History-Economics Discussion Board example

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History-Economics Discussion Board

What is the role of trade in the different societies you have encountered in this chapter?

Talking about the role of trade in the different societies, it should be mentioned that it was not just a mean for a profit, but also played an educational, diplomatic as well as cultural role. It should be mentioned that specific attitude toward trade gave some societies advantage over other in foreign policy matter as well as in level of authority. For example, Robert S. Lopez and Irvin W. Raymond comparing Genoese and Venetian societies stated that “the Venetians and their community formerly surpassed them in wealth, in arms, and in all [kind of] materials because they made greater use of the [narrow] water than did the Genoese and because they sailed across the high sea [Black Sea] with long ships…But once the Genoese became masters of the Black Sea… and sailing in the midst of winter in ships of reduced length [sailboats, using wind power], they not only barred the Roman from the lanes and the wares of the sea but also eclipsed the Venetians in wealth and material [goods]” (Lopez, Raymond).

So, it could be said that trade was playing a significant role in the distribution of power among different societies. It is also should be mentioned that trading also has influence on the educational level, since traders were required to speak several languages and be fully educated. It is also should be noted that successful trading also demands an introduction to the foreign culture. As noted in the “Advice to a Norwegian Merchant”, “I regard no man perfect in knowledge unless he has thoroughly learned and mastered the customs of the place where he is sojourning. And … you must learn all the languages, first of all Latine and French, for these…are most widely used” (Advice to a Norwegian Merchant).

So, it could be said that trading contributes to the multicultural exchange. In addition, traders become aware about customs, tradition and culture of the other societies. For example, Chao Ju-Kua describing Jawa society mentioned that “The native dress their hair and wear clothes which are around their chest and reach down to their knees. When they are sick, they made o medicines, but simply pray to their local gods or to the Buddha” (Ju-Kua), which is also confirms the fact that trading contribute to the multicultural exchange.

How do governments of different societies regard trade? How and to what degree are they involved? What factors determine the extent of their involvement?

Politics and government control played an important role in trading process. First of all, it should be noted that most often government was interrupted to get profit. For example, in some societies merchants were required to pay certain tax for opportunity to trade. As Robert S. Lopez and Irvin W. Raymond explained “Merchants entering the kingdom [of Lombardy, an Italian kingdom] were [obligated] to pay decimal [ten percent tax] …

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