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The Origins of Globalization

Book description

For better or for worse, in recent times the rapid growth of international economic exchange has changed our lives. But when did this process of globalization begin, and what effects did it have on economies and societies? Pim de Zwart and Jan Luiten van Zanden argue that the networks of trade established after the voyages of Columbus and Da Gama of the late fifteenth century had transformative effects inaugurating the first era of globalization. The global flows of ships, people, money and commodities between 1500 and 1800 were substantial, and the re-alignment of production and distribution resulting from these connections had important consequences for demography, well-being, state formation and the long-term economic growth prospects of the societies involved in the newly created global economy. Whether early globalization had benign or malignant effects differed by region, but the world economy as we now know it originated in these changes in the early modern period.


‘Here two top historians of the global economy offer a perfect summary of recent findings on how five continents were bound together over 300 years that shaped the modern world. The book is essential reading for any course in modern world history.'

Peter H. Lindert - University of California, Davis

‘Skilfully combining quantitative evidence with an accessible narrative, the authors show how ‘the changing geography of international exchange' between 1500 and 1800 transformed production, consumption and standards of living throughout the world. This impressive book deserves its place among the best in global economic history.'

Tirthankar Roy - London School of Economics and Political Science

‘This is a remarkable work of synthesis and interpretation. de Zwart and van Zanden root their account in the latest specialized research while never losing sight of the large questions of global history. Their book is at once an excellent teaching tool and a sure-footed guide to the many debates that continue to enliven the history of early globalization.'

Jan de Vries - University of California, Berkeley

‘Economic historians have established that the First Global Century was the nineteenth, recording the same globalization dynamic that the world has seen since the Second World War as the Second Global Century. This fine book shows how the years between 1500 and 1800 set the stage. Anyone interested in globalization should read this book.'

Jeffrey G. Williamson - Harvard University, Massachusetts and University of Wisconsin

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