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Chapter Summary

This chapter turns our attention from the forces of decline to the forces of growth, from the decreasing returns to the increasing returns. From the late Middle Ages, the expansion of maritime trade was one of the major originators of European economic dynamism. During the millennium preceding the Industrial Revolution trade developed alongside other forms of movement of goods, and restrictions of every sort. Communication between seas, plains and cities and relations among different internal areas were possible through the network of European rivers. In all of the economies in which trade is an exception rather than a general practice, the fair held an important position. The question whether from the late Middle Ages until 1800 market integration progressed in Europe or not is difficult to answer. Less evident than the innovations in transport, but no less important for productivity in the commercial sector, was the development in business techniques.

Keywords: European economic dynamism; Industrial Revolution; late Middle Ages; trade; transport



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