Before the seventeenth century, trade across Eurasia was mostly conducted in short segments along the Silk Route and Indian Ocean. Business was organized in family firms, merchant networks, and state-owned enterprises, and dominated by Chinese, Indian, and Arabic traders. However, around 1600 the first two joint-stock corporations, the English and Dutch East India Companies, were established. Going the Distance, written by Ron Harris, tells the story of overland and maritime trade without Europeans, of European Cape Route trade without corporations, and of how new, large-scale, and impersonal organizations arose in Europe to control long-distance trade for more than three centuries. Ron Harris shows that by 1700, the scene and methods for global trade had dramatically changed: Dutch and English merchants shepherded goods directly from China and India to northwestern Europe. To understand this transformation, Harris compares the organizational forms used in four major regions: China, India, the Middle East, and Western Europe. The English and Dutch were the last to leap into Eurasian trade, and they innovated in order to compete. They raised capital from passive investors through impersonal stock markets and their joint-stock corporations deployed more capital, ships, and agents to deliver goods from their origins to consumers. In this Webinar, Ron Harris will share his insights on the history behind a cornerstone of the modern economy, and how this organizational revolution contributed to the formation of global trade and the creation of the business corporation as a key factor in Europe’s economic rise.
Live on Zoom on July 23, 2020
09:00 London | 11:00 Tel Aviv | 16:00 Hong Kong/Beijing/Singapore | 17:00 Tokyo | 18:00 Sydney
Photo credit: Princeton University Press @https://pup-assets.imgix.net/onix/images/9780691150772.jpg
Quantitative History Webinar Series
A new knowledge exchange platform for researchers and students in the field of Economic History. Our interactive Webinars help researchers, teachers and students keep up to date with the latest research in the field. The Quantitative History Webinar Series is co-organized by the Asia Global Institute and Faculty of Business and Economics at HKU, and proudly supported by the International Society for Quantitative History.
Convenor: Professor Zhiwu Chen, HKU Business School and Asia Global Institute
Coordinator: Dr. Chicheng Ma, HKU Business School