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ChAPTER 15 -- Part 8: A New Civilization Emerges in
There were several forms of rising trade.
There were exchanges between western Europe and other parts of the world.
Some of the luxury goods and spices of Asia were enjoyed by wealthy Europeans.
The latter were used to preserve items such as meat.
Spice extracts had a lot of benefits.
The Crusades brought these things to the attention of the public.
European cloth and some other products were exchanged for the more polished goods of the East in the Mediterranean trade.
Grain and timber from the north were exchanged for cloth and metal in Italy and the Low Countries.
England developed some manufactured goods for exchange after exporting raw wool.
An organization was created.
Growing banking facilities made it possible to organize transactions throughout much of western Europe.
Many Jewish business people were involved in establishing a commercial alliance.
Western civilization is based on the economic system.
Hanseatic cities were capitalistic in their willingness to invest in trading ventures with the greater Italian and German bankers.
The Postclassical Period, 600-1450: New Faith and New Commerce was substantial, but profits of 100 percent or more were possible.
Groups of powerful merchants banded together to invest in international trade, each buying shares in the venture and making money or losses.
Individual merchants could lose a lot of money.
One of Europe's most extraordinary merchants, Jacques Coeur, demonstrated the opportunities and risks of new forms of trade.
He married the daughter of a royal official and served as a tax official until he was caught minting coins with less valuable metals.
He founded a company that competed with Italians and Spaniards in dealing with the Middle East.
He went to Damascus to buy spices and set up a trade in rugs, Chinese silk, and Indonesian spices.
He became a financial advisor and supplier to the French king.
With the largest fleet ever owned by a French subject, Coeur arranged with the pope for his son to become an archbishop.
He had enemies who were in debt to him, and they turned the king against him.
He admitted to supplying weapons to Muslims.
He died on a Greek island while serving in a papal fleet against the Turks.
This was not a completely new merchant spirit.
European traders were less wealthy than their Muslim counterparts.
Western society was not as tolerant of merchants as Muslim or Indian societies were.
Western commercial endeavors were growing.
Merchants had a freer hand because the Western governments were weak.
Commercial leagues ruled many of the growing cities.
In the later Middle Ages and beyond, traders and kings were allied, as Monarchs liked to encourage the cities as a counterbalance to the power of the landed aristocracy.
Merchants were taxed and used as sources of loans, but royal governments did not interfere with trading activities.
The codes of commercial law were developed by merchants.
The rising merchant class staked out an independent role in European society.
The 14th-century miniature shows views of a banking other than the moral qualms fostered by the Christian tradition.
People may keep money in banks, seek loans, or arrange transactions with merchants in distant centers of trade.
Group protection was emphasized by the economic ethic in the cities.
These organizations were new in western Europe and similar to guilds in Asia but with greater independence from the state.
They have mutual control, limited membership, and security.
The merchant guilds tried to give all of their members a regulated apprenticeship.
The guild of the city's clothiers insisted that all good work be done if a ship came in with wool.
People in the cities made cloth, bread, jewelry, and furniture for the guilds.
The guilds tried to limit their membership so that they could work.
They regulated apprenticeships to make sure that no member would use too many apprentices and gain too much wealth.
The capitalistic approach was discouraged because security and a rough equality, not maximum individual profit, were the goals.
Consumers would not have to worry about shoddy quality on the part of some unscrupulous profit-seeker if guilds were to guarantee quality.
Guilds played an important role in the cities, giving their members status and giving them a voice in city government.
Their statutes were often supported by the royal government.
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