Trade Policy and International Legal Development
Chapter 1: The Social Impacts of Trade
The term ‘trade’ has numerous definitions, often making the exact meaning in any particular context dependent on the author’s discipline. In the social sciences generally, ‘trade’ has been a topic of study for anthropologists, archeologists, historians, and sociologists, as well as for political scientists, and the approaches to just what is being studied change with the particular focal point. While all definitions implicate a transfer of goods or services, ideas differ on whether the transfer must be voluntary (to distinguish ‘trading’ from ‘raiding’), whether the transfer must be two-way (to distinguish trading from gift-giving), and whether the mere act of exchange is sufficient in and of itself to be considered ‘trade’.1 It is the latter point that is of relevance here: throughout history, the commercial act of trading – at least the process of international trade – has always been accompanied by more than a mere exchange of goods or services: ‘trade as encounter’ led to trade as ‘communication’, even when the language of the traders differed.2 1. IMPACTS OF TRADE AS A SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PHENOMENON Indeed, trade, regardless of how it is otherwise defined, has contained within it the force of profound social evolution: trade as phenomenon. 1 Polyani looks at trade from an ‘institutional’ perspective and includes ‘twosidedness’ in his definition of acts embodying ‘trade’: Karl Polanyi, ‘Traders and Trade’ in Jeremy A. Sabloff and C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, eds., Ancient Civilizations and Trade (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1975, 133-154). In Finley’s classic work, The Ancient Economy, one is...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.