Thursday, September 17, 2009

Venica and Genoa

In our discussion in class we were asked if the Muslims found themselves more superior to that of the Westerners. How Abu-Lughod described the accounts of the Crusaders' hostile take overs would suggest that, yes the Muslims did see themselves as superior and had much of a right too. The Muslims had the luxuries to trade with the Westerners, but the Westerners did not have anything that the Muslims wanted in return. Not only would the Muslims see themselves as a more important area for the activity of trade, but the hostile take overs would suggest that the Westerners were only outlandish, brutes that were uncooth compared to the Muslim society; the cannibalistic qualities portrayed by the Crusaders did not help their machoism tendencies. We see this type of behavior in our society today- while there are those people who may be strong and demoralizing, it is the citizens of the population who are contributing to the globalization of society that will succedd, in return have a reason to look down upon those Crusaders. However, the take of the cities did in fact lead the trading of Europe in an onward direction.

Another question that was discussed is that of the papal injunction against trade with the "infidels" (Muslims). By placing a prohibition on certain items, it makes them seem more desirable to those who have lived years before with these "necessities." While, the idea of prohibition against the Muslims' trade was understandable at the time, it was already uncertain to work due to the luxuries the Westerners had already been enjoying prior to the injunction. I suppose the prohibitioners of the 1920s did not do their research and learn from the history that was set before them.

Another theme that I would like to touch upon would be the question of what a better strategy- to be the trade center or the industrial center; it depends on how you interpret the situation that you will come about with an answer. Being the trade center allows for more interaction with the countries around you, therefore culturally diversifing yourself with those who have come to trade. Being the industrial center, you already have the means of trade therefore am not obligated to running out of those means or lacking the ability to produce more. I think each center has its own attribute to the whole trade process and are both equally important. Most coincidentally, I have been reading Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, and have come across a very interesting fact of trade that Smith had published: Why both the trade center and the industrial center are both important is because both benefit each other. The example that Smith uses is that suppose an expert bow maker (remember the time this was written) makes his bows and exchanges (or trades) his creations for venice or cattle. He then realizes that it is easier for him to create a good that he knows he can produce well in exchange for something he needs (cattle) instead of making that need himself (i.e. hunting venice and cattle on his own). This concept goes vice versa with the cattle herders who raise cattle and the hunters who shoot deer, they need means of weapons, but can not produce the means themselves.


  1. You are suggesting that European's lack of luxury items make them less civilized, but IKEA supplies most of our furniture. Just a note. We regard Americans as civilized, and yet have we done to the Middle East the past eight years? Raped, killed and pillaged our way across the gulf. Does that mean that Abu-Lughod was wrong about theose whites, or does that mean we're now wrong about ourselves? Something to think about.

  2. I don't think you can categorize the actions administered in the Middle East as America being uncivilized, just as I'm not fully placing responsibility of the Crusaders on all of the West. Every society has their own destructive individuals- it's inevitable, but doesn't mean I condone it.

    P.s. European's lack of luxury didn't make them less civilized it did however make the Muslims look down upon them in a way.