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Trade involves the transfer of goods or services from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system or network that allows trade as a market.

An early form of trade, barter, saw the direct exchange of goods and services for other goods and services.[1][need quotation to verify] Barter involves trading things without the use of money.[1] When either bartering party started to involve precious metals, these gained symbolic as well as practical importance.[citation needed] Modern traders generally negotiate through a medium of exchange, such as money. As a result, buying can be separated from selling, or earning. The invention of money (and later of credit, paper money and non-physical money) greatly simplified and promoted trade. Trade between two traders is called bilateral trade, while trade involving more than two traders is called multilateral trade.

In one modern view, trade exists due to specialization and the division of labor, a predominant form of economic activity in which individuals and groups concentrate on a small aspect of production, but use their output in trades for other products and needs.[2] Trade exists between regions because different regions may have a comparative advantage (perceived or real) in the production of some trade-able commodity—including production of natural resources scarce or limited elsewhere. For example: different regions' sizes may encourage mass production. In such circumstances, trade at market prices between locations can benefit both locations.

Retail trade consists of the sale of goods or merchandise from a very fixed location[3] (such as a department store, boutique or kiosk), online or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption or use by the purchaser.[4] Wholesale trade is defined[by whom?] as traffic in goods that are sold as merchandise to retailers, or to industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users, or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services.

Historically, openness to free trade substantially increased in some areas from 1815 to the outbreak of World War I[citation needed] in 1914. Trade openness increased again during the 1920s, but collapsed (in particular in Europe and North America) during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Trade openness increased substantially again from the 1950s onwards (albeit with a slowdown during the oil crisis of the 1970s). Economists and economic historians[which?] contend that current levels of trade openness are the highest they have ever been.[5][6][7]

Etymology

Trade is from Middle English trade ("path, course of conduct"), introduced into English by Hanseatic merchants, from Middle Low German trade ("track, course"), from Old Saxon trada ("spoor, track"), from Proto-Germanic *tradō ("track, way"), and cognate with Old English tredan ("to tread").

Commerce is derived from the Latin commercium, from cum "together" and merx, "merchandise."[8]

History

Prehistory

Trade originated with human communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people,[citation needed] who bartered goods and services from each other before the innovation of modern-day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.[9]

In the Mediterranean region, the earliest contact between cultures involved members of the species Homo sapiens, principally using the Danube river, at a time beginning 35,000–30,000 BP.[10][11][12][13][need quotation to verify]

Some[who?] trace the origins of commerce to the very start of transactions in prehistoric times. Apart from traditional self-sufficiency, trading became a principal facility of prehistoric people, who bartered what they had for goods and services from each other.

The caduceus, traditionally associated which Mercury (the Roman patron-god of merchants), continues in use as a symbol of commerce.[14][need quotation to verify]

Ancient history

Ancient Etruscan "aryballoi" terracota vessels unearthed in the 1860s at Bolshaya Bliznitsa tumulus near Phanagoria, South Russia (formerly part of the Bosporan Kingdom of Cimmerian Bosporus, present-day Taman Peninsula); on exhibit at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

Trade is believed[by whom?] to have taken place throughout much[quantify] of recorded human history. There is evidence of the exchange of obsidian and flint during the Stone Age. Trade in obsidian is believed[by whom?] to have taken place in New Guinea from 17,000 BCE.[15][16]

The earliest use of obsidian in the Near East dates to the Lower and Middle paleolithic.[17]

Robert Carr Bosanquet investigated trade in the Stone Age by excavations in 1901.[18][19] Trade is believed[by whom?] to have first begun in south west Asia.[20][21]

Archaeological evidence of obsidian use provides data on how this material was increasingly the preferred choice rather than chert from the late Mesolithic to Neolithic, requiring exchange as deposits of obsidian are rare in the Mediterranean region.[22][23][24]

Obsidian is thought[by whom?] to have provided the material to make cutting utensils or tools, although since other more easily obtainable materials were available, use was found[by whom?] exclusive to the higher status of the tribe using "the rich man's flint".[25] Interestingly, Obsidian has held its value relative to flint.

Early traders traded Obsidian at distances of 900 kilometres within the Mediterranean region.[26]

Trade in the Mediterranean during the Neolithic of Europe was greatest in this material.[22][27] Networks were in existence at around 12,000 BCE[28] Anatolia was the source primarily for trade with the Levant, Iran and Egypt according to Zarins study of 1990.[29][30][31] Melos and Lipari sources produced among the most widespread trading in the Mediterranean region as known to archaeology.[32]

The Sari-i-Sang mine in the mountains of Afghanistan was the largest source for trade of lapis lazuli.[33][34] The material was most largely traded during the Kassite period of Babylonia beginning 1595 BCE.[35][36]

Later trade

Mediterranean and Near East

Ebla was a prominent trading centre during the third millennia, with a network reaching into Anatolia and north Mesopotamia.[32][37][38][39]

A map of the Silk Road trade route between Europe and Asia.

Materials used for creating jewelry were traded with Egypt since 3000 BCE. Long-range trade routes first appeared in the 3rd millennium BCE, when Sumerians in Mesopotamia traded with the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley. The Phoenicians were noted sea traders, traveling across the Mediterranean Sea, and as far north as Britain for sources of tin to manufacture bronze. For this purpose they established trade colonies the Greeks called emporia.[40]

From the beginning of Greek civilization until the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, a financially lucrative trade brought valuable spice to Europe from the far east, including India and China. Roman commerce allowed its empire to flourish and endure. The latter Roman Republic and the Pax Romana of the Roman empire produced a stable and secure transportation network that enabled the shipment of trade goods without fear of significant piracy, as Rome had become the sole effective sea power in the Mediterranean with the conquest of Egypt and the near east.[41]

In ancient Greece Hermes was the god of trade[42][43] (commerce) and wei

An early form of trade, barter, saw the direct exchange of goods and services for other goods and services.[1][need quotation to verify] Barter involves trading things without the use of money.[1] When either bartering party started to involve precious metals, these gained symbolic as well as practical importance.[citation needed] Modern traders generally negotiate through a medium of exchange, such as money. As a result, buying can be separated from selling, or earning. The invention of money (and later of credit, paper money and non-physical money) greatly simplified and promoted trade. Trade between two traders is called bilateral trade, while trade involving more than two traders is called multilateral trade.

In one modern view, trade exists due to specialization and the division of labor, a predominant form of economic activity in which individuals and groups concentrate on a small aspect of production, but use their output in trades for other products and needs.[2] Trade exists between regions because different regions may have a comparative advantage (perceived or real) in the production of some trade-able commodity—including production of natural resources scarce or limited elsewhere. For example: different regions' sizes may encourage mass production. In such circumstances, trade at market prices between locations can benefit both locations.

Retail trade consists of the sale of goods or merchandise from a very fixed location[3] (such as a department store, boutique or kiosk), online or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption or use by the purchaser.[4] Wholesale trade is defined[by whom?] as traffic in goods that are sold as merchandise to retailers, or to industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users, or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services.

Historically, openness to free trade substantially increased in some areas from 1815 to the outbreak of World War I[citation needed] in 1914. Trade openness increased again during the 1920s, but collapsed (in particular in Europe and North America) during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Trade openness increased substantially again from the 1950s onwards (albeit with a slowdown during the oil crisis of the 1970s). Economists and economic historians[which?] contend that current levels of trade openness are the highest they have ever been.[5][6][7]

Trade is from Middle English trade ("path, course of conduct"), introduced into English by Hanseatic merchants, from Middle Low German trade ("track, course"), from Old Saxon trada ("spoor, track"), from Proto-Germanic *tradō ("track, way"), and cognate with Old English tredan ("to tread").

Commerce is derived from the Latin commercium, from cum "together" and merx, "merchandise."[8]

History

Prehistory

Trade originated with human communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people,[citation needed] who bartered goods and services from each other before the innovation of modern-day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.[9]

In the Mediterranean region, the earliest contact between cultures involved members of the species Homo sapiens, principally using the Danube river, at a time beginning 35,000–30,000 BP.[10][11][12][13][need quotation to verify]

Some[who?] trace the origins of commerce to the very start of transactions in prehistoric times. Apart from traditional self-sufficiency, trading became a principal facility of prehistoric people, who bartered what they had for goods and services from each other.

Latin commercium, from cum "together" and merx, "merchandise."[8]

Trade originated with human communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people,[citation needed] who bartered goods and services from each other before the innovation of modern-day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.[9]

In the Mediterranean region, the earliest contact between cultures involved members of the species Homo sapiens, principally using the Danube river, at a time beginning 35,000–30,000 BP.[10][11][12][13][need quotation to verify]In the Mediterranean region, the earliest contact between cultures involved members of the species Homo sapiens, principally using the Danube river, at a time beginning 35,000–30,000 BP.[10][11][12][13][need quotation to verify]

Some[who?] trace the origins of commerce to the very start of transactions in prehistoric times. Apart from traditional self-sufficiency, trading became a principal facility of prehistoric people, who bartered what they had for goods and services from each other.

Trade is believed[by whom?] to have taken place throughout much[quantify] of recorded human history. There is evidence of the exchange of obsidian and flint during the Stone Age. Trade in obsidian is believed[by whom?] to have taken place in New Guinea from 17,000 BCE.[15][16]

The earliest use of obsidian in the Near East dates to the Lower and Middle paleolithic.[17]

Robert Carr Bosanquet investigated trade in the Stone Age by excavations in 1901.[18][19] Trade is believed[by whom?] to have first begun in south west Asia.[20][21]

Archaeological evidence of obsidian use provides data on how this material was increasingly the preferred choice rather than chert from the late Mesolithic to Neolithic, requiring exchange as deposits of obsidian are rare in the Mediterranean region.[22][23][24]

Obsidian is thought[by whom?] to have provided the material to make cutting utensils or tools, although since other more easily obtainable materials were available, use was found[by whom?] exclusive to the higher status of the tribe using "the rich man's flint".[25] Interestingly, Obsidian has held its value relative to flint.

Early traders traded Obsidian at distances of 900 kilometres within the Mediterranean region.[26]

Trade in the Mediterranean during the Neolithic of Europe was greatest in this

The earliest use of obsidian in the Near East dates to the Lower and Middle paleolithic.[17]

Robert Carr Bosanquet investigate

Robert Carr Bosanquet investigated trade in the Stone Age by excavations in 1901.[18][19] Trade is believed[by whom?] to have first begun in south west Asia.[20][21]

Archaeological evidence of obsidian use provides data on how this material was increasingly the preferred choice rather than chert from the la

Archaeological evidence of obsidian use provides data on how this material was increasingly the preferred choice rather than chert from the late Mesolithic to Neolithic, requiring exchange as deposits of obsidian are rare in the Mediterranean region.[22][23][24]

Obsidian is thought[by whom?] to have provided the material to make cutting utensils or tools, although since other more easily obtainable materials were available, use was found[by whom?] exclusive to the higher status of the tribe using "the rich man's flint".[25] Interestingly, Obsidian has held its value relative to flint.

Early traders traded Obsidian at distances of 900 kilometres within the Mediterranean region.[26]

Trade in the Mediterranean during the Neolithic of Europe was greatest in this material.[22][27] Networks were in existence at around 12,000 BCE[28] Anatolia was the source primarily for trade with the Levant, Iran and Egypt according to Zarins study of 1990.[29][30][31] Melos and Lipari sources produced among the most widespread trading in the Mediterranean region as known to archaeology.[32]

The Sari-i-Sang mine in the mountains of Afghanistan was the largest source for trade of lapis lazuli.[33][34] The material was most largely traded during the Kassite period of Babylonia beginning 1595 BCE.[35][36]

Ebla was a prominent trading centre during the third millennia, with a network reaching into Anatolia and north Mesopotamia.[32][37][38][39]

Materials used for creating jewelry were traded with Egypt since 3000 BCE. Long-range trade routes first appeared in the 3rd millennium BCE, when Sumerians in Mesopotamia traded with the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley. The Phoenicians were noted sea traders, traveling across the Mediterranean Sea, and as far north as Britain for sources of tin to manufacture bronze. For this purpose they established trade colonies the Greeks called emporia.[40]

From the beginning of Greek civilization until the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, a financially lucrative trade brought valuable spice to Europe from the far east, including India and China. Roman commerce allowed its empire to flourish and endure. The latter Roman Republic and the Pax Romana of the Roman empire produced a stable and secure transportation network that enabled the shipment of trade goods without fear of significant piracy, as Rome had become the sole effe

From the beginning of Greek civilization until the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, a financially lucrative trade brought valuable spice to Europe from the far east, including India and China. Roman commerce allowed its empire to flourish and endure. The latter Roman Republic and the Pax Romana of the Roman empire produced a stable and secure transportation network that enabled the shipment of trade goods without fear of significant piracy, as Rome had become the sole effective sea power in the Mediterranean with the conquest of Egypt and the near east.[41]

In ancient Greece Hermes was the god of trade[42][43] (commerce) and weights and measures,[44] for Romans Mercurius also the god of merchants, whose festival was celebrated by traders on the 25th day of the fifth month.[45][46] The concept of free trade was an antithesis to the will and economic direction of the sovereigns of the ancient Greek states. Free trade between states was stifled by the need for strict internal controls (via taxation) to maintain security within the treasury of the sovereign, which nevertheless enabled the maintenance of a modicum of civility within the structures of functional community life.[47][48]

The fall of the Roman empire and the succeeding Dark Ages brought instability to Western Europe and a near-collapse of the trade network in the western world. Trade, however, continued to flourish among the kingdoms of Africa, the Middle East, India, China, and Southeast Asia. Some trade did occur in the west. For instance, Radhanites were a medieval guild or group (the precise meaning of the word is lost to history) of Jewish merchants who traded between the Christians in Europe and the Muslims of the Near East.[49]

The first true maritime trade network in the Indian Ocean was by the Austronesian peoples of Island Southeast Asia,[50] who built the first ocean-going ships.[51] They established trade routes with Southern India and Sri Lanka as early as 1500 BC, ushering an exchange of material culture (like catamarans, outrigger boats, sewn-plank boats, and paan) and cultigens (like coconuts, sandalwood, bananas, and sugarcane); as well as connecting the material cultures of India and China. Indonesians, in particular were trading in spices (mainly cinnamon and cassia) with East Africa using catamaran and outrigger boats and sailing with the help of the Westerlies in the Indian Ocean. This trade network expanded to reach as far as Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, resulting in the Austronesian colonization of Madagascar by the first half of the first millennium AD. It continued up to historic times, later becoming the Maritime Silk Road.[50][52][53][54][55]

Mesoamerica

Tajadero or axe money used as currency in Mesoamerica. It had a fixed worth of 8,000 cacao seeds, which were also used as currency.[56]

The emergence of exchange networks in the Pre-Columbian societies of and near to Mexico are known to have occurred within recent years before and after 1500 BCE.The emergence of exchange networks in the Pre-Columbian societies of and near to Mexico are known to have occurred within recent years before and after 1500 BCE.[57]

Trade networks reached north to Oasisamerica. There is evidence of established maritime trade with the cultures of northwestern South America and the Caribbean.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, commerce developed in Europe by trading luxury goods at trade fairs. Wealth became converted into movable wealth or capital. Banking systems developed where money on account was transferred across national boundaries. Hand to hand markets became a feature of town life, and were regulated by town authorities.

Western Europe established a complex and expansive trade network with cargo ships being the main workhorse for the movement of goods, Cogs and Hulks are two examples of such cargo ships.[58] Many ports would develop their own extensive trade networks. The English port city of Bristol traded with peoples from what is modern day Iceland, all along the western coast of France, and down to what is now Spain.[59]

Oasisamerica. There is evidence of established maritime trade with the cultures of northwestern South America and the Caribbean.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, commerce developed in Europe by trading luxury goods at trade fairs. Wealth became converted into movable wealth or capital. Banking systems developed where money on account was transferred across national boundaries. Hand to hand markets became a feature of town life, and were regulated by town authorities.

Western Europe established a complex and expansive trade network with cargo ships being the main workhorse for the movement of goods, Cogs and Hulks are two examples of such cargo ships.[58] Many ports would develop their own extensive trade networks. The English port city of Bristol traded with peoples from what is modern day Iceland, all along the western coast of France, and down to what is now Spain.[59]

During the Middle Ages, Central Asia was the economic center of the world.[60] The Sogdians dominated the East-West trade route known as the Silk Road after the 4th century CE up to the 8th century CE, with Suyab and Talas ranking among their main centers in the north. They were the main caravan merchants of Central Asia.

From the 8th to the 11th century, the Vikings and Varangians traded as they sailed from and to Scandinavia. Vikings sailed to Western Europe, while Varangians to Russia. The Hanseatic League was an alliance of trading cities that maintained a trade monopoly over most of Northern Europe and the Baltic, between the 13th and 17th centuries.

The Age of Sail and the Industrial Revolution

Free tra

Free trade advanced further in the late 20th century and early 2000s:

  • 1992 European Union lifted barriers to internal trade in goods and labour.
  • January 1, 1994 the North Am

    Protectionism is the policy of restraining and discouraging trade between states and contrasts with the policy of free trade. This policy often takes the form of tariffs and restrictive quotas. Protectionist policies were particularly prevalent in the 1930s, between the Great Depression and the onset of World War II.

    Religion

    Islamic teachings encourage trading (and condemn usury or interest).[67][68]

    Judeao-Christian teachings prohibit fraud and dishonest measures, and historically also forbade the charging of interest on loans.[69][70]

    Development of money

    The first instances of money were objects with intrinsic value. This is called commodity money and includes any commonly available commodity that has intrinsic value; historical examples include pigs, rare seashells, whale's teeth, and (often) cattle. In medieval Iraq, bread was used as an early form of money. In Mexico under Montezuma, cocoa beans were money.[71]

    Currency was introduced as standardised money to facilitate a wider exchange of goods and services. This first stage of currency, where metals were used to represent stored value, and symbols to represent commodities, formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years.

    Numismatists have examples of coins from the earliest large-scale societies, although these were initially unmarked lumps of precious metal.[72]

    Trends

    Doha rounds

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