Janet L. Abu-Lugbod, the author of Before European Hegemony, discusses the ways of three major areas: Europe, the Middle East, and the Orient. She really focuses mostly on Europe, and how it evolved into a strong hegemony from the 13th to the 16th century. However, I found the trading and marketing (in the second half of the reading) to be particularly interesting.
A market in early Northern Africa, firstly, was very different because their markets originated on a need basis; this form of market occurred in very poor places, where trade and transportation were not very good. The traders would settle in one location and sell for an entire day, but at night they would pack up their goods and move on to the next location. In other places, there would be farmers markets targeting the farmers to buy good and technology that could be used for the farm. The credit process began here. Either, a farmer could give credit, by paying in advance, or the farmer could get credit by promising to pay eventually; but, if the farmer does not have the full amount, he could give a down payment and either borrow money, and then pay it back, or he could borrow against his mortgage by giving up part of his harvest in return for the product.
The origins of trade and payment plans happened in the three major world areas. The way that the marketers and traders worked back that really amazed me in the way that they were able to successfully trade, for a very long time. It began as a simple way to make money for the travelers of the Middle East, but it evolved into a business, that many people major in colleges today about. It truly amazes me how something that started in the early 13th century, could become a major part of our world today. What would the United States do if we could not trade with China? The world is full of trade and markets and to think that it started back by pitching a tent and selling to people as they traveled across a land is truly astonishing.
For the rest of the required reading, to be honest, I did not really understand much. She went too into detail about small, specific countries it was difficult for me to follow. Perhaps I will re-visit the earlier pages of the book and try to comprehend what she has written. Either way, I fully understood the trading section.