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Going the DistanceEurasian Trade and the Rise of the Business Corporation, 1400-1700$
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Ron Harris

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150772

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150772.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Going the Distance

Ron Harris

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses a wide set of research questions on the organization of trade as a whole and then zooms in on research questions that focus on the development of the joint-stock business corporation. It explains why the European business corporation wasn't mimicked by other Eurasian regions for another three hundred years and why institutions that had some corporate-like features did not further evolve to compete successfully with the corporate-based European mercantile enterprises. The chapter closely examines the role played by organizational forms in the transformation of Eurasian trade roughly between 1400 and 1700. It also compares the organizational forms that were used in four major regions: China, India, the Middle East, and Western Europe. All four regions were involved in the same kind of business activity, such as long-distance trade, within the greater Indian Ocean.

Keywords:   Eurasian trade, joint-stock business corporation, European business corporation, European mercantile enterprises, Indian Ocean

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