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A Splendid Exchange

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A Splendid Exchange

How Trade Shaped the World

Atlantic Monthly Press,

15 мин на чтение
10 основных идей
Аудио и текст

Что внутри?

Columbus didn’t find India, but he opened a new chapter in world trade; for more gripping chapters, sail on.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


The appeal of this comprehensive history of world trade is rooted in its valuable information, thoughtful insights and brilliant writing. But, you’ll also be delighted with the fascinating, little-known details that financial theorist William J. Bernstein throws in along the way. For example, did you know that the Boston Tea Party, the legendary event that helped launch the American Revolution, was not a selfless act of patriotism, but a venal stunt by greedy smugglers and merchants that actually cost the colonists a lot of money? How about the fact that an Ethiopian herder may have discovered coffee in A.D. 700 when he noticed that his goats and camels bounced merrily around all night after chewing on the red berries of an unknown shrub? Or that the early Chinese sometimes adulterated their precious tea exports with sawdust? Bernstein fills his book with such beguiling minutiae, but primarily he presents a knowing, comprehensive, discerning report on world trade from its prehistoric beginnings to the present. getAbstract predicts that Bernstein’s saga will engage you from the first page to the last, and from sea to shining sea.


Global Trade: A Venerable and Storied History

In today’s global economy, everyone is accustomed to buying goods from other countries – electronics from Taiwan, vegetables from Mexico, clothing from China, cars from Korea and skirts from India. Most modern shoppers take the “Made in (some other country)” stickers on their products for granted. Long-distance commerce was not always this common, although foreign trade – the movement of goods from one geographic region to another – has been a vital factor in human affairs since prehistoric times. Thousands of years ago, merchants transported only the most precious items – silk, gold and silver, spices, jewels, porcelains and medicines – via ancient, extended land and sea trade routes, including the fabled Silk Road through central Asia. Moving goods great distances was simply too hard and costly to waste the effort on ordinary products, although people often carted grain and other foods over shorter distances from farms to market towns.

Numerous signs provide clues about ancient, long-distance trade, a fundamental human activity for millennia. In Mesopotamia, where copper is not indigenous, archaeologists uncovered copper...

About the Author

William J. Bernstein is an author, financial theorist and historian. His other books include The Birth of Plenty and The Four Pillars of Investing.

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