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The Impact Of Improving Communications On Commercial Transactions: Nineteenth-Century Case Studies From British West Africa And Japan

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Chapter Summary

The role of technology in accelerating the movement of goods and passengers in the nineteenth century has been documented extensively. Advances in the transfer of commercial intelligence and news were just as important, as can be seen from the recent expansion of information technology. This chapter demonstrates the impact of the arrival of the cable network on two different regions: British West Africa and Japan. The new arrangements ensured that merchants based in Europe were able to keep much closer control over their branches on the coast. They also permitted them to change their buying and selling policies in line with actual conditions much more rapidly than when they were dependent upon letters carried by vessels. The Japanese case, which was examined using the correspondence of Frederick Cornes and Company, shows the critical value of being aware quickly of changes in market conditions in a highly competitive environment.

Keywords: British West Africa; commercial intelligence; Europe; Frederick Cornes and Company; Japan

10.1163/ej.9781905246885.i-194.59
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9781905246885.i-194.59
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