Splendid Exchange by William Burnstein

Splendid Exchange

A Splendid Exchange is a comprehensive history of world trade from 3000 BC to the present day. The book explores how trade has shaped cultures, economies, and societies throughout history.

It covers the origins of trade, the development of trade routes, and the impact of trade on technological innovation, political power, and cultural exchange.

The book also examines the role of trade in the rise and fall of empires, the spread of disease, and the exploitation of natural resources.

It provides fresh insights into social, political, cultural, and economic history, as well as a timely assessment of trade’s future.

Key themes of the book include the importance of trade in the development of civilization, the impact of trade on global power dynamics, and the challenges and opportunities presented by globalization.

Useful takeaways from A Splendid Exchange:

  • Trade has been a driving force behind the progress of civilization.
  • The development of trade routes has enabled the exchange of goods, ideas, and culture between different regions of the world.
  • The rise and fall of empires can be attributed in part to their success or failure in controlling trade routes.
  • The exploitation of natural resources through trade has had significant environmental consequences.
  • Globalization presents both challenges and opportunities for the future of trade.

What I Liked

The book is accessible, well-argued, level-headed, and respects nuance. It’s a refreshing switch from history books that focus on war and conflict when it’s cooperation and trade that has made the world a better place.

What I Did Not Like

Not a whole lot – very interesting book.

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