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Diciembre 31, 2007

Desde Genghis Khan hasta la Revolución Industrial

La globalización del comercio a punta de espada o de cañón es una constante de la historia de la humanidad, sólo interrumpida por la aniquilación masiva de seres humanos que fue el siglo XX, según el libro "Power and Plenty", reseñado en The Economist:

Ronald Findlay and Kevin O'Rourke argue that Genghis Khan's marauding armies led, accidentally, to one of the three great events that punctuated the second millennium: the Black Death, which came from China and was spread by the Mongol troops. In the Protestant west of Europe the smaller labour population was able to demand higher real wages, which strengthened the economy, thereby boosting the relative importance of western Europe at the expense of other parts of the old world.

Europeans in the Middle Ages also developed a taste for trade with China and the Indies. When the land-based routes became less accessible after the collapse of the Mongol empire, European traders sought a sea-based alternative. This led directly to the second great event of the millennium—the discovery of the New World. This event was as brutal in its consequences as the Mongol invasions, since it led to the destruction of many indigenous civilisations and, eventually, the enforced enslavement and transportation of some 11m Africans to use as a labour force in the discovered lands. But the silver that the colonists brought back increased the monetisation and commercialisation of the Eurasian economy and led to an increase in trade.

The existence of such a large, developing market proved vital when the third great development, the Industrial Revolution, began in 18th-century Britain. The New World removed Malthusian constraints, which, until then, had meant that higher population growth could be achieved only at the expense of lower living standards. Britain was thus able to concentrate on manufacturing and import its food and raw materials. This strategy could not have been achieved without Britain's imperial muscle—in particular, the ability of the Royal Navy to protect trade routes. It was, as the authors explain, a “mercantilist world where unilateral free trade and a pacific stance were not viable options”.

Posted by Iñigo at Diciembre 31, 2007 03:35 PM

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"In the *Protestant* west of Europe".

Me pregunto si es un error de no sé muy bien qué tipo ni de quién (los autores del libro o del artículo), o si es otro caso de que a quien haya escrito eso (de nuevo los autores del libro, o del artículo) se le ve el plumero desde bien lejos.

Posted by: Mi nombre es Sombra at Enero 1, 2008 05:53 PM