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Economic History Essay

498 words - 2 pages

The main epochal innovation of the early modern period that marked the nineteenth century, was the development of navigational related techniques that allowed for the discovery of America and of an all-water route to the Orient (Cameron & Neal, 2003). These feats were considered some of the greatest events ever recorded and played a large part in economic history.
One of the first fundamental innovations was the significant developments in steam engine technology, which allowed for many different contributions. This included lighter, stronger metals, more precise tools, and a better sense of scientific knowledge, including mechanics, calorimetry, metallography, the theory of gases and also the embryonic science of thermodynamics. It also led to the use of steam engines to propel steamboats and locomotives, and thereby, ...view middle of the document...

In terms of transportation, railways offered a cheap and fast way to transfer goods and people, and steamships also played a major role in integrating the world economy in the nineteenth century. The implementation of electric telegraphs, telephones, radios, and typewriters also facilitated business and personal communication.
Some of the major elements of the legal and social environments conducive to economic development during that period included legal foundations, economic thought and policy, and education and literacy. With legal foundations, came Britian's Common Law and France's Code Civille and Code de Commerce. Britian's Common Law provided protection of private property, and incorporated various customs of merchants which was built upon principles developed in commercial courts. France's Code Civille, gave absolute and divine respect of private property. It also gave contracts the force of law and allowed for the authorization of loans at interest, which helped make business transactions more efficient and also helped business and industrial development in the Roman Catholic nations in Europe.
The Code de Commerce was of great economic significance and was the first comprehensive legal framework that governed the various forms of business enterprises.
Economic thought and policy was also significant because it called for the removal of "unreasonable" restrictions on individual enterprise, thereby, promoting competition.
Another important feature for economic development in the nineteenth century was the growth of education and literacy. It greatly contributed to human capital and promoted highly innovated educational systems. The French began to start specialized schools of business and engineering, while the Germans adopted an improved system that was made available to a wider variety of students.

Cameron, R., & Neal, L. (2003). A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Time to the Present (4th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford.

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