The Means of Trade
IT is clear that transport lay at the root of trading patterns in this period, and the contrasts exhibited by the livestock, the cereal and the mineral traffics, particularly before 1660, stemmed in part from their different degrees of dependence on land carriage. Transport facilities conditioned the market for all goods geographically, and even in 1776 Adam Smith was able to point to the most extensive markets as those served by water carriage. Around 1500, some commodities may have been limited in their markets by physical transport constraints, such as the inland glass industry, while most others faced price barriers to extensive sales. For all goods but those with negligible price elasticities of demand — at the beginning of the period probably only imported luxuries sold thus with ‘money no object’ — transport cost was a fundamental determinant of trade, and remained so to 1700. Transport services determined the extent of local monopoly, and the degree of perfection of the markets.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Transport Service Transport Facility Transport Industry
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