Daily Life through Trade: Buying and Selling in World History

Daily Life through Trade: Buying and Selling in World History

Daily Life through Trade: Buying and Selling in World History

Daily Life through Trade: Buying and Selling in World History


From ancient to modern times, trade has played an integral role in connecting disparate cultures and places on the earth--indeed, the existence of commercial trade across human civilization means that "globalization" is hardly a recent phenomenon or trend. "Daily Life through Trade: Buying and Selling in World History" documents how the importance of trade has made it the catalyst for migration, exploration, cultural interchange, and unfortunately, conflict and war throughout history.

Author James M. Anderson describes the history of trade and traders' lives, examining how commerce had important consequences in various regions of the world and addressing a wide range of topics, such as fair trade, the World Trade Organization, and the role of trade in sparking world wars. The book's coverage ranges from the earliest times to the present day, and serves not only as an excellent general reference for history students and general readers, but also as valuable supplementary reading for those enrolled in courses in economics and business.


Trade is one of the distinctive characteristics that set humans apart from the animal world. This facet of behavior, and its effect on the lives and interaction of people is the focus of this book. Each period of technological and social advancement from the Old Stone Age to modern times brought forth new products and new trade routes.

The quest for trade has engendered exploration, exploitation, scientific achievements (especially in navigation), and the spread of cultures and religious doctrines. At the same time, commercial rivalries have begotten destructive wars, colonial empires, mass slavery, piracy, plunder, and even genocide.

The role of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus and others in the formation of trade diasporas, and their often bellicose attitudes toward one another, as well as peaceful coexistence and cooperation in the pursuit of commerce, are part of the story. Mastery of the great oceans made long-distance global trade possible, linking the once remote regions of the earth.

This story embraces the major influences that shaped commerce, the problems that beset it and the countless benefits it bestowed on humanity. Trade developed according to people’s needs and was often based on their geography. For instance, those living in high country needed wheat, barley, and warm garments to wear. In return, they could trade timber, stone, gold, silver, and copper to the lowlanders.

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