This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. It presents three examples that reveal the common thread of demand-creation which binds together the chapters in this volume. These examples show, for instance, how demand can only be made effective through the decisions of individuals, whether of the real single person who commissioned a mosaic, of a town as the corporate individual which planned and let a building contract, or of the ruler the survival of whose regime required the satisfaction of fiscal demands. They also reflect short- and long-distance flows of capital and materials, the gradual spread of an improving technology, and the ability of one institution to adopt another institution and to adapt it for the purposes of constructive investment.
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