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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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Universal Building Blocks

Universal Building Blocks

(p.65) 3 Universal Building Blocks
Going the Distance

Ron Harris

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that a number of precursor institutions of the long-distance trade organization developed locally, independently, and endemically in many different places along the Eurasian landmass. It shows that there is often no direct and clear evidence for the endogenous origins of institutions. The chapter also discusses the endemic appearance of an institution that does not have a clear pattern of migration but, together with its relatively simple structure, supports the identification of an endogenous institution. Endogenous institutions are often organic, as is the case with the itinerant trader or the family, or simple institutions that address basic functions, such as the loan, agency, or ship. They are to be found throughout Eurasia, and there is no historical evidence of a single historical origin for any of them or of a clear route of their migration.

Keywords:   long-distance trade, Eurasia, migration, endogenous institutions, traders

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