[CATEGORIES: Literature, Lapham’s Quarterly, Reading, Book Review]
[Click HERE to see my previous posts referencing Lapham’s Quarterly.]
[Some of LQ’s contents are available free.]
[L.Q. cover, quotes, and images from Lapham’s Quarterly Spring 2019: Trade, except where noted otherwise.]
[New to Lapham’s Quarterly? See the standard notes at the end of this review. After 10 years of LQ commentaries, I jump right in.]
This is a READING section, for those who may stumble in browsing recent photography. Perhaps even a Long Read, if Pt. 2 was any indication. Venture further if you like. This is a continuation of Lapham’s Quarterly Spring 2019: Trade, Pt. 1 and Lapham’s Quarterly Spring 2019: Trade, Pt. 2 [TARIFFS!!]
L.Q. is always a smorgasbord of mental prodding. Hodgepodge, gallimaufry, melange, and miscellanea are equally synonymic. A cohesive, unified, whole? I’m not always sure, but it’s a good thing that it makes one want to inquire further.
There is a lot of insightful reading here. And as always, a lot of it is free, online.
The Table of Contents of L.Q. Trade, with some access links, can be found online via https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/opening-trade. It is also reproduced herein at the very end. Head straight for the full essays at the end for complete, but short, works, such as:
Timeless Life in the Grand Bazaar: The rise and fall of Turkey’s grand marketplace, by Suzy Hansen, tells us: “The beautiful economy of the Grand Bazaar, which had disavowed rank competition and believed in the importance of the collective, was finally being destroyed.”
“The story of the Grand Bazaar was not that the tourists stopped coming; it was rather that Turkey was losing one of its greatest organic and historic inventions: the spirit of the guild system, the protection of the worker and the artist. “The whole city is being eaten up by tourism development and is turned into a lifeless place with no culture of its own. Little by little, it becomes like Las Vegas,” the historian Uğur Tanyeli told the Guardian. “What people will be able to see is not Istanbul but an illusion of Istanbul. It is now possible to visit Istanbul without ever having seen it.”” (L.Q. p. 196) Viva Las Vegas.
Per Encyclopedia Farlex: “‘The Grand Bazaar (Turkish: Kapalıçarşı,meaning ‘Covered Market’; also Büyük Çarşı, meaning ‘Grand Market’) in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops  which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. In 2014, it was listed No.1 among world’s most-visited tourist attractions with 91,250,000 annual visitors. The Grand Bazar at Istanbul is often regarded as one of the first shopping malls of the world.”
I’m surprised there is not at least a facsimile at Disney World or Epcot Center. It would save going to Turkey. I’ve loved a lifetime of travel and seeing the similarities and differences of my fellow man, and woman. It seems tourism is becoming a frenetic stampede. Be careful out there.
I love the title of the second full essay:
Maken Engelond Gret Ayeyn: How the contest between free trade and protectionism sparked fervor and unrest in medieval England, By Paul Strohm. In this era/error of MAGA, Make America Great Again, who cannot risk a wry smirk at the ‘playe o’er wordes’ and hope the thought police aren’t monitoring.
This one is about protectionism, or its attempt, of the English wool trade in 14th century London. To say that it was bloody difficult for Lombards, Flemings, and I-talians living there is an understated double entendre. Murder most foul.
“Participants in the discussion included Geoffrey Chaucer (who spent fourteen years as controller of the wool custom in the Port of London and whose father was a successful international wine trader) and the gentleman lawyer John Gower, his friend and poetic rival. Joining them were other canny observers of this emergent scene: city chroniclers, geographers, even a budding political economist who composed one of the earliest tracts written in English on the subject of commerce, essentially an “England First” manifesto in Chaucerian verse.” (p. 199)
History, we are doomed to repeat it.
Speaking of tariffs, as we were, in an extract cleverly subtitled by L.Q. as ‘Art of the New Deal‘, FDR states in 1934:
“Equally clear is the fact that a full and permanent domestic recovery depends in part upon a revived and strengthened international trade and that American exports cannot be permanently increased without a corresponding increase in imports.” (p. 38) Hmm.
Adam Smith, on mutual benefit and the division of labor:
“In almost every other race of animals, each individual, when it is grown up to maturity, is entirely independent and in its natural state has occasion for the assistance of no other living creature. But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favor and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind proposes to do this: give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of.”
What are some of my favorite extracts in Voices In Time, perhaps also available free?
“My heart throbbed with grief and terror so violently that I pressed my hands quite tightly across my breast, but I could not keep it still, and it continued to leap as though it would burst out of my body. But who cared for that? Did one of the many bystanders, who were looking at us so carelessly, think of the pain that wrung the hearts of the Negro woman and her young ones? No, no! They were not all bad, I daresay, but slavery hardens white people’s hearts toward the blacks; and many of them were not slow to make their remarks upon us aloud, without regard to our grief—though their light words fell like cayenne on the fresh wounds of our hearts. Oh, those white people have small hearts who can only feel for themselves.” (p. 167)
“If we regard the first stage of it on the continent of Africa, we find that a hundred thousand slaves are annually produced there for exportation, the greatest part of whom consist of innocent persons, torn from their dearest friends and connections, sometimes by force and sometimes by treachery. Of these, experience has shown that five and forty thousand perish, either in the dreadful mode of conveyance before described or within two years after their arrival at the plantations, before they are seasoned to the climate. Those who unhappily survive these hardships are destined, like their beasts of burden, to exhaust their lives in the unremitting labors of a slavery without recompense and without hope.” (p. 109)
You women, and there are more than a few of you blogging out there, (and why not you men?) might find thoughtful 1898: Boston | Charlotte Perkins Gilman, from her Women and Economics. “Although not producers of wealth, women serve in the final process of preparation and distribution. Their labor in the household has a genuine economic value.” (p. 51)
“It is well known that certain nations grant bounties on the exportation of particular commodities, to enable their own workmen to undersell and supplant all competitors in the countries to which those commodities are sent. Hence the undertakers of a new manufacture have to contend not only with the natural disadvantages of a new undertaking but with the gratuities and remunerations which other governments bestow. To be enabled to contend with success, it is evident that the interference and aid of their own government are indispensible.” (p. 59-60) Et tu, Alex.
Second only to Shakespeare in oft’ quoted, I sometimes think, is Mark Twain. His side-quote this issue: “Beautiful credit! The foundations of modern society.” –Mark Twain, 1873 (p. 62)
Many fine extracts remain, from authors familiar and not. Economist David Ricardo is here: 1817: Gloucestershire | David Ricardo. He is briefly, well-summarized here: https://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Ricardo.html. This link includes a concise, laymen’s explanation of comparative advantage, what I would call ‘why we trade’.
Pliny the Elder, Nikolai Gogol, Robert F. Kennedy, and Aristotle have free online extracts. See these and many others via the reproduced Table of Contents below.
A brief service announcement here. This is not spam. If there are any zillionaires out there that can spare a few dollars (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, this means you), my brother is seriously ill with rare neurological diseases, and seriously broke. Go here for further info.
The standard notes:
1. Since L.Q.’s inception with the Winter 2008 issue its size is always 7″ x 10″ x 1/2-17/32″. It is white-covered, printed on high quality paper throughout, with richly printed reproductions of fine art from time immemorial, and 221 pages up to a page or two of addenda at the back.
2. Each issue contains extracts about the title topic from great authors and thinkers spanning all recorded history. It begins with an eloquent, to a fault, preamble/introduction by editor Lewis Lapham. The main body is called Voices In Time and contains 3 or 4 subcategories of the topic with about 25 extracts per section. Noteworthy sidebars, side quotes, and depictions of appropriate art from the ages are liberally distributed throughout. Several extended contemporary essays bring up the rear. There are several other small sections every issue (Among the Contributors, Conversations, Miscellany, ‘The Graphic’).
3. Per the L.Q. website:
“Lapham’s Quarterly embodies the belief that history is the root of all education, scientific and literary as well as political and economic. Each issue addresses a topic of current interest and concern—war, religion, money, medicine, nature, crime—by bringing up to the microphone of the present the advice and counsel of the past.”
4. I encourage all to subscribe to this fine publication. It is a rich supplement to anyone’s reading.
TRADE Table Of Contents:
VOICES IN TIME
Negotiations & Deals
2018: Washington, DC | Hearings on Section 301 Tariffs
c. 1520: Vijayanagar | Krishnadevaraya
c. 1100: Damascus | Abu al-Fadl Jafar ibn Ali al-Dimashqi
1527: London | Hilary Mantel
1970: Montevideo | Eduardo Galeano
1776: Kirkcaldy | Adam Smith
1957: New York City | Ayn Rand
1636: Quebec | Paul le Jeune
1934: Washington, DC | Franklin Delano Roosevelt
1552: Atlantic Ocean | François Rabelais
1892: Brusa | Gertrude Bell
2008: Azeroth | Scott Rettberg
1799: Dejima | David Mitchell
1898: Boston | Charlotte Perkins Gilman
c. 1190 bc: Troy | William Shakespeare
1904: Sulaco | Joseph Conrad
1791: Philadelphia | Alexander Hamilton
c. 1806: Bratslav | Nachman of Bratslav
1455: Lisbon | Antoniotto Usodimare
c. 1940: Bombay | Salman Rushdie
1904: Heidelberg | Max Weber
1688: Amsterdam | Joseph Penso de la Vega
1804: Jamaica | Maria Edgeworth
1842: London | Anti-Corn Law League
c. 1900: Tanganyika | Abdulrazak Gurnah
1919: Boston | Major League Baseball
Routes & Outposts
2011: Baltimore | Joshuah Bearman
1902: London | John Masefield
c. 150: China | Ma Duanlin
c. 1504: Atlas Mountains | Amin Maalouf
c. 1573: Augsburg | Fugger Newsletters
1838: Hugli River | Amitav Ghosh
1635: Edo | Sakoku Edict
1969: Toronto | Jane Jacobs
1949: Paris | Fernand Braudel
1854: Marea | Ferdinand de Lesseps
c. 300: Niya | Shanshan Tablet
1793: Beijing | Qianlong
1846: Fort Laramie | Francis Parkman
c. 1849: Platte River | Curly Chief
c. 50: Red Sea | Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
1788: Plymouth | William Elford
c. 1915: Trobriand Islands | Marcel Mauss
c. 1690: London | Dudley North
c. 1728: England | Voltaire
1937: Dalmatia | Rebecca West
66 bc: Rome | Cicero
1544: Junquinilau | Fernão Mendes Pinto
1382: Florence | Iris Origo
1979: New York City | June Nash
c. 120: Rome | Juvenal
Markets & Rackets
c. 2006: Hong Kong | Ling Ma
1711: London | Joseph Addison
1903: Chicago | Frank Norris
1817: Gloucestershire | David Ricardo
c. 1670: Hamburg | Glückel of Hameln
2009: London | David Graeber
c. 1940: Paris | Walter Benjamin
1494: Florence | Luca Pacioli
c. 1915: Bahia | Jorge Amado
c. 77: Misenum | Pliny the Elder
1842: Russia | Nikolai Gogol
1968: Lawrence, KS | Robert F. Kennedy
1405: France | Christine de Pisan
1914: Nigeria | Northcote W. Thomas
c. 330 bc: Athens | Aristotle
c. 1800: New York City | Luc Sante
c. 1800: Bermuda | Mary Prince
c. 1870: San Francisco | Herbert Asbury
1859: Edo | Fukuzawa Yukichi
1945: Germany | Richard A. Radford
47: Tebtunis | Association of Salt Merchants
1873: Paris | Émile Zola
1519: Tenochtitlán | Bernal Díaz del Castillo
1888: London | Friedrich Engels
c. 330 bc: Teng | Mencius