is the combative, hot, virile colour par excellence. It is the colour of conquest and laughter. A singing, ardent, joyful colour . . . It reminds us of blood and incites us to victory.’ More interesting, arguably, is that the coat of arms in the centre of the flag is set on an armillary sphere. This was an instrument used for navigation and is symbolic of the Age of Discovery, when Portuguese sailors were at the forefront of opening up new trade routes to what were, for the Europeans, undiscovered lands. The coat of arms is based on a design that dates back to 1139, and it is also deeply Christian. It features five white dots on five blue shields – a reference to the Battle of Ourique, fought in Portugal in 1139, in which Alfonso I defeated five Moorish kings ‘In the name of the five stigmata of Christ’. Hence five dots and five shields. The flag is even referred to in Portugal’s national anthem: Unfurl the unconquerable flag In the bright light of your sky!
At least 2,000 years before this the Egyptians and the people in what is now Iran were carrying staffs with symbols attached to them, but as Dr Whitney Smith puts it in his seminal 1975 book Flags Through the Ages and Across the World, ‘The Chinese were probably the first to use silk flags. They have been used both at sea and on land for thousands of years, much longer than in the West.’ Smith argues that we owe to the Chinese the focus on attaching cloth to a staff laterally, rather than fixing an object such as an animal carving to its top. What is unclear is whether silk flags then spread to the Near East, or if it was just that the silk arrived through the trade routes and was fashioned into flags by people who were already using versions of them. What is more certain is that the Western world began copying the flags of the Arabs during the Crusades. Several hundred years later, things came full-circle. The Chinese used a huge variety of flags for shipping and military purposes, but never bothered to come up with one to symbolize China and the Chinese. They had long had the sense of themselves as a nation – indeed a civilization – but it was obvious to the inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom that they were what they were: a flag was not necessary.
Divided: Why We're Living in an Age of Walls by Tim Marshall
affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, end world poverty, facts on the ground, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, open borders, openstreetmap, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, the built environment, trade route, unpaid internship, urban planning
The divisions between the ethnicities are something the state believes it can handle, as long as those within the Han are smoothed over. And it is these divides that may pose the greatest threat to the prospects of long-term prosperity and unity in China. It’s a threat taken very seriously by the Communist Party. It has learned the lessons of history and knows what happens when the state is weakened by a fragmented population. In the nineteenth century, China saw a major reversal in the way its trading operated. The land trade routes through Central Asia had always been the economic priority, but now the sea lanes became the primary route. This reversal was not entirely by choice – the British and other foreign powers had used their military strength to force favourable trading terms upon China. As a result, the focus of trade shifted to the Pacific coast, which helped the communities in that region to develop, but it weakened the trading prospects of the interior, which in turn reduced the amount of money spent on its infrastructure.
During the Cold War, to cross borders in Western Europe you had to have a passport, but it was a routine act. Crossing the Iron Curtain into Eastern Europe, on the other hand, required a passport, paperwork and security checks, and was done in the knowledge that your every movement would be monitored. The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall were the stark physical reminders that a continent with a shared history, interlinked cultures and ancient trading routes had been completely riven by ideology and Great Power politics. In the aftermath of the Second World War, as the communist and capitalist victors sized each other up across this new divide, the Soviet economic system quickly started to fail its citizens. Just by looking out of a window or crossing a street, ordinary people in the East could see the spectacularly successful rebuilding of West Germany.
The Perfect House: A Journey With Renaissance Master Andrea Palladio by Witold Rybczynski
During the fifteenth century, the island city emerged as one of the important land powers of the Italian peninsula, holding sway over an area that stretched as far west as Bergamo, northeast into Friuli, and south to the Po Valley. The chief reason to conquer these territories was to control the overland trade routes from Venice to northern Europe, but starting in the 1540s, exactly the time that Palladio embarked on his architectural career, the role of the terraferma changed. Wealthy Venetians began to invest heavily in mainland agriculture—land reclamation, irrigation canals, and drainage schemes. Historians do not agree about the exact reason for this newfound interest, but it was probably a combination of factors. Thanks to the growth of the Turkish empire, the discovery of alternative trade routes, and the growing naval power of the Baltic states, England, and the Low Countries, Venice was no longer dominant in international trade, and wealthy Venetians needed new vehicles for their investments.
The "Talmud" by Wimpfheimer, Barry Scott.
The questioner seeks the history of the composition of rabbinic literature, and Rav Sherira Gaon obliges with a history of the rabbis from Temple times to his day focusing on institutions and works of literature. Much of this is historically imprecise by modern critical standards, but the work remains valuable, particularly for its description of the Geonic period. Responsa largely traveled via trade routes. Scribes at nodes on these trade routes would sometimes copy the responsa in transit. Some rabbis retained handwritten copies of their own responsa. Medieval responsa usually come to us from such collections. Occasionally, they were preserved through other avenues. A sixteenthcentury rabbi, Bezalel Ashkenazi, who lived in Ottoman Election 131 Palestine, is the source of an important anthology of medieval Talmud commentary to several tractates.
The Long Good Buy: Analysing Cycles in Markets by Peter Oppenheimer
"Robert Solow", asset allocation, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collective bargaining, computer age, credit crunch, debt deflation, decarbonisation, diversification, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, housing crisis, index fund, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Live Aid, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, Nixon shock, oil shock, open economy, price stability, private sector deleveraging, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, railway mania, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, stocks for the long run, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, tulip mania, yield curve
These were established in Great Britain as a result of the Bubble Act, which attempted to reduce the risks of speculation. The creation of publicly financed, but limited liability, insurance companies changed the nature of risk-sharing, thereby allowing for a significant increase in appetite for funding risky endeavours. Meanwhile, technological changes (in maritime navigation, for example) made possible the opening up of the Atlantic trade routes, a shift that was game-changing; the new trade routes among Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, which were financed partly as a result of the new risk-sharing instruments, became the dominant trade system through to the early 19th century and resulted in what was arguably one of the first major forms of globalisation. The combination of risk appetite, funding conditions, a vehicle that offered attractive returns and technological advances in navigation that enabled the opportunity to be exploited provided a fertile backdrop for speculation.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, David Graeber, Edmond Halley, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, glass ceiling, global village, greed is good, income per capita, invention of gunpowder, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, out of africa, personalized medicine, Ponzi scheme, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, urban planning, zero-sum game
A Growing Pie Then came the Scientific Revolution and the idea of progress. The idea of progress is built on the notion that if we admit our ignorance and invest resources in research, things can improve. This idea was soon translated into economic terms. Whoever believes in progress believes that geographical discoveries, technological inventions and organisational developments can increase the sum total of human production, trade and wealth. New trade routes in the Atlantic could flourish without ruining old routes in the Indian Ocean. New goods could be produced without reducing the production of old ones. For instance, one could open a new bakery specialising in chocolate cakes and croissants without causing bakeries specialising in bread to go bust. Everybody would simply develop new tastes and eat more. I can be wealthy without your becoming poor; I can be obese without your dying of hunger.
The empires built by bankers and merchants in frock coats and top hats defeated the empires built by kings and noblemen in gold clothes and shining armour. The mercantile empires were simply much shrewder in financing their conquests. Nobody wants to pay taxes, but everyone is happy to invest. In 1484 Christopher Columbus approached the king of Portugal with the proposal that he finance a fleet that would sail westward to find a new trade route to East Asia. Such explorations were a very risky and costly business. A lot of money was needed in order to build ships, buy supplies, and pay sailors and soldiers – and there was no guarantee that the investment would yield a return. The king of Portugal declined. Like a present-day start-up entrepreneur, Columbus did not give up. He pitched his idea to other potential investors in Italy, France, England, and again in Portugal.
Mercenary armies and cannon-brandishing fleets cost a fortune, but the Dutch were able to finance their military expeditions more easily than the mighty Spanish Empire because they secured the trust of the burgeoning European financial system at a time when the Spanish king was carelessly eroding its trust in him. Financiers extended the Dutch enough credit to set up armies and fleets, and these armies and fleets gave the Dutch control of world trade routes, which in turn yielded handsome profits. The profits allowed the Dutch to repay the loans, which strengthened the trust of the financiers. Amsterdam was fast becoming not only one of the most important ports of Europe, but also the continent’s financial Mecca. How exactly did the Dutch win the trust of the financial system? Firstly, they were sticklers about repaying their loans on time and in full, making the extension of credit less risky for lenders.
Greece Travel Guide by Lonely Planet
active transport: walking or cycling, Airbnb, capital controls, car-free, carbon footprint, credit crunch, haute couture, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, pension reform, period drama, sensible shoes, trade route, urban sprawl
Deemed barbarians by cultivated Athenians, the Macedonians subjugated Greece under Alexander’s father, Philip II, yet adopted Greek mores. Alexander spread the Greek culture and language widely, creating a Hellenistic society that would be absorbed by the Romans. Later, after their empire split into eastern and western halves in the 4th century AD, the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire emerged. Thessaloniki became Byzantium’s second city, a vital commercial, cultural and strategic centre on the Balkan trade routes. However, 6th- and 7th-century-AD Slavic migrations brought new populations and challenges. The empire frequently battled with the medieval Bulgarian kingdom from the 9th century to the 11th century. In 1018 Emperor Basil II finally defeated Bulgarian Tsar Samuel, who had ruled much of the southern Balkans from Macedonia’s Mikri Prespa Lake. After Serbian rule in the 14th century, Macedonia and the Balkans were overrun by the Ottoman Turks.
Entry includes the Archaeological Museum of Dion (%23510 53206; Dion; adult/student €6/2 incl Ancient Dion site; h8am-8pm), a 10-minute walk from the site. Taxis from Litohoro to Dion cost from €12. Castle of PlatamonasCASTLE (Κάστρο Πλαταμώνα %23250 44470; Platamonas; adult/child €2/free; h8am-3pm daily) Looming from a coastal bluff near Platamonas village, 20km south of Plaka Litohorou, this well-preserved 11th-century castle was once defended by brave Byzantines, safeguarding trade routes and scanning for pirates. Today, however, the only stratiotes (soldiers) you're likely to see are handymen with weed whackers and the occasional lumbering turtle. Taxis from Litohorou town cost about €22. From the parking area, pass the (unstaffed) booth and take the hilly path 150m to the castle and ticket booth. From here, follow the walls counter-clockwise to understand the fortress' development over time.
At the Thracians’ supreme temple on Samothraki island, ancient Macedonian, Roman and Egyptian rulers were initiated. Secret rituals were associated with Orpheus, the mythical, tragic Thracian father of music. Powerful Greek city-states vied with the Persians for Thrace's coast. Athens prevailed at the Battle of Plataea, though Philip II of Macedon took over in 346 BC. Later, with the Roman Empire’s AD 395 division, Thrace's strategic positioning on the Via Egnatia trade route made it important. Constantinople's defensive zone was the Thracian plain, though its flatness made it vulnerable to marauding Goths, Huns, Vandals, Bulgars, Pechenegs, Cumans and poorly behaved Latin Crusaders – relatively few historic structures thus remain predating the Ottomans' 14th-century invasion. In the 19th century Thrace’s turbulent past reawakened. The 1877 Russo–Turkish War, the 1912–13 Balkan Wars, WWI and finally Greece's failed 1922 invasion of Anatolia saw the territory change hands frequently.
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.
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer
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.
Lonely Planet Maldives (Travel Guide) by Planet, Lonely, Masters, Tom
Look no further for total luxury and pampering in a contemporary and stylish setting. 8Getting There & Away There is an airstrip ( GOOGLE MAP ) on Kooddoo, with several flights a day to Male (US$430 return, 70 mins) with Maldivian (www.maldivian.aero). There are six frequent ferries connecting most of the inhabited islands in the two atolls, including Kaadedhoo. The network is centred on the Gaafu Dhaalu’s capital island Thinadhoo, and to a lesser extent on Gaafu Alifu’s capital Viligili. Gaafu Dhaalu Geographically isolated from Male, but strategically located on the Indian Ocean trade routes, Gaafu Dhaalu – or Huvadhoo Atoll, to use its geographical name – had independent tendencies dating back many years. It had its own direct trade links with Sri Lanka, and the people spoke a distinct dialect almost incomprehensible to other Maldivians. The island of Thinadhoo was a focal point of the ‘southern rebellion’ against the central rule of Male during the early 1960s, so much so that troops from Male invaded in February 1962 and destroyed all the homes.
At one stage, when the Portuguese first arrived on the scene, there were actually two ruling dynasties, the Theemuge (or Malei) dynasty and the Hilali. For a detailed overview of Maldivian history see www.maldivesstory.com.mv. The Portuguese Early in the 16th century the Portuguese, who were already well established in Goa in western India, decided they wanted a greater share of the profitable trade routes of the Indian Ocean. They were given permission by the sultan to build a fort and a factory in Male, but it wasn’t long before they wanted more from the Maldives. In 1558, after a few unsuccessful attempts, Portuguese Captain Andreas Andre led an invasion army and killed Sultan Ali VI. The Maldivians called the captain ‘Andiri Andirin’ and he ruled Male and much of the country for the next 15 years.
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, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, Pearl River Delta, 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
"Robert Solow", 23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, 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, hedonic treadmill, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 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, Kickstarter, 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, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game
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.
Lonely Planet Florence & Tuscany by Lonely Planet, Virginia Maxwell, Nicola Williams
End the tour 12km south in Aulla, known for its abbey founded in AD 884 and housing the remains of St Caprasio, the hermit monk who inspired the spread of monastic life in Provence from the 5th century. Top of Chapter Pontremoli pop 7820 It may be small, but this out-of-the-way town presided over by the impressive bulk of Castello del Piagnaro has a decidedly grand air – a legacy of its strategic location on the pilgrimage and trading route of Via Francigena. Its merchants made fortunes in medieval times, and adorned the centro storico with palaces, piazzas and graceful stone bridges. The centro storico is a long sliver stretching north–south between the Magra and Verde rivers, which have historically served as defensive barriers. Meandering its streets takes you beneath colonnaded arches, through former strongholds of opposing Guelph and Ghibelline factions, and past a 17th-century cathedral and an 18th-century theatre.
They secretly allied themselves with Hannibal to bring about the ignominious defeat of the Romans – one of the deadliest battles in all of Roman history – at Lago Trasimeno in neighbouring Umbria: 16,000 Roman soldiers were lost in approximately three hours. After that, Rome took a more hands-off approach with the Etruscans, granting them citizenship in 88 BC to manage their own affairs in the new province of Tuscia (Tuscany), and in return securing themselves safe passage along the major inland Roman trade route via the Via Flaminia. Little did the Romans realise when they paved the road that they were also paving the way for their own replacements in the 5th to 8th centuries AD: first came German emperor Theodoric, then Byzantine emperor Justinian, then the Lombards and finally Charlemagne in 800. Medieval Scandal Political power constantly changed hands in medieval Tuscany. Nevertheless, two notorious women wielded power effectively against a shifting backdrop of kings and popes.
For medieval pilgrims unaccustomed to multiplexes and special effects, entering a space that had been covered from floor to ceiling with stories told in living colour must have been a dazzling, overwhelming experience. The Middle Ages: The Rise of the Comune While communities sprang up around hermits and holy men in the hinterlands, cities took on a life of their own from the 13th and 14th centuries. Roman road networks had been serving as handy trade routes starting in the 11th century, and farming estates and villas began to spring up outside major trading centres as a new middle class of merchants, farmers and skilled craftspeople emerged. Taxes and donations sponsored the building of hospitals such as the Ospedale Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. Streets were paved, town walls erected and sewage systems built to accommodate an increasingly sophisticated urban population not keen on sprawl or squalor.
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, creative destruction, 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, Norman Macrae, offshore financial centre, Parkinson's law, pattern recognition, phenotype, price mechanism, profit maximization, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Sam Peltzman, 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, Vilfredo Pareto
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 !
Florence & Tuscany by Lonely Planet
Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, European colonialism, haute couture, Kickstarter, period drama, post-work, sensible shoes, Skype, trade route, urban planning
These fruits of the forest and other regional delicacies, including Zeri lamb, freshly baked focaccette, crisp and sweet rotella apples, boiled pork shoulder, caciotta (a delicate cow’s-milk cheese), bigliolo beans, local olive oil and Colli di Luni wines, are reason alone to visit. Pontremoli POP 7820 It may be small, but this out-of-the-way town presided over by the impressive bulk of Castello del Piagnaro has a decidedly grand air – a legacy of its strategic location on the pilgrimage and trading route of Via Francigena . Its merchants made fortunes in medieval times, and adorned the Old Town with palaces, piazzas and graceful stone bridges. The Old Town is a long sliver stretching north–south between the Magra and Verde rivers, which have historically served as defensive barriers. Meandering its streets takes you beneath colonnaded arches, through former strongholds of opposing Guelph and Ghibelline factions, and past a 17th-century cathedral and an 18th-century theatre.
They secretly allied with Hannibal to bring about the ignominious defeat of the Romans – one of the deadliest battles in all of Roman history – at Lago Trasimeno in neighbouring Umbria: 16,000 Roman soldiers were lost in approximately three hours. After that Rome took a more hands-off approach with the Etruscans, granting them citizenship in 88 BC to manage their own affairs in the new province of Tuscia (Tuscany) and in return securing safe passage along the major inland Roman trade route via the Via Flaminia. Little did the Romans realise when they paved the road that they were also paving the way for their own replacements in the 5th to 8th centuries AD: first came German emperor Theodoric, then Byzantine emperor Justinian, then the Lombards and finally Charlemagne in 800. MEDIEVAL SCANDAL Best Etruscan Ruins » Vie Cave, Pitigliano » Parco Archeologico di Baratti e Populonia, Golfi di Baratti » Necropoli, Sovana Political power constantly changed hands in medieval Tuscany.
The Middle Ages: the Rise of the Comune Best Art Galleries » Uffizi Gallery, Florence » Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence » Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena » Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, Pisa » Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence While communities sprang up around hermits and holy men in the hinterlands, cities began taking on a life of their own from the 13th and 14th centuries. Roman road networks had been serving as handy trade routes starting in the 11th century, and farming estates and villas began to spring up outside major trading centres as a new middle class of merchants, farmers and skilled craftspeople emerged. Taxes and donations sponsored the building of hospitals such as the Ospedale Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. Streets were paved, town walls erected and sewage systems built to accommodate an increasingly sophisticated urban population not keen on sprawl or squalor.
An Empire of Wealth: Rise of American Economy Power 1607-2000 by John Steele Gordon
accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buttonwood tree, California gold rush, clean water, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, failed state, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, global village, imperial preference, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, margin call, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, postindustrial economy, price mechanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Yom Kippur War
But by 1450, far larger ships with three and sometimes four masts had appeared, and they were pushing out the boundaries of the world known to Europeans. They had need to. In 1453 the Turks had taken Constantinople, the ancient capital of the eastern Roman Empire. A Muslim power now sat athwart the trade routes to the East, extracting taxes on all goods that passed. More, the Turks were expanding into Europe itself, and by the middle of the sixteenth century would be at the very gates of Vienna. Christendom felt itself under attack as it had not since the Dark Ages a thousand years earlier. But thanks to the full-rigged ship, western Europeans could do an end run around the Muslim control of the ancient trade routes. By the end of the fifteenth century, the Portuguese had rounded the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa and reached India. By 1510 they had reached the Spice Islands, source of the spices, such as pepper, that yielded fabulous profits once brought to Europe.
The English who began to settle in America in the early seventeenth century brought these ideas with them and applied them to the new situation in which they found themselves. Geopolitically, that situation resembled England’s, only on a much grander scale. Until the second half of the twentieth century, North America was largely immune from foreign attack, and the hand of government (and thus the tax man) lay very lightly indeed upon it for most of that time. And just as Great Britain was perfectly situated on the map to dominate the trade routes of northern Europe as that area began to dominate European and world affairs, the United States was perfectly positioned to take advantage of the emergence of a fully globalized economy. The United States is the only Great Power to front on both the Atlantic and the Pacific and the only one whose national territory sprawls across arctic, temperate, and tropical climate zones. It is at once both effectively an island, with all of an island’s military security, and a continent, with all of a continent’s resources.
Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-89 by Rodric Braithwaite
Later the locals made a living by extracting tribute from the rich caravans from China which passed through the valley, until the twentieth century one of the main trade routes northwards from Kabul. The painters of the European Renaissance used lapis lazuli mined around the upper valley for making the blue paint for the robes of their Madonnas. The mines generated an income of more than $5 million a year even during the war; they were carefully camouflaged, heavily protected against air attack, and exploited with the help of Japanese and West German engineers. Because of their economic importance to the resistance, the mines were attacked – unsuccessfully – in June 1981 by long-range bombers from bases in the Soviet Union.47 After the road over the Salang Pass was built, the valley lost its significance as a trade route. But despite its diminished importance, its position – dangerously close to Bagram, the main Soviet airbase, to the main Soviet supply line across the Hindu Kush through the Salang Tunnel, and to Kabul itself – meant that guerrilla forces operating out of the valley were a thorn in the Russians’ side from the first day of the Soviet occupation to the last (see Map 4).
The local ruler, the Khan of Khiva, was said to be willing to become Peter’s vassal in exchange for Russian protection from his rebellious subjects. Peter ordered Alexander Bekovich, a captain in the Life Guards and a converted Muslim prince from the North Caucasus, to find out more. He gave Bekovich a force of over six thousand men – horse, foot, guns, and a clutch of merchants – to build fortresses along the Amu Darya, to persuade the Khan of Khiva to help find the gold, and to open the trading route to India. Bekovich reached Khiva in the summer of 1717. After an initial welcome, the Khan treacherously slaughtered him and his men, stuffed his head with straw, and sent it to the Khan of Bukhara. A few years later, in 1728, the Russians collided for the first time with the Afghans, when their troops encountered an Afghan army which had invaded Persia. The Russians prevailed.5 By the middle of the century the Russians became aware that they were facing another adversary, one whose imperial ambitions matched their own.
The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations by Daniel Yergin
3D printing, 9 dash line, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, British Empire, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Masdar, mass incarceration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, new economy, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, paypal mafia, peak oil, pension reform, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ubercab, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce
Now, more than two thousand years later, President Xi grew poetic, even mystical. “As I stand here and look back to that episode of history, I could almost hear the camel bells echoing in the mountains and see the wisp of smoke rising from the desert.”1 Zhang Qian’s reports marked the beginning of the development of trade routes that ran to the west, first to Central Asia and Persia, and then, at least intermittently, as far as the Roman Empire. This transcontinental trade route had no particular name. Only in 1877 was it dubbed Die Seidenstrasse—“the Silk Road”—by Baron Ferdinand von Richthoften, a German geologist and geographer who had been dispatched to China to scout mining opportunities and a possible route for a railroad to Europe. He chose “Silk Road” because one of its trades was driven by the passion for Chinese silk on the part of ancient Romans—at times, apparently, overly passionate, for silk was criticized by a Roman senator for promoting adultery by revealing women’s bodies too explicitly.2 The “Silk Road” was not a single road, but rather a series of trails and paths around the Taklamakan Desert, leading, often perilously, from one oasis town to another, and then over forbidding mountains.
* * * — “China’s Map” is rooted both in what it calls the “Century of Humiliation” and in its tremendous gains in global economic and military power over the last two decades, and by the energy needs of what will become the world’s largest economy (and, by some measure, already is). China is expanding its reach in all dimensions: geographically, militarily, economically, technologically, and politically. The “workshop of the world,” it now seeks to move up the value chain and become the global leader in the new industries of this century. China is also asserting its own map for almost the entirety of the South China Sea, the most critical oceanic trade route in the world, and now the sharpest point of strategic confrontation with the United States. Energy is an important part of that claim. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is designed to redraw the economic map of Asia and Eurasia and beyond, putting what was once the “Middle Kingdom” in the middle of a reordered global economy. The initiative seeks to assure that China will have markets for its goods and access to the energy and raw materials that it needs.
How We'll Live on Mars (TED Books) by Stephen Petranek
Maize came to Europe, and horses went to the Americas. Some economies flourished; others were destroyed. And every person’s view of what the world was expanded, contracted, and multiplied. A voyage to Mars will make the Age of Discovery look like a minuscule event in human history. Our world will suddenly encompass an entire solar system instead of one planet. Our abilities to geoengineer something as large as a planet will flourish. Trade routes that would have seemed impossible to previous generations will be established. The Earth will gain metals it desperately needs and the technical knowledge to very possibly save its environment. Opportunity for a new life elsewhere will give hope to millions. We must work desperately and devotedly to save our home planet—there is simply nothing else like it anywhere that we know of. A view of Earth from afar clarifies how delicate our world really is.
The Rough Guide to Norway by Phil Lee
banking crisis, bike sharing scheme, car-free, centre right, glass ceiling, Nelson Mandela, North Sea oil, out of africa, place-making, sensible shoes, sustainable-tourism, trade route, walkable city, white picket fence
CRUISING THE BLINDLEIA Lillesand’s nautical highlight is the three-hour cruise aboard M/B Øya (July to early Aug Mon–Sat daily at 10am; 255kr one-way, 420kr return; 95 93 58 55, blindleia.no), a dinky little passenger ferry which wiggles its way south to Kristiansand in part along a narrow channel separating the mainland from the offshore islets. Sheltered from the full force of the ocean, this channel – the Blindleia – was once a major trade route, but today it’s trafficked by every sort of pleasure craft imaginable, from replica three-mast sailing ships and vintage tugboats to the sleekest of yachts. Other, faster, boats make the trip too, but the M/B Øya is the most charming. If the sailing schedule of the M/B Øya does not suit, contact Lillesand tourist office for details of a wide variety of local boat trips, from fishing trips and cruises along the coast to the summertime badeboot (bathing boat), which shuttles across to Hestholm bay on the island of Skauerøya, where swimmers don’t seem to notice just how cold the Skagerrak actually is.
THE TELEMARKSKANAL Dalen is the terminus of the passenger ferry that wends its way southeast along the Telemarkskanal to Skien (ferries mid-May to early Sept 3–6 weekly; 800kr one-way; 35 90 00 30, telemarkskanalen.no), a journey that takes a little under nine hours, leaving around 8am. Extending 105km, the canal links a string of lakes and rivers by means of eighteen locks that negotiate a difference in water levels of 72m. Completed in 1892, the canal was once an important trade route into the interior, but today it’s mainly used by pleasure craft and vintage passenger ferries. It’s also possible to make shorter excursions out by boat and back by bus. The jetty is 750m beyond the Dalen Hotel. Dalen Trailing along the valley between steep forested hills, the sleepy little town of DALEN is a pleasant place in a pleasant setting, its string of modern houses somewhat reminiscent of small-town USA.
The hotel is about 2.5km south of the Breheimsenteret on Highway 604; the Glacier Bus from Sogndal passes close by. 930kr The Sognefjellsveg The mountain roads of Norway are some of the most melodramatic in Europe, but the wildest of them all is perhaps the Sognefjellsveg (Highway 55; sognefjellet.com), which runs the 110km from Skjolden, a dull little town at the head of the Lustrafjord, over to Lom. Despite the difficulty of the terrain, the Sognefjellsveg – which is closed from late October to May depending on conditions – marks the course of one of the oldest trading routes in Norway, with locals transporting goods by mule or, amazingly enough, on their shoulders: salt and fish went northeast, hides, butter, tar and iron went southwest. That portion of the road that clambers over the highest part of the mountains – no less than 1434m above sea level – was only completed in 1938 under a Great Depression “make-work” scheme, which kept a couple of hundred young men busy for two years.
Are Trams Socialist?: Why Britain Has No Transport Policy by Christian Wolmar
active transport: walking or cycling, Beeching cuts, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, BRICs, congestion charging, Diane Coyle, financial independence, full employment, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Network effects, railway mania, trade route, urban sprawl, wikimedia commons, Zipcar
There are two key aspects of the Swiss system that underpin its success: it is based on cooperation rather than competition (the derogatory description would be ‘monopoly’) and it is a product of a highly decentralized political system where much decision making is made at the local level. Although it is difficult to imagine, Switzerland at the beginning of the twentieth century was a poor country and, while it was not a participant, suffered economically from both world wars as the country’s trading routes were disrupted. When the economy recovered after World War II, the priority was to ensure that transport facilities were developed quickly and it was seen as inefficient to create services that competed within or between modes. Unrestrained market forces are seen as wasteful. Transport services are mostly locally controlled and financed. Taxes are levied locally by the communes (gemeinde), who keep some 70%, the cantons (20%) and central government (just 10%) – just imagine the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s face if that were suggested in the UK.
The Alps: A Human History From Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond by Stephen O'Shea
Had I not felt that way, I would have been unable to appreciate the next stage of the sublime process: the warm, snuggly embrace of terror. THE CHILLON CASTLE stands just offshore, perched on a rocky island the same color as its tawny fortifications. It is a multiturreted jewel, a small masterpiece sited in a place of scenic perfection. The castle’s landward walls are almost windowless, with watchtowers, sentry walks, and slits for archers that show its role as a jealous guardian of the Via Italica, the age-old trade route linking Burgundy with Lombardy by way of the nearby Great St. Bernard Pass. Lakeward, the façade is punctuated by graceful Gothic windows to take in the view long enjoyed by the ruling family of the region, who regularly summered at Chillon and held feasts in the four great halls of the castle. That view from those halls contrasts the serenity of Lake Geneva and the violence of the Alps, which may account for its status as Switzerland’s most visited tourist shrine for generations.
The reason for its name takes up one whole side of the square—the Salzburg Residenz, the former palace for the city’s bishop-princes, soberly looks out over the expanse, its gray façade and three stories of windows giving no hint of its sumptuous interior, which now houses an art gallery. Mozart gave his first concert here, at age six. We cross the Salzach and find our way to Steingasse. The baroque vanishes in favor of the medieval. This tiny, cobbled lane, once home to butchers, potters, and dyers (professions needing the waters of the nearby Salzach), also constituted the main trade route into and out of the city—a rather amazing reminder of how cramped urban life was in the Middle Ages. Today the lane is a quiet place, with children walking their bicycles into recessed doorways. A plaque indicates that Steingasse is the birthplace of Joseph Mohr, who in the early nineteenth century wrote the lyrics to the carol “Silent Night.” Another building, at number 24, sports a red lantern and lettering that reads LA MAISON DE PLAISIR.
The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das
"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game
The increased reliance of the world on these economies spawned the decoupling theory: insulated from the turmoil of developed markets, the BRICS would become safe havens, driving global prosperity. The relationship between the developed and emerging worlds is long, complex, and fraught with tension. Historically, the developing world was seen as a new frontier to be conquered. From the 1500s, the European powers expanded, acquiring land and new resources to complement the increasingly intensive exploitation of their homelands. Voyages of exploration and discovery opened up trade routes. Trading relationships evolved into colonial empires. Conquest of these often sophisticated countries was made possible by Europe's superior military power. This in turn was supported by superior industrial and scientific technologies, as well as highly evolved legal systems, property rights, politics, and systems of government. It was also underpinned by cultural attitudes and work ethics, which rewarded individual skill, energy, and dynamism.
By the nineteenth century, England, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, France, and Germany had established major colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, built upon what English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace termed “the unblushing selfishness of the greatest civilized nations.”1 The objective was to strengthen economic and political power by controlling key resources and strategic trading routes, and to deny these advantages to sovereign rivals. Over time, the colonies came to resemble modern global supply chains. In a thoroughly contemporary twist, Britain even outsourced the management of its colonies to private interests, the British East India Company. Colonialism provided access to low-cost raw materials, fueling the growth and prosperity of the Old World. It provided cheap labor, often in the form of slaves, and new markets for the products of the colonial powers.
Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That's Changing How the World Gets High by Mike Power
air freight, Alexander Shulgin, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, frictionless, Haight Ashbury, John Bercow, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Leonard Kleinrock, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, Mother of all demos, Network effects, nuclear paranoia, packet switching, pattern recognition, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, pre–internet, QR code, RAND corporation, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sexual politics, 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.
The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis by Ruth Defries
agricultural Revolution, Columbian Exchange, demographic transition, double helix, European colonialism, food miles, Francisco Pizarro, Haber-Bosch Process, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, out of africa, planetary scale, premature optimization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, social intelligence, Thomas Malthus, trade route, 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.
This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America by Ryan Grim
airport security, Alexander Shulgin, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Burning Man, crack epidemic, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, failed state, global supply chain, Haight Ashbury, illegal immigration, John Markoff, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, mandatory minimum, new economy, New Urbanism, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, women in the workforce
It was passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by a Democratic president. But the act did come at a time when Americans readily gave up their civil liberties in the name of the war effort. The infamous Espionage Act was passed in 1917, banning “disloyal” speech and leading to the imprisonment of Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs. World War I affected the American drug market in other ways. First, the global conflagration disrupted drug trade routes and diminished supply. Second, prohibitionist sentiment merged with nationalist fervor to promote the idea that sobriety was a way to strengthen the nation. Xenophobia played a major role. Anything German was despised: sauerkraut was renamed Victory Cabbage, and beer fell out of favor. A 1918 New York Times editorial exemplified the nexus of the period’s antidrug and anti-German attitudes:Into well-known German brands of toothpaste and patent medicines—naturally for export only—habit-forming drugs were to be introduced; at first a little, then more, as the habit grew on the nonGerman victim and his system craved ever-greater quantities.
“The declining value of the U.S. dollar provides a financial incentive for drug traffickers to sell cocaine in foreign markets where the wholesale price of cocaine is already much higher than in the United States,” the report said. Donald Semesky, the DEA’s chief of financial operations, has noted that 90 percent of the 1.7 billion euros that were registered as having entered the United States in 2005 came through Latin America, “where drug cartels launder their European proceeds.” As the cocaine market has shifted, use along its new trade routes has grown. A UN report notes increases in use not only in South and Central America but also in Africa, where seizures jumped tenfold from 2003 to 2006 and then doubled again between 2006 and 2007. West African nations, which make Colombia and Mexico look like models of transparent governance, have become important stopping-off points for coke traffickers on the way to Europe. Out-of-work African youth make cheap foot soldiers, and drug runners with expensive equipment and weaponry have little to fear from airport security when the places have little access to electricity and cop cars with empty gas tanks.
Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise (Expertise: Cultures and Technologies of Knowledge) by Penny Harvey, Hannah Knox
Don Braulio was about ten years old, and the town was called Kimsa Challwa in Quechua, or “Three Fishes.” The name was an ironic dig at the landowners. On Sundays Zlatter and Stambor would come down to the river from their haciendas, looking for gold and keen to hunt and fish. On one occasion they used dynamite to fish, but after the explosion only three small fish floated to the surface. The name Kimsa Challwa registered their petty failure. By now this was now a major trading route, with mule trains of up to two hundred animals bringing goods down from the Andes to service the miners who were flooding into the region. There was work loading and unloading the animals. Goods for the shops were winched across the river on pulley systems while the animals swam across below. However many things were brought in, there was never enough because there were so many people now living in the area.
Padre Alvarez was also moved by these strange, tall, peaceful people who he decided would be perfect subjects with whom to found the Christian mission of Shintuya, deep in a region that he clearly felt was in desperate need of salvation. The power of Kalinowski’s tale about his encounter with the Amarakaeri hinged on his shock at discovering an enduring connection between contemporary lowland Amazonia and the colonial highlands. This opaque reference to an enduring connection between Andean and Amazonian people beyond the better known trading routes and missionary incursions stands in stark contrast to more common renderings of this region of the Amazon forest as the home of peoples never before contacted by outsiders (Slater 2002).1 If Gupta and Ferguson encourage us to be attentive to rethinking difference through connection, Kalinowski’s story reminds us that not all histories of connection are equally legible. This reminder is instructive if we are to understand the ways in which infrastructural transformations involve differential possibilities for making claims about who should be integrated, and what they should be integrated into.
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.
The Wars of Afghanistan by Peter Tomsen
airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, drone strike, 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, zero-sum game
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.
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, animal electricity, 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, 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).
The Rough Guide to Jerusalem by Daniel Jacobs
Later referred to as Jebus (Judges 19:10), the city is first called “Yerushalayim” (Jerusalem) when David brings Goliath’s head here in I Samuel 17:54. The name may be a corruption of Ir Shalem (“City of Salem”, Salem being the city’s Canaanite patron god, and presumably Melchizedek’s “most high God”). Whatever the origins of its name, the site has been settled since the early Bronze Age, around 2600 BC, but as it wasn’t on a trade route its importance was always more strategic than commercial. Ancient Jerusalem receives its first documentation on “execration texts” (lists of Egypt’s enemies and rebellious vassal states, inscribed in hieroglyphics on bowls and figurines which were then broken) dating from the nineteenth century BC. Jerusalem features too in the Amarna letters, a cache of letters on clay tablets discovered at Tel Al-Amarna, Egypt in 1887, among which are six written by its Canaanite King Abdiheba to Pharaoh Akhenaten of Egypt, the last of them begging for Egyptian help against the “Habiru” who are besieging it.
The revelation which prompted the change of the qibla (direction of prayer) is set out in the second sura of the Koran, which established the Ka’aba in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) as the religious centre to which all Muslims have turned in prayer ever since. Mohammed claimed Abraham and his son Ishmael (Isma’il in Arabic) as founders of the Ka’aba and of Arabian monotheism, thus predating and independent of both Judaism and Christianity. Mohammed was born in 571 AD in Mecca and worked for a merchant for whom he travelled along trade routes as far north as Damascus. He met Jews and Christians, and it may be that their religions inspired him to reject Arab polytheism in favour of a single God. But the new monotheistic faith that Mohammed introduced into his native city of Mecca met with opposition and persecution so that, in 622 AD, he and his followers were forced to flee to Medina. It is from this event – the Hegira – that Islam is dated.
A collection of scholarly articles by eminent Israeli archeologists, covering excavations across the Old City, with the emphasis on what they reveal about daily life in Jerusalem during biblical and postbiblical times. History Meir Ben-Dov Historical Atlas of Jerusalem. Lots of photos, maps and detailed plans accompany this historical description of Jerusalem from Jebusite times to the present, which not only discusses the city itself, but also shows how it fitted in with regional politics and trade routes at different times in its history. Meron Benvenisti City of Stone: the Hidden History of Jerusalem. A well-balanced account of Jerusalem’s history – and most especially its modern history – by an Israeli former deputy mayor of the city. 05 Jerusalem contexts 265-290.indd 285 | Books K.J. Asali (ed) Jerusalem in History. Nine essays, each dealing with a different period, from the bronze age to the twentieth century, each by an expert on the particular period.
The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy by Dani Rodrik
affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, 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, endogenous growth, 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, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, 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, Paul Samuelson, 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 Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China by Jonathan Kaufman
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, joint-stock company, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, old-boy network, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Steve Jobs, trade route
David saw himself as part of the elite; the Sassoons in Baghdad had risen in part by advising and serving their Turkish rulers. The defining issue of his life—his flight from Baghdad—had been triggered by his misreading the politics of Baghdad and believing the sultan would side with him against Baghdad’s rulers. He was determined that he and his family would never make that mistake again. David arrived in India at a fortunate time. The expanding British Empire wasn’t opening just trade routes, it was opening the British mind. Britain itself remained a stratified society, with clubs and landed aristocrats looking down on “outsiders.” But business and politics were displaying more tolerance. In India, the British needed ambitious entrepreneurs to extend trade to the frontiers of a growing empire. Before leaving London for India, the new British governor-general of Bombay, Sir Robert Grant, had twice proposed in Parliament bills to end all discrimination against Great Britain’s Jews.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the Sassoons were considered among the leading experts on telegraph technology, invited to speak before the House of Commons. Finally came distribution. Jardine relied on its long-established network of smugglers and corrupt Chinese officials. But with the opium trade now legalized, Elias saw a more efficient—and cheaper—way to reach customers. He negotiated with the Chaozhou, a Chinese minority group that had settled near the China coast but had contacts along trade routes throughout China. In return for a share of the profits, the Chaozhou sold the Sassoons’ opium to other Chinese. To undercut Jardine and other dealers, the Sassoons sometimes sold their opium at discount or lent money to Chinese opium shops. The Chaozhou profited enormously from working with the Sassoons. A Western visitor remarked on the growing affluence of the “local opium men,” who appeared “jolly, respectable . . . and . . . very civil.”
The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class by Joel Kotkin
Admiral Zheng, Andy Kessler, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, creative destruction, deindustrialization, demographic transition, don't be evil, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, European colonialism, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google bus, guest worker program, Hans Rosling, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, liberal capitalism, life extension, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, megacity, Nate Silver, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Parag Khanna, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, post-work, postindustrial economy, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Satyajit Das, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator
Where class privilege remained in place over a shifting base, particularly in France, the Third Estate rose up in a violent assault on the last vestiges of feudalism.1 The entrepreneurs who chipped away at the feudal order did not generally come from the nobility, who in some cases were prohibited or socially discouraged from engaging in commerce.2 Aristocratic elites did sometimes give valuable funding and sponsorship to entrepreneurs, many of whom were from groups that had long been persecuted, including itinerant workers and dissenting Protestants, as well as Jews.3 These commercial risk takers played a major part in creating our modern world, as their technological improvements, opening of trade routes, and building of cities ushered in an era of unprecedented economic growth.4 Liberal capitalism laid the basis for Western economic hegemony. In the year 1000, the gross product of China and of India each easily exceeded that of all western Europe combined, and the same was true of the Islamic empire. China remained ahead of Europe in technology until around 1450, according to Joseph Needham.
But the large numbers of slaves brought in as the empire grew displaced many self-sufficient farmers and artisans, who then became dependent on the public provision of bread for sustenance. The best advice for Romans, said Juvenal, was to emigrate from the Eternal City.12 Urban culture deteriorated after the empire collapsed, and especially after the Muslim conquests and incursions cut off lucrative trade routes.13 Cities turned into fortresses where barbarian chieftains and ecclesiastical authorities could live sheltered behind protective walls. But for centuries these fortress-towns were peripheral to the lives of most people: barely 5 percent of the medieval European population lived in cities. As commerce quickened again in the later Middle Ages and a substantial merchant class emerged, city walls were extended to include growing populations.14 During the Early Modern era, cities became generators of prosperity again.
Lonely Planet Mexico by John Noble, Kate Armstrong, Greg Benchwick, Nate Cavalieri, Gregor Clark, John Hecht, Beth Kohn, Emily Matchar, Freda Moon, Ellee Thalheimer
AltaVista, Bartolomé de las Casas, Burning Man, call centre, clean water, colonial rule, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, informal economy, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, New Urbanism, off grid, place-making, Rosa Parks, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, sustainable-tourism, trade route, traffic fines, urban sprawl, wage slave
With their odd mix of brutality and bravery, gold lust and piety, the Spanish conquistadors of the Americas were the natural successors to the crusading knights of the Reconquista. * * * The Broken Spears: Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico, edited by Miguel Leon-Portilla, is a rare piece of history from the losers’ point of view. * * * Spain’s Atlantic location placed it perfectly to lead the search for new westward trade routes to the spice-rich Orient. Its explorers, soldiers and colonists landed first in the Caribbean, establishing bases on the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba where they quickly put the local populations to work mining gold and raising crops and livestock. The Spanish then began seeking a passage through the land mass to their west, and soon became distracted by tales of gold, silver and a rich empire there.
c 1000 The abandoned Maya city of Chichén Itzá, on the Yucatán Peninsula, is reoccupied and develops into one of Mexico’s most magnificent ancient cities, in a fusion of Maya and central Mexican styles. 1325 The Aztecs settle at Tenochtitlán, on the site of present-day Mexico City. Within a century they become the most powerful tribe in the Valle de México, going on to rule an empire extending over nearly all of central Mexico. 1487 Twenty thousand human captives are sacrificed for the dedication of Tenochtitlan’s Great Temple. 1492 Christopher Columbus, searching for a new trade route from Spain to the Orient, comes across the Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola. In the following years further Spanish expeditions explore the Caribbean and found settlements there. 1519–20 A Spanish expedition from Cuba, under Hernán Cortés, makes its way to the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán. Initially well-received, the Spaniards are attacked and driven out on the ‘Noche Triste’ (Sad Night), June 30, 1520. 1521 The Spanish, with 100,000 native Mexican allies, take three months to finally capture Tenochtitlán, razing it building by building.
The most important town here was Paquimé, which acted as a trading link between central Mexico and the dry north before its destruction around AD 1340. Outlying Paquimé settlements, such as Cuarenta Casas and Cueva Grande, built their dwellings on cliffsides for protection against attack. Colonial times brought Spaniards to find and mine precious metals and save indigenous souls. Known as Nueva Vizcaya, the region sat astride the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Royal Road of the Interior), a 2560km trade route from Mexico City to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chihuahua became a frontier state with Mexico’s loss of Texas and New Mexico in the 1830s, ’40s and ’50s. Like neighboring Sonora and Coahuila, Chihuahua and Durango states were prime movers in the Mexican Revolution of 1910–20. Unrest in the mines and the inequities of land ownership contributed to this, and the revolutionary División del Norte, an army led by legendary Durango-born Pancho Villa, was in the forefront of several major battles.
Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David S. Landes
"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, business cycle, Cape to Cairo, clean water, colonial rule, Columbian Exchange, computer age, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial intermediation, Francisco Pizarro, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, income inequality, Index librorum prohibitorum, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Arrow, land tenure, lateral thinking, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, Murano, Venice glass, new economy, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, out of africa, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Scramble for Africa, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game
The clerics did leave their parish ioners some newly composed prayers for protection by the Almighty, but the altar was not a g o o d refuge, for the Vikings knew where the plunder lay and headed straight for churches and casdes. Also coming from the sea, across the Mediterranean, were Saracens (Moors), who set up mountain bases in the Alps and on the Côte d'Azur, and went out from these to raid the trade routes between northern and southern Europe. These fastnesses, hard of access and yet linked to Muslim lands by the sea, were inexpugnable, and folk legend has it that to this day some villagers in the high Alps carry the color and appearance o f their Maghrébin origins. Finally, from the east overland, but highly mobile for all that, rode the Magyars or Hungarians, one more wave of invaders from Asia, pa gans speaking a Ural-Altaic language (a distant cousin of Turkish), sweeping in year after year, choosing their targets by news of European dissensions and dynastic troubles, swift enough to move in a single campaign from their Danubian bases into eastern France or the foot of Italy.
In 1 6 4 1 , it was Malacca's turn, again to the Dutch; in 1 6 6 5 - 6 7 , Macassar's. In the course of all this, the Dutch simply threw the Portuguese out of the Spice Islands, the original point of the ex ercise. Portugal's day had come and gone, but pride thrives on re verses, and they clung to what they could. Thus they held Goa until 1961 (long after it had lost wealth and commercial importance), when 2 TRADE ROUTES IN THE EASTERN SEAS This regional (country) trade flourished well before the Europeans arrived in the sixteenth century. 130 T H E W E A L T H AND POVERTY OF NATIONS a far stronger Indian government marched in and took it over, with out provocation or pretext. N o self-respecting independent country could live with such a colonial boil on its flank. Portugal's primary commercial objective in the East was to obtain pepper and other spices and ship these directly to Europe, bypassing the intermediaries that encumbered the traditional traffic across Asia and into the Mediterranean.* This the Portuguese did by purchase or seizure, compensating by force for the obstacles that Muslim mer chants put in their way.
Portugal's primary commercial objective in the East was to obtain pepper and other spices and ship these directly to Europe, bypassing the intermediaries that encumbered the traditional traffic across Asia and into the Mediterranean.* This the Portuguese did by purchase or seizure, compensating by force for the obstacles that Muslim mer chants put in their way. In the early decades, these measures garnered a large share o f the trade. At the peak, some 4 0 percent of the pepper imported into Europe was going around the Cape of G o o d H o p e , and the Venetians were hurting. But with time, the older trade routes reasserted themselves. The direct Portuguese share fell back to about 20 percent, still important but no longer dominant. In 1570, the Por tuguese crown gave up its monopoly of the trade between Lisbon and the east (Goa). The king ceased to be a merchant and instead sold concessions, frequently to foreign traders. In 1586, the German mer chant house of Welser leased the exclusive rights to purchase pepper in the Indies.
A History of Judaism by Martin Goodman
The urbanization of Mesopotamia, a process dependent on both the region’s fertility and development of irrigation systems, long predated the birth of Abraham in Ur, whatever date might be assigned to this event – the internal chronology of the Bible places his birth in the first half of the second millennium BCE, but this chronology is highly unlikely to have been based on any firm ground. An extensive network of trade routes across the fertile crescent in the second millennium BCE provides the background to the stories of his migration to Canaan. The stability of the kingdom of Egypt through the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, in the second half of the same millennium, with foreign policy dedicated to expansion to the north, explains the centrality of Egypt in the narratives of Israelite patriarchs and the exodus.
In Spain, France and Germany, rabbis with a shared respect for, and deep learning in, the Babylonian Talmud as well as the biblical texts consolidated the expression of the law as guidance for everyday life while evolving, through mystical speculation as well as philosophical analysis, novel theologies about the relation of God to his creation. The connection of intellectual talmudic scholarship to the practical concerns of European Jews was facilitated by a new role for individual rabbis as local communal arbitrators in Jewish communities in the Rhineland and in France from the eleventh century. As commercial practices grew more complex in new settlements of Jews in urban centres along the great trade routes of northern Europe, communal legislation by appointed or elected representatives and the authority of rich merchants as lay communal leaders sometimes proved insufficient for the resolution of internal disputes between Jews, and communities turned instead to rabbis as experts in Jewish law. The selection of a rav, the title used from the second part of the eleventh century to refer to the rabbi of a city, seems to have been by consensus of lay leaders rather than any formal procedure.
More ambivalent as a source of moral authority was recognition of a rabbinic appointment by the Christian state, as in the appointment in 1270 by the king of Naples and Sicily of ‘Maborach Fadalchassem the Jew, inhabitant of Palermo, our faithful who has been elected by you in order to exercise the priestship in your synagogue, to slaughter in your butchery and to hold the notary’s seal among you’.1 Diversity encouraged by such local rabbinic jurisdiction was counter-balanced by thriving interregional contacts along trade routes across the Mediterranean and along the great rivers and old Roman roads of Europe. Local rabbis sought advice in difficult cases from more learned colleagues. In any one region there was often just one rabbinic sage widely recognized as the ‘leader of his generation’. Books travelled through the copying of manuscripts, of which increasing numbers have been preserved in European collections amassed from the twelfth century onwards.
The Temporal Void by Peter F. Hamilton
The squad members close to Edeard started grinning, hungry with anticipation. ‘That makes sense,’ Edeard replied. ‘Lady, we’ve got him,’ Boyd told the others, giving them a broad thumbs up. ‘What do you mean?’ Chae asked. ‘He’s come to gloat,’ Edeard told him. His own farsight showed him the squads from Bellis and Neph hurrying through Pholas Park. As expected, they had already crossed into Sampalok via the bridge over Trade Route Canal, which put them a lot closer to the hideaway than Edeard. They’d arrive a good ten minutes early. ‘What are you thinking?’ Kanseen asked shrewdly. Edeard halted the squads, and beckoned Felax forward. He handed an envelope over to the young probationary constable. ‘I want you to go directly to the house in Whitemire Street and deliver this to the sergeants from the other squads.’ The lad saluted.
The local sheriffs couldn’t cope. Quite a few farming families have arrived in the city since New Year. I spoke with some of them; they were forced off their land.’ ‘I know.’ ‘He will come back.’ ‘Thank you, Edeard. You’re a lovely man.’ After the meal they settled down to read a book Jessile had brought. Kadril’s Voyage, which told of the legendary merchantmen captain who’d opened up the trade route to the south, finding a navigable route through the Straits of Gathsawal. Edeard enjoyed the tales of ocean life and fights against pirates, even though he suspected the author had enlivened the tales somewhat. They took it in turns to read to each other, slowly sipping red wine as the coal in the stove hissed and snapped. Edeard felt the tensions drain away from him. This was what he wanted his life to be like.
‘Snatch the closest one on the list and bring him out quickly. That Hundred are the key to this, they’re the ones stirring people up. Take them out one at a time.’ ‘You might be right,’ Edeard said. He wasn’t sure. The size and animosity of the response had caught him off guard. But then Sampalok residents always had a chip on their shoulder, it wouldn’t take much to rile them. He went over to the watcher crew at the end of the concourse next to Trade Route Canal to find out which of the Hundred was nearby. Before he’d even spoken to anyone the sergeant at the middle bridge into High Moat was longtalking that the crowd was rampaging along the streets, breaking into shops and businesses. Looting had begun. Edeard’s farsight flicked over to the area, sensing a deluge of anger and glee. Not a good combination, he thought as his farsight found a ge-eagle overhead.
Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2020 by Lonely Planet
High-speed rail services connect Guiyang and a handful of smaller cities to neighbouring Yunnan, Guangxi and Sichuan and further afield in China. Regional bus and train services help you get around; hiring a driver is recommended to reach some of the provincew’s most rural areas and small villages. TELL ME MORE… Remote Guizhou is largely unknown to modern travellers, though it was once a main artery on the Tea-Horse Road trading route between ancient China and the Tibetan plateau. Guizhou stayed secreted away, its tiny wooden villages left untouched in the province’s signature misty mountains. Change began a few years ago, when impoverished Guizhou became a technological destination of choice – such companies as Apple, Huawei and Tencent began moving in to take advantage of the province’s cool year- round climate for big data storage.
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
British Empire, carbon-based life, conceptual framework, coronavirus, invention of radio, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, out of africa, Ray Kurzweil, the High Line, trade route, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche
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.
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton
bitcoin, blockchain, crack epidemic, Edward Snowden, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Ross Ulbricht, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the market place, trade route, Travis Kalanick, white picket fence, WikiLeaks
What about a different input box? Still nothing. He was confused. There were not “hundreds of open cases” on the Silk Road, as his training officer had claimed. There were none. Jared thought for a moment and then decided to go to the next-best technology that any seasoned government official uses to search for something important: Google. The first few results were historical Web sites referencing the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. But halfway down the page he saw a link to an article from early June of that year on Gawker, a news and gossip blog, proclaiming that the Silk Road was “the underground website where you can buy any drug imaginable.” The blog post showed screenshots of a Web page with a green camel logo in the corner. It also displayed pictures of a cornucopia of drugs, 340 “items” in all, including Afghan hash, Sour 13 weed, LSD, ecstasy, eight-balls of cocaine, and black tar heroin.
There were millions of souls crammed into jails across the country because of drugs, mostly inconsequential drugs like weed and magic mushrooms. A vile and putrid prison system kept those people locked away; lives destroyed because the government wanted to tell people what they could and could not do with their own bodies. This new Web site he was working on could change that. Coming up with a name for his store was a challenge, but he finally settled on the Silk Road, a title borrowed from the ancient Chinese trade route of the Han dynasty. The biggest challenge now was finding the time to actually work on the project, given that he was still involved with Good Wagon Books and had even taken over most of the operation. Still, he had hired a couple of employees to do most of the book work, so Ross could hole up in his messy bedroom and toil away on the site, work that was difficult, even for someone as capable as Ross.
The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and Its Solutions by Jason Hickel
Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Atahualpa, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, David Attenborough, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, dematerialisation, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, European colonialism, falling living standards, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Zinn, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land value tax, liberal capitalism, Live Aid, Mahatma Gandhi, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, plutocrats, Plutocrats, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration
Imperialism’s New Logic The rise of capitalism changed not only the shape of Europe, but also its approach to imperialism. Originally, imperialism had been organised around direct, coercive appropriation of wealth. In some cases – as with the Spanish and Portuguese in the Americas – it focused on stealing precious metals such as gold and silver or on the use of slavery on plantations and in mines. In other cases its goal was securing access to trade routes, as with the French in Canada and the Dutch in South Africa. In all cases, the basic idea was to gain access to existing sources and flows of wealth. But when England got involved in the imperial project, the logic of imperialism changed. And it started in Ireland. In 1585, English colonisers made their first attempt at reproducing the new system of enclosure and ‘improvement’ in a foreign territory.
There, the process of enclosure and improvement in the late 19th century led to human suffering on a scale that outstripped that visited on both the Irish and indigenous North Americans, if such tragedies can be compared. It is a story that truly boggles the mind, although it is very little known. The colonisation of India began in the early 1600s as a corporate affair. It was led by the East India Company, which focused on securing control over trading routes east of the Cape of Good Hope. But the Company’s mandate gradually expanded, and by the 1800s it had established direct administrative power over most of the subcontinent, which it eventually handed over to the British government. Wielding this power, the main intervention that the British made in India was to reorganise the farming system, once again according to the logic of improvement. Unlike in America, in most cases the British didn’t resettle the land themselves, but rather forced the Indians to adopt a new agricultural system.
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
Its very name conjures visions of wealth and splendor. Its treasures of gold and jewels were fabulous. One naturally pictures such a wealthy city as located in a suitable setting of tropical luxury, surrounded by rich natural resources of forests, and mines. Such was not the case. It was located beside the Euphrates River, in a flat, arid valley. It had no forests, no mines — not even stone for building. It was not even located upon a natural trade-route. The rainfall was insufficient to raise crops. Babylon is an outstanding example of man’s ability to achieve great objectives, using whatever means are at his disposal. All of the resources supporting this large city were man-developed. All of its riches were man-made. Babylon possessed just two natural resources — a fertile soil and water in the river. With one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of this or any other day, Babylonian engineers diverted the waters from the river by means of dams and immense irrigation canals.
The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton
"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, clean water, colonial exploitation, Columbian Exchange, creative destruction, declining real wages, Downton Abbey, end world poverty, 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.
A Concise History of Modern India (Cambridge Concise Histories) by Barbara D. Metcalf, Thomas R. Metcalf
affirmative action, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, commoditize, demand response, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, income inequality, joint-stock company, Khyber Pass, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, Silicon Valley, spice trade, telemarketer, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning
Arabic-speaking Muslims had been present much earlier in the subcontinent, establishing a kingdom in Sind in the lower Indus valley in 711 as part of the expansion of the Umayyad dynasty based in Damascus. They were also found by the eighth century as traders along the Malabar coast of the south-west, where they settled, intermarried, and sustained distinctive cultural forms forged from their Arab ties and local setting, and in so doing helped link ‘al-Hind’ to seaborne trade routes. In the years from roughly 1200 to 1500, the movement of goods and peoples through Indian Ocean ports, as well as overland through the Persian-speaking lands, was such that Janet Abu-Lughod has characterized this period as an ‘Islamic world system’ of economic and political interaction. In this system, the Indian subcontinent played a significant part. Participation in these ruling and trading networks did not require that individuals be Muslims, but Muslim political expansion facilitated the success of the whole.
Nationalists found in this overseas migration both a heightened image of imperial exploitation that brought shame to India, and, at the same time, as Indians took up residence around the globe, a vision of ‘Greater India’, a nation beyond its borders, that recalled images of ancient glory. Engagement with the plight of diaspora Indians, as we shall see with Gandhi, was a critical stimulus to Indian nationalism. The Indian Army, in similar fashion, was deployed, at the cost of the Indian tax-payer, to protect trade routes and secure imperial interests from China, most notably during the 1900 Boxer rebellion, to East Africa, and to the Middle East. British officials themselves, along with Indian police and secretarial staff, especially technical personnel in such areas as forestry and public works, whose skills were honed in India, found employment in other areas of the Empire. Indigenous Indian trading groups also expanded their operations into British colonies around the Indian Ocean.
The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World by Steven Radelet
"Robert Solow", 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, creative destruction, 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 pandemic, global supply chain, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, off grid, 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, standardized shipping container, 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.
Value of Everything: An Antidote to Chaos The by Mariana Mazzucato
"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cleantech, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, European colonialism, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, G4S, George Akerlof, Google Hangouts, Growth in a Time of Debt, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interest rate derivative, Internet of things, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, money market fund, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, QWERTY keyboard, rent control, rent-seeking, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software patent, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game
In the fourth century BC, Aristotle distinguished a variety of more or less virtuous jobs, depending on the class (citizen or slave) of the ancient Greek polis dweller.1 In the New Testament, the apostle Matthew reported that Jesus said it was ‘easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God'.2 Duri