Markets & Economy

A brief history of globalization: Just 10,000 years old

Trade isn't new, but the things we trade and how they travel have changed

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Today we suffer from many misidentifications of economic events. Not so much “fake news” as twisting ordinary meaning into propaganda. "Globalization" is one of these labels, with its codependent “globalism” -- as though trade between nations were a philosophy, and its adoption an optional public policy choice. When did 'globalization' start? The initial use of “globalization” in 1983 was an offhand description of the increased interaction among economies since WWII (1945, for the kids). However, throughout human history, logistics has governed the pace and extent of trade, not “public policy.” At every innovation in means, increased trade was -- and is -- inevitable. The instant we have figured a new way to move stuff to somewhere else, and their stuff to us, we have. The beginnings of global trade Ten thousand years ago is an arbitrary date, but it marks the final breakup of the last ice age, the refilling of oceans, modern coastlines and land and sea ro...