Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium / Edition 1

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Overview

"Trade has been the economic foundation of international integration and globalization. But, as Findlay and O'Rourke show in this masterful, state-of-the-art historical survey, it has also been a very frequent cause of rivalry between nations and maritime conflict. No better book exists on the role that commerce has played in generating both the wealth of nations and the wars between them. The authors command the literature the way Victorian admirals ruled the waves."—Niall Ferguson, Harvard University

"A work of extraordinary scope and ambition and a major achievement. Findlay and O'Rourke show how international trade opens an illuminating window onto fully a millennium of world economic history."—Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley

The vision that emerges in this book is more powerful and encompassing than any previous study of world trade. It passes all the tests that an economic historian might require in terms of empirical evidence while also embodying a very clear view of the economics of globalization. The authors have new and important things to say about trade and the Industrial Revolution, the Great Divergence, the extent and driving forces of the globalization of trade in different periods, and the possibility of another globalization backlash. A marvelous achievement."—Nicholas Crafts, University of Warwick

"The significance of this work lies in its comprehensiveness and the unflagging thoughtfulness of its analysis. It is very rare to find such detailed historical coverage resting on such a solid theoretical foundation."—Eric L. Jones, author of The European Miracle and Cultures Merging

"This book, magisterial in scope and execution, marries a reading of voluminous historical research with an economist's sharp eye to what is important in shaping economies and events. The authors have drawn exhaustively on the secondary historical, political, and economic literature of the relevant periods and have integrated it faithfully with their own conceptual framework."—Douglas A. Irwin, Dartmouth College

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Editorial Reviews

The New Republic
The excellent new book Power and Plenty explains why some countries are rich, and why others are not. [Recent books] all try to explain the biggest question of the modern world: why some [countries] are rich and other poor. Now, we have...Power and Plenty, a tome that combines the interpretive focus of the new school of explainers with the breadth and depth of the old narratives. They also put neoliberal economic theory to the historical test by asking what it would predict, and then contrasting those forecasts with history's actual path. Findlay and O'Rourke tell their tale exceptionally well.
— Eric Rauchway
Review of Radical Political Economics
Power and Plenty is a fascinating book of both world history and economic history, full of detail on both accounts. . . . These ancient intrigues in unfamiliar times and places make for fascinating reading and remind us of how little progress people have made in resisting imperialism throughout the ages. On a more serious note, the book also provides an excellent window into the continuing costs of imperialism.
— Michael Perelman
Scandinavian Economic History Review
[T]his book is a masterful synthesis of economic analysis and historical narrative. It demands quite a lot of its readers, however, as its more than 600 pages are packed with facts, conclusions and implications for economic development, never hesitating to elaborate on the complexities of international trade relations during the last millennium.
— Erik Lindberg
The New Republic - Eric Rauchway
The excellent new book Power and Plenty explains why some countries are rich, and why others are not. [Recent books] all try to explain the biggest question of the modern world: why some [countries] are rich and other poor. Now, we have...Power and Plenty, a tome that combines the interpretive focus of the new school of explainers with the breadth and depth of the old narratives. They also put neoliberal economic theory to the historical test by asking what it would predict, and then contrasting those forecasts with history's actual path. Findlay and O'Rourke tell their tale exceptionally well.
Salon.com - Andrew Leonard
Aiming at nothing less than documenting the history of world trade over the last 1,000 years, Power and Plenty...appears to be required reading...for the purposes of better understanding how the world works.
Foreign Affairs - G. John Ikenberry
This new history of the last thousand years of world trade is remarkable in both its grand sweep and its scholarly depth. It pieces together the story of global commerce from the medieval spice traders and nomads of Central Asia to the discovery and incorporation of the New World, to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Europe, and to the globalizing forces of the postwar world economy. One theme is the importance of the 'vast webs of interrelationships' between western Europe and other regions that, beginning in the medieval period, set the stage for modern economic growth. The other theme is the critical role of war in propelling economic change through upheaval and adaptation.
Financial Times - Clive Crook
Power and Plenty is a wide-ranging survey, both of the facts and of the literature, not an essay organized around a single thesis. It takes on, and treats seriously, a ton of material. Bearing that in mind, it is...engaging...well written, spiced with nuggets of fascinating information and dry wit. [Findlay and O'Rourke's] economics is sophisticated and mainstream...but enriched with an unusual attention to noneconomic factors—or, as the authors put it, 'a sustained emphasis on conflict, violence and geopolitics.'
Shanghai Daily - Wan Lixin
[A] solid new book. Power and Plenty is an ambitious endeavor that examines the works in the second millennium in light of globalization, deglobalization, reglobalization, and globalization as we know it today. The book fills a gap by scrutinizing the technological and political causes behind the long-term trends during the past thousand years. [The authors] have drawn exhaustively on the historical, political, and economic literature of the relevant periods for virtually all the major regions in the world.
Irish Times - Frank Geary
In this magnificently conceived and executed work, Findlay and O'Rourke set out the history of global trade and show how it has been influenced by economic development and politics over the last thousand years. The authors have an important story to tell and they tell it superbly. This is a work brimming with scholarship, deftly combining narrative history with accessible economic analysis. This is a goldmine of a book. Open it where you will, there are nuggets to be extracted. It will remain the standard work on the history of world trade and indeed the development of the world economy for many years to come.
Choice - M. Veseth
This magisterial volume presents an analytical history of world trade from 1000 CE to the present, with informed speculation about future trends thrown in for good measure. It is a very considerable achievement, for which Findlay and O'Rourke deserve great praise.
Economic Principals - David Warsh
[T]he best book of its sort since David Landes' Wealth and Poverty of Nations.
World Trade Review - David S. Jacks
[T]his is a big, important work. . . . The authors have mastered an incredibly voluminous literature . . . and produced the only truly comprehensive history of trade in the second millennium. . . . [T]his is a book that should be widely read.
EH.Net - Sevket Pamuk
This is a well researched volume which is simply delightful to read. In most of the topics about which I have some knowledge, I found the analyses and the judgments offered by the authors both balanced and insightful. I expect this book will remain the standard text for many years to come.
International History Review - Ivan T. Berend
This is a huge enterprise, an illuminating work, a tour de force that successfully combines political and economic history of a thousand years. . . . A major contribution to the history of and debates about globalization.
Southern Economic Journal - John T. Dalton
Power and Plenty serves as an excellent one-volume survey on the role played by the interaction of economic and political forces in shaping the world economy of the last 1000 years. The book should be read by any serious student of world economic history, international trade, or international relations.
New Global Studies - Stanley Engerman
Power and Plenty . . . with its depth and extensive coverage, makes an excellent reference work for the study world history and the history of world trade. It is a work of superb scholarship befitting the scholarly reputations of each of the co-authors, Findlay for his work in the theory of international trade and development and O'Rourke for his studies in economic history and globalization. This book will be widely read, cited, and discussed as a landmark volume on its subjects.
Comparative Political Studies - Robert D. Fannion
By adopting a broad view across such an expanse of both space and time, Findlay and O'Rourke are able to perceive patterns that few others have identified and bring a compelling new perspective to several historical and theoretical debates that benefit from a larger view.
Economic History Review - C. Knick Harley
Findlay and O'Rourke provide an impressive survey of 1000 years of trade and its interaction with geopolitics and political economy on a global scale that strives consciously to avoid a Eurocentric stance. . . . [T]his is a compelling and valuable volume.
International Journal of Maritime History - Simon Ville
Almost anyone researching an aspect of the history of international trade will find this an excellent and stimulating starting point and will be aided by an impressive bibliography that includes many older classics as well as recent additions to the literature.
International Review of Economics & Finance - Farhad Rassekh
[T]his book is indispensible for scholars who seek answers to questions such as: How did the world economy evolve into its present form? What events shaped its current characteristics? What roles did trade play in shaping the modern world economy? Power and Plenty, an exemplary feat of scholarship, fully answers all these questions.
Review of Radical Political Economics - Michael Perelman
Power and Plenty is a fascinating book of both world history and economic history, full of detail on both accounts. . . . These ancient intrigues in unfamiliar times and places make for fascinating reading and remind us of how little progress people have made in resisting imperialism throughout the ages. On a more serious note, the book also provides an excellent window into the continuing costs of imperialism.
Scandinavian Economic History Review - Erik Lindberg
[T]his book is a masterful synthesis of economic analysis and historical narrative. It demands quite a lot of its readers, however, as its more than 600 pages are packed with facts, conclusions and implications for economic development, never hesitating to elaborate on the complexities of international trade relations during the last millennium.
Economist
[A] splendidly ambitious new book...an excellent reference book for anyone wanting a better understanding of economic developments in the last millennium.
Salon.com
Aiming at nothing less than documenting the history of world trade over the last 1,000 years, Power and Plenty...appears to be required reading...for the purposes of better understanding how the world works.
— Andrew Leonard
Foreign Affairs
This new history of the last thousand years of world trade is remarkable in both its grand sweep and its scholarly depth. It pieces together the story of global commerce from the medieval spice traders and nomads of Central Asia to the discovery and incorporation of the New World, to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Europe, and to the globalizing forces of the postwar world economy. One theme is the importance of the 'vast webs of interrelationships' between western Europe and other regions that, beginning in the medieval period, set the stage for modern economic growth. The other theme is the critical role of war in propelling economic change through upheaval and adaptation.
— G. John Ikenberry
Financial Times
Power and Plenty is a wide-ranging survey, both of the facts and of the literature, not an essay organized around a single thesis. It takes on, and treats seriously, a ton of material. Bearing that in mind, it is...engaging...well written, spiced with nuggets of fascinating information and dry wit. [Findlay and O'Rourke's] economics is sophisticated and mainstream...but enriched with an unusual attention to noneconomic factors—or, as the authors put it, 'a sustained emphasis on conflict, violence and geopolitics.'
— Clive Crook
Shanghai Daily
[A] solid new book. Power and Plenty is an ambitious endeavor that examines the works in the second millennium in light of globalization, deglobalization, reglobalization, and globalization as we know it today. The book fills a gap by scrutinizing the technological and political causes behind the long-term trends during the past thousand years. [The authors] have drawn exhaustively on the historical, political, and economic literature of the relevant periods for virtually all the major regions in the world.
— Wan Lixin
Irish Times
In this magnificently conceived and executed work, Findlay and O'Rourke set out the history of global trade and show how it has been influenced by economic development and politics over the last thousand years. The authors have an important story to tell and they tell it superbly. This is a work brimming with scholarship, deftly combining narrative history with accessible economic analysis. This is a goldmine of a book. Open it where you will, there are nuggets to be extracted. It will remain the standard work on the history of world trade and indeed the development of the world economy for many years to come.
— Frank Geary
Choice
This magisterial volume presents an analytical history of world trade from 1000 CE to the present, with informed speculation about future trends thrown in for good measure. It is a very considerable achievement, for which Findlay and O'Rourke deserve great praise.
— M. Veseth
Economic Principals
[T]he best book of its sort since David Landes' Wealth and Poverty of Nations.
— David Warsh
World Trade Review
[T]his is a big, important work. . . . The authors have mastered an incredibly voluminous literature . . . and produced the only truly comprehensive history of trade in the second millennium. . . . [T]his is a book that should be widely read.
— David S. Jacks
Wider Angle
International trade has shaped the modern world, yet until now no single book has been available for both economists and general readers that traces the history of the international economy from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Power and Plenty fills this gap, providing the first full account of world trade and development over the course of the last millennium.
EH.Net
This is a well researched volume which is simply delightful to read. In most of the topics about which I have some knowledge, I found the analyses and the judgments offered by the authors both balanced and insightful. I expect this book will remain the standard text for many years to come.
— Sevket Pamuk
International History Review
This is a huge enterprise, an illuminating work, a tour de force that successfully combines political and economic history of a thousand years. . . . A major contribution to the history of and debates about globalization.
— Ivan T. Berend
Southern Economic Journal
Power and Plenty serves as an excellent one-volume survey on the role played by the interaction of economic and political forces in shaping the world economy of the last 1000 years. The book should be read by any serious student of world economic history, international trade, or international relations.
— John T. Dalton
New Global Studies
Power and Plenty . . . with its depth and extensive coverage, makes an excellent reference work for the study world history and the history of world trade. It is a work of superb scholarship befitting the scholarly reputations of each of the co-authors, Findlay for his work in the theory of international trade and development and O'Rourke for his studies in economic history and globalization. This book will be widely read, cited, and discussed as a landmark volume on its subjects.
— Stanley Engerman
Comparative Political Studies
By adopting a broad view across such an expanse of both space and time, Findlay and O'Rourke are able to perceive patterns that few others have identified and bring a compelling new perspective to several historical and theoretical debates that benefit from a larger view.
— Robert D. Fannion
Economic History Review
Findlay and O'Rourke provide an impressive survey of 1000 years of trade and its interaction with geopolitics and political economy on a global scale that strives consciously to avoid a Eurocentric stance. . . . [T]his is a compelling and valuable volume.
— C. Knick Harley
International Journal of Maritime History
Almost anyone researching an aspect of the history of international trade will find this an excellent and stimulating starting point and will be aided by an impressive bibliography that includes many older classics as well as recent additions to the literature.
— Simon Ville
International Review of Economics & Finance
[T]his book is indispensible for scholars who seek answers to questions such as: How did the world economy evolve into its present form? What events shaped its current characteristics? What roles did trade play in shaping the modern world economy? Power and Plenty, an exemplary feat of scholarship, fully answers all these questions.
— Farhad Rassekh
From the Publisher
"[T]his book is a masterful synthesis of economic analysis and historical narrative. It demands quite a lot of its readers, however, as its more than 600 pages are packed with facts, conclusions and implications for economic development, never hesitating to elaborate on the complexities of international trade relations during the last millennium."—Erik Lindberg, Scandinavian Economic History Review
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ronald Findlay is the Ragnar Nurkse Professor of Economics at Columbia University. He is the author of "Factor Proportions, Trade, and Growth"and "Trade, Development, and Political Economy". Kevin H. O'Rourke is professor of economics at Trinity College, Dublin. He is the coauthor of "Globalization and History".

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xiii
Preface     xvi
Introduction: Geographical and Historical Background     1
Western Europe     4
Eastern Europe     11
North Africa and Southwest Asia: The Islamic World     15
Central (or Inner) Asia     24
South Asia     29
Southeast Asia     33
East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan)     37
The World Economy at the Turn of the First Millennium     43
The Golden Age of Islam     48
China: The Sung Economic Miracle     61
The Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian Trade     67
The Pirenne Thesis     71
Eastern Europe: The Viking Connection     73
The Economy of Western Europe     80
World Trade 1000-1500: The Economic Consequences of Genghis Khan     87
Trade and War in the Mediterranean and the Black sea, 1000-1350     88
The Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, 1000-1350     98
The Pax Mongolica and Overland Trade, 1000-1350     101
Eurasia on the Eve of the Black Death     109
The Black Death     111
Trade between Western and Eastern Europe, 1350-1500     120
Overland Trade, 1350-1500: The Aftermath of the PaxMongolica     124
The Emergence of Russia     126
The Middle East, the Mediterranean, and International Trade, 1350-1500     127
Southeast Asia and China, 1350-1500     133
Quantifying the Late Medieval Spice Trade     140
World Trade 1500-1650: Old World Trade and New World Silver     143
Portugal, the Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean     145
Spain, Portugal, and the New World     158
The Pacific and East Asia     167
The Dutch Rise to Primacy in World Trade     175
Russia, Sweden, and the Baltic, 1500-1650     187
Southeast Asia during the Age of Commerce     194
The Cape Route, Venice, and the Middle East     204
Silver, Silk, and Spices     212
World Trade 1650-1780: The Age of Mercantilism     227
Origins of the British Empire: Trade, Plunder, and Settlement     229
Mercantilism, Commercial Rivalry, and the Anglo-Dutch Wars     238
Britain, France, and the Dutch Republic     245
Britain and France: Commercial Expansion and the Second Hundred Years' War     247
India: The Disintegration of the Mughal Empire and the Transition to Colonial Rule     262
Southeast Asia and the End of the Age of Commerce     275
The Manchu Empire     284
China's Overseas Trade     286
Chinese and Russian Overland Trade     295
Conclusion     304
Trade and the Industrial Revolution     311
Trade during the Industrial Revolution     324
Trade, Overseas Expansion, and the Industrial Revolution     330
Why Britain? Why Europe and Not Asia?     346
Conclusion     364
World Trade 1780-1914: The Great Specialization     365
War and Revolution     366
The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars: Short-Run Implications     369
The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars: Long-Run Implications     371
The Industrial Revolution and Transportation Technology     378
Bulk Commodities and Heckscher-Ohlin Effects     383
Nineteenth-Century Imperialism     387
Nineteenth-Century Trade Policy     395
Commodity Market Integration, 1815-1914     402
Complementary Factor Flows and the Great Frontier     407
Trade and the Global Division of Labor     411
Trade, Tropical Frontiers, and the Great Divergence     414
The Terms of Trade     424
Conclusion     425
World Trade 1914-39: Deglobalization      429
World War I     429
The Aftermath of War     435
Interwar Commercial Policy     443
Transport Costs     455
The Volume of World Trade     458
Price Convergence and Divergence     461
The Great Depression, the Collapse of World Trade, and the Developing Countries     465
The Collapse of the Ottoman Empire     469
Conclusion     471
Reglobalization: The Late Twentieth Century in Historical Perspective     473
World War II     473
Geopolitical Consequences: Communism, the Cold War, and Decolonization     476
The Gradual Reconstruction of the Atlantic Economy: 1950-70     489
Policy Divergence: 1945-80     493
Reglobalization: 1980-2000     496
International Transport Costs     501
Trends in Openness: Quantities and Prices     505
Unraveling the Great Specialization     512
Openness and Convergence in the Late Twentieth Century     515
Conclusion     525
Globalization at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century     527
The Future of Globalization: Economic Challenges     534
The Future of Globalization: Political Challenges     539
Bibliography      547
Index     593
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent history of world trade

    Ronald Findlay, a professor of economics at Columbia University and Kevin O'Rourke, a professor of economics at Trinity College, Dublin, have written a fine history of world trade since 1000. They pick out three events as world-historical - the Black Death, the opening of the New World, and the Industrial Revolution.

    They describe Genghis Khan's unification of most of the Eurasian landmass. Plague then killed between 25 million and 80 million people in Europe in 1348-51. But the resulting labour shortage made wages rise between 1350 and 1500. By contrast, population growth, as in the 13th century, reduced wages.

    The age of mercantilism, based on British industry, American agriculture and African slaves, lasted from 1650 to 1780. Empires struggled for control of the New World's resources, land and trade. The Americas provided elastic supplies of land; Africa provided elastic supplies of cheap labour. Britain, atypically, industrialised with free trade, but our industrialisation did not depend on the slave trade: in 1770, its profits were only 0.54% of Britain's national income.

    The 1792-1815 wars ended mercantilism. The authors call 1780-1914 the great specialisation, when the West European empires deindustrialised India and China and forced them to supply cheap raw materials and labour. World War One ended the liberal economic order of the late 19th-century.

    The authors call World War One 'an exogenous shock to the international economic system' and the Great Depression 'a second major shock'. But both resulted from capitalism. They call 1914-39 the era of deglobalisation and note, "tariffs were positively associated with growth across countries in the interwar period."

    1939-2000 saw reglobalisation. The authors claim that the median developing country failed to grow between 1980 and 1999 'despite the trend toward greater openness' - but that is only if you wrongly assume that openness brings growth.

    As they admit, "Simple monocausal relations between openness and growth are not supported by the data . Growth depends on a wide range of variables other than exposure to trade". To grow, countries need to boost investment in equipment, R&D and education, and to employ a larger portion of the population in industry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing survey of the history of tumultuous world trade

    Thinking of globalization as a new phenomenon or an inevitable one is all too easy. As scholars Ronald Findlay and Kevin O¿Rourke explain in this thorough examination, globalization is neither new nor predictable. In fact, international trade has been a reality for more than 1,000 years and the story of global commerce is one of constant change. For centuries, nations have jockeyed for position, imposed rules and killed each other¿s citizens in the name of trade. This enlightening work rewards the reader with a depth of understanding and context. However, it would benefit from a more conversational, less academic tone. getAbstract recommends it to readers who want to see world economic affairs in a broader context and perspective.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2008

    Genghis Khan at the Root of Globalization

    Ronald Findlay and Kevin O¿Rourke demonstrate with much detail how trade, war, and peace have closely interacted with each other in the last millennium. Findlay and O¿Rourke clearly show how three apparently unrelated events, i.e., the Black Death of the 14th century C.E. and its different impact on several regions of the world, the integration of the New World into that of the Old at the turn of the 16th century C.E., and the Industrial Revolution at the turn of the 19th century C.E., have shaped the world as we know it today. Thankfully, Findlay and O¿Rourke have compiled the existing research to allow their audience to better understand the close interaction that exists between Power and Plenty. To summarize, Findlay and O¿Rourke¿s demanding volume clearly does not target readers who have a short attention span, do not acknowledge the importance of the past to peruse the future, lack persistence, or are interested in simplistic answers to complex issues.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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