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The Field and the ForgePopulation, Production, and Power in the Pre-industrial West$
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John Landers

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279579.001.0001

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The Means of Transport

The Means of Transport

Chapter:
(p.72) Chapter Four The Means of Transport
Source:
The Field and the Forge
Author(s):

John Landers (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279579.003.0004

Spatial integration was a prerequisite for both economic growth and political centralisation and its practicability depended on the state of transport and communications. Just as with production, transport and communications technology depended primarily on muscle power and wood, with the important addition of wind power to supplement or replace muscle when moving over water. The fundamental problem for transport technology was one of applying energy to overcome the effects of friction or gravity. Transport costs were made up of a number of elements on top of the basic freight charge per mile and were closely related to journey times because the longer this took, the more food was consumed and the greater the cost of carriage. Other economic and political factors made for substantial variation in the extent and effectiveness of transport and communication networks.

Keywords:   spatial integration, economic growth, political centralisation, transport, communications technology, energy, transport cost, journey time

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