Michel Chevalier had a dream about the future of Europe: railroads, steam shipping lines and other infrastructure, in combination with the abolition of tariffs, would give rise to a “circulation society,” in which Europeans cooperated closely and enjoyed huge economic benefits. Poverty would vanish and natural obstacles would cease to hinder trade and other activities. Moreover, war would become almost impossible among peoples and countries closely cooperating in all spheres of life. When Chevalier died in 1879, he had seen much of his dream come true: railroads crisscrossed the European continent, steam ships provided fast and regular transport across the oceans, and telegraph cables connected cities around the globe, enabling almost instant communications. Large volumes of goods were indeed traded across borders and over long distances, thanks to new infrastructure and free trade agreements.
KeywordsFree Trade Agreement Ecological Network Iron Curtain Interwar Period Infrastructure Building
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