Friday, September 11, 2009

The "Miniscule" World System of Pax Mongolica

To extend the class discussion of the world system in its earliest state, the world system under which Pax Mongolica functioned was “miniscule” in comparison to today’s ‘s commerce, but the question that it might not matter at all is completely irreverent of all of the technological advancements made throughout history. Granted, the system is quite different, but for the pre-modern world, its complexity and inclusion of core, semi-periphery, and even periphery countries establishes its capitalistic tendencies and its basis for advancement into the modern world system.

Furthermore, the system under which the Pax Mongolica functioned was, in many ways, more intricate and sophisticated than the modern world system, if only because it functioned considerably well, given the giant geographical, linguistic, and cultural barriers. Today’s system hardly faces any of these barriers thanks to modern capabilities, and when it does, we have technological advancements that can override their influences. This system did not have a set currency exchange rate, either, making foreseeable transactions almost impossible. Yet, according to Abu-Lughod, “goods were transferred, prices set, exchange rates agreed upon, contacts entered into, credit – on funds or on goods located elsewhere – extended, partnerships formed, and obviously, records kept and agreements honored,” (8). If anything, this speaks to the integrity of the system that functioned centuries ago, across land and sea, without the technological advancements that we have today. In essence, these tradesmen were willing to uphold their goods and their word (which, in this case, was sometimes more valuable than their word, in cases of credit and partnerships) in order to keep this valuable cross-cultural tool in working order.

No comments:

Post a Comment