Creating A World Economy: Merchant Capital, Colonialism, And World Trade, 1400-1825

1st Edition

Alan K. Smith

Routledge
Published June 7, 2019
Reference - 172 Pages
ISBN 9780367003951 - CAT# K402811

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Summary

This is an exploration in world history that examines complex and intriguing questions concerning the origins of the first truly global economy, centered in Europe, which served in turn as a solid basis for the later emergence of the modern world system. Professor Smith first examines the remarkable progress achieved by many cultures around the world, achievements that for some time far exceeded anything then found in Europe. The study then probes beyond "traditionalism" as a sufficient explanation of the inability of these societies to maintain the economic momentum that had begun so auspiciously and carefully examines the experience of European societies by way of comparison, finding that remarkably similar processes tended to unfold at first: regions of Europe that made the earliest gains in material progress were, like other parts of the world, unable to sustain these advances. Still, in some parts of Europe–particularly the Netherlands and England–a new alignment of social forces was yielding the social system that would eventually evolve into capitalism. This breakthrough allowed for continued dynamic material progress, particularly for the English. Able to establish an unprecedented commercial dominance in vast reaches of the world, the British found themselves at the hub of a new world economy much more complex than any earlier intercultural commercial system. The book delineates the systemic roles assumed by the various regions of the world and by European merchant capital and explains the tensions within this system that ensured its continued dynamism and eventual transformation into the current world economic system. Creating a World Economy combines an epic sweep with a mastery of historical detail and is sure to stimulate discussion among sociologists and historians interested in questions of a global nature.

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