Thursday, September 17, 2009

Genoa and Venice

Trade during the 13th century was there to create a “world system” and for this reading Genoa and Venice were the power house of trade. Genoa and Venice both wanted to monopolize the trade, but in the end Venice ended up having the upper hand. This trade was maritime trade with the Middle East which was eventually broken down during the Crusades. The Middle East saw the European Crusades as barbaric and opposite of the culture they wanted for themselves. Because of the Crusaders the Muslims thought they were superior to the westerners as they battled for monopoly in the “world trade system.”

I find it interesting that human behavior has not changed drastically and also that the Muslim’s still feel they live the best, superior, life. The human behavior that happened during the Crusade was a normal human reaction to hunger. If you are hungry enough you will eat anything to substance life, fight or flight. The Muslim’s saw the western behavior as crazy but they did what they thought was the best way to continue to live. Someone in class said that every country sees itself as superior, which I completely agree with. The Westerners probably saw themselves as superior to the Muslim’s, and many countries today see themselves superior if not in one aspect or many. The Muslim’s also are and were very ingrained into their religion that any other culture or religion was wrong.

Another question that was briefly discussed in class was the better strategy, trade center, industrial center, or transport magnate. I feel to have a successful economic strategy that a country must possess all three if not more aspects of trade. To have good trade you must have goods another country wants; therefore industry is important to produce goods to sell. In order to have successful trade and industry the transport magnate is there to correlate so that everything runs smoothly.


  1. I think it's a natural reaction to think your society is superior. Unless you were raised in a society that is in the throws of a rebellion or torn apart. We are constantly reinforced by the normal in our society. It is normal to drive a car or only have one wife. I know two totally random examples. But in a society that is constantly dealing with flooding or that is over populated driving a car might be viewed as negative for the environment and a disservice to the public good. Or in our society we believe in monogamy. The idea of a man with three wives seems absurd or indulgent. But in a society were women out number men eight to one and survival is based on your position as a wife, is it wrong?

  2. Just to build on your statements concerning the economic strategies, I agree that it is best for a country to utilize all three if possible. Diversification minimizes risk. For example, if a country lost trade privileges, it would not be devastated because it could enhance its industrial sector or become more involved in transportation until it found other trade outlets.

    Unfortunately, I don't know if the cities of that time period had the resources (raw materials, man power, etc.) to perform all three. Thus, there economies were reliant on other economies. Industrial nations had to rely on trade to bring them raw materials while trading nations relied on industry to provide them with goods for trade. All of this was reliant on transportation to complete the system. So, the focus was on being best at one specific economy, creating the highest demand for the given service. This, in my opinion, was the reason why the competition between Genoa and Venice was so intense. They each relied on other economies and competed over control of those economies and additional trade outlets. Had the trading posts like Venice and Genoa and Italy been able to diversify, it is possible they would not have met such a severe decline.

    Today, though, to your point, I agree that it is best to have all three economies.