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A STUDY OF CERTAIN CONTROLLING
CONDITIONS OF COMMERCE
HERBERT ERNEST GREGORY
PROFESSOR OF GEOLOGY IN YALE UNIVERSITY
ALBERT GALLOWAY KELLER
PROFESSOR OF THE SCIENCE OF SOCIETY IN YALE UNIVERSITY
AVARD LONGLEY BISHOP
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF THE SCIENCE OF SOCIETY IN YALE UNIVERSITY
GINN AND COMPANY
ALBERT GALLOWAY KELLER, AND AVARD LONGLEY BISHOP
ENTERED AT STATIONERS' HALL
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The Athenæum Press
From the time when they are first offered to the child for study, the facts of production and trade have been listed rather than interpreted. The books which have dealt with these matters have been prevailingly of a statistical nature, and the study of what they have had to give has too often reduced itself to a mere mnemonic exercise. And yet there are behind the facts of trade, as behind all facts, certain principles about which they can be grouped, and which serve to lend them life and meaning; and it is interpretation rather than arbitrary memorizing which is of educational importance. It is the reference to principles which tends to fix knowledge in the mind in a vital way; the principles form the nucleus about which a command of data can be extended.
The interpretation of the facts of trade calls for the inclusion of principles of many kinds. The popular persuasion that trade is a thing to be manipulated through laws, regulations, and the like has in it undoubtedly a considerable show of truth ; but it is certainly the most superficial and least scientific view of the matter. Again, it is true enough that other social factors, in addition to the political, have entered largely into the controlling of trade, and so must not be neglected in the interpretation of its data. But the complexity of these social influences is so great that it is difficult to make an educational beginning with them. Nor are they the only factors that exercise a determinative influence upon exchange; there are controls in physical nature that are more concrete and simple of apprehension, and which have been, and still are, of great ultimate importance in the molding of trade, and, indeed, of human affairs in general. These, for want of a better and comprehensive term, might be called the environmental (or geographical) factors; they cover man's and society's relations with the whole natural environment.
In writing the present book the authors have been actuated by the desire to cover this series of relations a series which, we are convinced, has received too little of systematic attention. Many books dealing historically or scientifically with man and human society seem to us to have taken a partial, though perfectly natural, view of their subject when they have emphasized what the political or industrial organization has done for man, to the virtual exclusion of the influences of natural environment. That such a point of view was inevitable lies in the tendency of man to keep his eye fixed upon his own prowess and achievements rather than upon the limitations within which he must live and move all his days. It is not so much that the influences of natural environment are denied, as that they are ignored, or referred, at least, to the crude and distant past. Most intelligent persons would doubtless grant at once the great majority of the contentions which we shall set forth. Hence it is the trend of the chapters which are to follow, the collocation of many things accepted and some not so familiar, the attempt in our chosen way to infuse orderliness and sequence into the chaotic data and statistics of trade, which constitute the new departure in our treatment. We are not aware, at least, of any treatise in the English language which seeks systematically to bring together for the student the natural environment, the man, and the man's works.
Among the works of man we virtually confine ourselves to exchange, and to such extensions into the general field of societal life as are called for in the development of that topic. Strictly speaking, we present a medley of facts and conclusions which belong in part to physical geography, in part to anthropology, and in part to industrial history. We have fixed our attention upon trade rather than upon the societal organization as a whole, both because the interpretation of commercial data was that with which we started, and because we believe that in the content and streams of trade there appears, as it were, a sort of epitome of human doings in the struggle for existence — what men produce and what they want, in this place and in that. The simplest and primary organization in this struggle for existence is that of industry, involving the exchange of the products of industry; and we do not wish to go systematically beyond that in the present instance. Having in view, then, the influence of physical environment upon the most fundamental and material of human activities, we think that the study of the currents of exchange, involving, as that must, the consideration of the prime economic functions of production, consumption, and distribution, sets us in the midst of the issues upon which we hope to throw light.
For these reasons we have called this book "Physical and Commercial Geography.” If there were some word meaning "science of environment," it might well have appeared on the title-page; but we have retained the better-known terms largely because of the very fact that they are more familiar, thinking it more profitable to try to introduce a more scientific character into what already exists than to seek the academic isolation of a new and unfamiliar term. Especially is the term "commercial geography” somewhat altered in our usage : it is widened to include something more than description; and it may seem to be narrowed in that no attempt has been made to secure an encyclopedic array of commercial data. We have consistently treated of types, and have renounced detail where multiplication of instances threatened perspective. For instance, in Part III, while retaining the old division by countries, we do not attempt to assemble exhaustive lists of the products of each country; under the basic political division — the only one yet practicable -- our treatment is topical, a short monograph upon each preëminent article of commerce occurring under the general politico-geographical section which leads in the production or use of the article in question.
In the attempt systematically to correlate various phases of the natural and social sciences we can scarcely hope to have made more than a beginning. When more facts and relations shall have been collected by the natural scientists on the one side, and the social scientists on the other, it will be easier to construct a more consistent and orderly network of interrelationships. The chapters of this book will admit of much amplification in the class room before the contentions which we sustain, and their many corollaries, can be conceived in their full perspective. But we venture to believe that the instances needed to amplify (or to correct) our general contentions will meet the instructor, as they have met us in our years of teaching along the lines here laid down, at every turn.
When used as a college text, the course to which this book would correspond we conceive to be one linking together the natural and social sciences, and providing a fundamental set of ideas and principles touching human life-conditions that should be of use to one who might later pursue the study of the natural sciences, the social sciences, or history. For these same reasons we hope that what we have to present may prove to be of value to the general reader. As a text-book, however, besides adhering to arrangement and perspective