Creating Global Capitalism: Commodity Traders and the First Global Economy

Espen Storli (Editor), Marten Boon (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademic


This book provides a unique insight into the world of commodity trading companies, often depicted as the hidden companies of the global economy and showcases how they were instrumental in bringing about the economic integration of new commodities and far-flung regions into the first global economy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The late nineteenth century witnessed an unprecedented phase of global economic integration. As organisers of global trade, trading companies specialising in commodities were instrumental in creating this first global economy. From soybeans to cultural artefacts, from seal hides to rubber, trading companies connected far-flung regions at or beyond the frontier of empires to a growing global market for these commodities. Satisfying the unsatiable appetite for commodities of industrializing economies in North America, Europe and East Asia, their nimble organisations and specialised trading skills allowed trading companies to harness imperial geopolitics, latch onto local networks and move across borders. This book brings together a collection of case studies of commodity trading companies across a range of commodities and regions between the 1870s and the 1930s. Through the lens of global value chains, the contributions showcase how these companies continuously adapted their businesses to a world that was at once economically more integrated but politically increasingly competitive in this age of high imperialism and national competition.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages162
ISBN (Print)9781032851334
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Creating Global Capitalism: Commodity Traders and the First Global Economy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this