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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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Trade and Traffic

Trade and Traffic

Chapter:
(p.98) Chapter Five Trade and Traffic
Source:
The Field and the Forge
Author(s):

John Landers (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279579.003.0005

The growth of output and the formation of centralised political structures in organic economies both involved the coordination of activities across growing distances, or ‘spatial integration’. Economic growth did this by promoting trade and regional specialisation, while centralised power is exercised over geographical space. The development of spatial integration in organic economies was hindered by the endemic inadequacy of their transport infrastructure. Although the dominant sector of organic economies was agriculture and the majority of the population lived in the countryside, towns and cities nonetheless fulfilled essential integrating functions as economic and political structures became more complex and differentiated. Output growth and political centralisation in organic economies had important spatial implications. Both processes involved spatial integration on a regional or supra-regional scale and the emergence of towns and cities as integrating centres, and as such their development, was constrained by the economy’s underlying spatial structure.

Keywords:   political structures, organic economies, spatial integration, economic growth, trade, regional specialisation, transport infrastructure, agriculture

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