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In sixteen essays authors explore the dramatic rise in the efficiency of European shipping in the three centuries before the Industrial Revolution. They offer reasons for the greater success of the sector than any other in making better use of labor. They describe the roots - political, organizational, technological, ecological, human - of rising productivity, treating those sources both theoretically and empirically. Comparisons with China show why Europeans came to dominate Asian waters. Building on past research, the volume is a statement of what is known about that critical sector of the early modern European economy and indicates the contribution shipping made to the emergence of the West as the dominant force on the oceans of the world.
About the Author
Richard W. Unger holds a doctorate in economic history from Yale University. He is a Professor of History at the University of British Columbia and has published articles and books on the history of ship design and shipping in premodern Europe as well as on beer production and cartography in the Renaissance.