Foreign and Domestic Trade

Foreign and Domestic Trade

The story of the transition from the self-sufficient manor of the Middle Ages to the great systems of national economy of the modern world is largely the story of the rebirth and maturing of foreign and domestic trade. It is difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate cause and effect in historical sequences. Was it the Arab control of the Near East which caused the western voyages of Columbus? Was it Watt's application of steam to hand tools which set in motion the industrial revolution? One cannot give an unqualified answer to questions such as these. Evidence is ample, however, to show that behind the economic activity of the latter days of the Middle Ages and the centuries which followed lay the constantly expanding markets at home and abroad, spurring on the increasing productivity of farm and factory. Without a market for goods, few of the revolutionizing inventions of the past centuries would have become so well known or so widely accepted. So it is first of all to trade that we must turn if we are to understand the driving power and organizing genius which guides and motivates our economy.