By Fernand Braudel
The concluding quantity of the trilogy charts the expansion of the area economic climate from the 15th to the eighteenth century targeting the human task that underlies the company of existence - the bustle of the industry, the nice manipulators of capital, the labour of the slave, the peasant and manufacturing facility staff, the models of the wealthy and the increase of the good monetary centres of Genoa, Venice, Amsterdam and London.
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Additional resources for Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century, Volume III: The Perspective of the World
When Amsterdam replaced Antwerp, when London took over from Amsterdam, or when in about 1929, New York overtook London, it always meant a massive historical shift of forces , revealing the precariousness of the previous equilibrium and the strengths of the one which was replacing it. The whole circle of the world-economy was affected by such changes and the repercussions were never exclusively economic, as the reader will probably already suspect. When in 142 1 the Ming rulers of China changed their capital city leaving Nanking, and moving to Peking, in order to face the dangers of the Manchu and Mongol frontier - the massive world-economy of China swung round for good, turning its back on a form of economic activity based on ease of access to sea borne trade.
The central zone holds no mysteries : when Amsterdam was the 'warehouse of the world' , the United Provinces (or at any rate the most active among them) formed the central zone; when London imposed its supremacy, England (if not the whole of the British Isles) formed the surrounding area. When Antwerp found itself in the sixteenth century the centre of European trade, the Nether lands, as Henri Pirenne said, became 'the suburb of Antwerp'44 and the rest of the world its periphery. The 'suction and force of attraction of these poles of growth'45 were clear to see.
There was of course the rising 'bourgeoisie' whose advance was fostered, but only prudently, by' the state; and such processes in any case took time. At the same time, these states had before their eyes the successes of the merchant states better placed than they at the crossroads of trade; they were aware of what amounted to their inferior position, so that their chief preoccupation was to join the superior category at all costs, to move into the centre. One method was to copy the model and to appropriate the recipe for success England's idee fixe in her competition with Holland .