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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

The phrase "world-economy" serves to draw attention to the existence of integrated chains of production, rather than to the mere exchange of one good for another. The medieval trade was definitely a network, as pepper did, after all, reach Bruges. This was not a system, however, since the various areas involved did not directly interact with each other. Before the beginning of modern economic growth in the eighteenth century, transportation and transaction costs outweighed the benefits of global comparative cost-advantages. From the fifteenth up to the eighteenth century Islam had steadily been on the advance: in the Balkans, in Kazakhstan, in Sinkiang, in Southeast Asia, and on the Indian subcontinent. The intra-Asian trade of the VOC was conducted to defray the costs of its administrative, military, and naval infrastructure which in turn was to collect commodities for the Netherlands.

Keywords: military fiscalism; modern economic growth

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