General Issues and Regional Groups
Edited by Miroslav N. Jovanović
Chapter 10: Technology and Globalisation
Richard G. Lipsey 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter is written from a Western perspective. The discussion of the West’s development of particular trade-inducing technologies is not meant to imply that they were all unique to the West. Long-distance trade, and the technologies that permitted it, were found in many parts of the world from the earliest times to the present. However, the technologies that permitted the rapid globalisation of trade that started in the early modern period were all invented and innovated in the West, although their use and further development eventually spread to many other parts of the world. This chapter is structured as follows. Sections 2–5 outline early developments, Mediterranean trade in the Medieval period, and the introduction of the three-masted sailing ship, the railroad and the iron steamship. Section 6 discusses the inter-war setback and its reversal. Section 7 examines late twentieth-century globalisation. Finally Section 8 addresses the issue of transport costs and the ‘de-globalisation’ of manufacturing. 2 EARLY DEVELOPMENTS Trade over distance has a very long history and from earliest times its extent in terms of geography and range of commodities has been strongly influenced by technology. There is evidence of such trade even in hunter gatherer societies, some of it overland with human porters and some by water in primitive vessels that could navigate rivers and coastal seas. Then with the Neolithic agricultural revolution came the domestication of animals, which Lipsey et al. (2005) call one of the earliest and greatest of all general purpose...
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