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Some features of the modern economy, including globalisation and financial crises, have existed for thousands of years. And debates about the best way to handle certain issues have been around for centuries. The same is true for international trade, and many of the analyses and concepts developed in the 18th and 19th centuries still form the basis for the work of today’s trade economists and policy makers. Knowledge of the basic history and ideas that shaped international trade and its study is an asset in any discussion about international economic relations.
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Chapter 2 looks at the history of world trade. We don’t know exactly when it started, but archaeologists believe that networks of people were exchanging goods in Europe 10 000 years ago and the same was probably true elsewhere. History also shows that many of the questions we’re debating today have been around for a long time.
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