Business and Polity explores, through a variety of economic and political formations over the past two and a half millennia, right from the Greco-Roman civilization to present day globalization, the behavior of two power networks: those who control the levers of political power and those who engage themselves in wealth-generating activities. It traces the dynamics of interdependence between these two powerful networks and what happens when one or the other becomes more powerful.
The rational and logical approach taken by the author reveals the links that our modern state of affairs has with the experience of past civilizations—knowledge that can potentially enhance our ability to make informed decisions to shape the global future. Though the content is academic and interdisciplinary in scope and nature, its lucid presentation will appeal to a wide range of readers who are interested in geopolitical issues and economic, political and business history.
Part II: The Medieval World: ad 1000–1500
[Page 88]By the beginning of the second millennium ad, maritime trade had started acquiring a long-distance global character, bringing previously isolated peoples into closer contact, from the Mediterranean and African civilisations to Asia. Trade evolved into regular movements of thousands of small vessels carrying everything from luxuries to daily necessities.
But it was not trade between nations; merchants and their goods circulated through a generally frictionless ‘archipelago of towns’ in which not only did the units trade with each other and handle transit trade, but they even aligned their internal economies to suit this trade. At one end of the long trading network was China; at the other the Islamic regions of the Mediterranean. In the middle ...