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Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Dr. Strangegod

Comment 21 by KJinAsia

What kicked off the Italian Rennaissance and all that followed? The emergence of Venice as a great trading culture that was able to bypass the stranglehold on pan-regional trade by the Arab empires (plus other flashpoints of increased trade such as in Moorish southern Spain).

Exactly! My intended comment was simply going to be: "Venice, 1400."

I cannot make any judgments about Shermer's argument without having really gotten into it, and nor should anyone else. He may have a point, but I can't imagine that it really boils down to anything beyond the basic fact that when engaging in trade among differing peoples/tribes, people tend to treat each other good to the degree that doing so increases their profit. But as Jerry and others pointed out, if they can profit from mistreating the other stranger folk, they'll certainly do that too. So free trade, or capitalism, does not guarantee moral behavior by a long shot, although in certain specific circumstances it can motivate cooperation between those who otherwise would not cooperate.

Updated: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 14:14:35 UTC | #508564