Proposal preview

The globalization of the waves: shipping and its role in promoting global markets for goods, services, capital, labor, and ideas, c. 1800—2000

In international seaborne transport, the factors of production are extremely mobile. Ships and seamen work all over the world, with limited links to the “home country”, so shipping was “the first globalized industry”. It is an activity that promotes globalization of other markets, by integrating geographically dispersed agents.
We analyze these dimensions – the globalized and the globalizing aspects of shipping – across time. Improvements in shipping facilitated the establishment and growth of the international economy. We analyze the pioneering role of shipping in establishing global markets – for goods, services, capital, labor, and ideas – and evaluate how globalization has affected seafaring cultures and communities.
The first session – Maritime transport: promoting global markets – deals with the global nature of shipping, and how it has been a harbinger and carrier of globalization.
The second session – Maritime labor: economic and cultural exchange – deals specifically with the market for seafarers, the first global labor market.

Organizer(s)

  • Stig Tenold Norwegian School of Economics stig.tenold@nhh.no Norway
  • Jari Ojala University of Jyväskylä jari.ojala@jyu.fi Finland
  • Pirita Frigren University of Jyväskylä pirita.frigren@jyu.fi Finland
  • Jelle van Lottum Huygens Institute for the history of the Netherlands jelle.van.lottum@huygens.knaw.nl The Netherlands

Session members

  • Sif Goodale, University of California, Irvine
  • Kristof Loockx, University of Antwerp
  • Kevin Tang, Oxford University
  • Yuan Yi, Columbia University
  • Daniel Castillo Hidalgo, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  • Shannon P Guillot-Wright, University of Texas
  • David Chilosi, University of Groningen
  • Giovanni Federico, University of Pisa
  • Giulio Mellinato, Universita Degli Studi di Milano Bicocca
  • Camilla Brautaset, University of Bergen

Discussant(s)

  • Jelle van Lottum Huygens Institute for the history of the Netherlands jelle.van.lottum@huygens.knaw.nl

Papers

Panel abstract

In international seaborne transport, the factors of production are extremely mobile. Ships and seamen work all over the world, with limited links to the “home country”, so shipping was "the first globalized industry". It is an activity that promotes globalization of other markets, by integrating geographically dispersed agents. We analyze these dimensions – the globalized and the globalizing aspects of shipping – across time. Improvements in shipping facilitated the establishment and growth of the international economy. We analyze the pioneering role of shipping in establishing global markets – for goods, services, capital, labor, and ideas – and evaluate globalization has affected seafaring cultures and communities. The first session – Maritime transport: promoting global markets – deals with the global nature of shipping, and how it has been a harbinger and carrier of globalization. The second session – Maritime labor: economic and cultural exchange – deals specifically with the market for seafarers,

1st half

The effects of market integration - trade and welfare during the first globalization, 1815-1913

David Chilosi, Giovanni Federico

We know a lot about the first globalization and something about its causes but very little about its effects. Most price convergence between Europe and suppliers of commodities in Asia and the US occurred before 1870, mainly as a consequence of liberal policies, rather than technology: the abolition of shipping monopolies and the repeal of duties greatly reduced transoceanic trade costs. In this paper we propose a method to measure the effects of price convergence on bilateral trade and welfare. The preliminary analysis finds that price convergence accounted for one fourth of the growth of trade and increased significantly welfare in both producing and especially consuming countries. We are now extending this analysis with a multi-markets partial equilibrium model, that takes into account also trade with the rest of the world.

We know a lot about the first globalization and something about its causes but very little about its effects. Most price convergence between Europe and suppliers of commodities in Asia and the US occurred before 1870, mainly as a consequence of liberal policies, rather than technology: the abolition of shipping monopolies and the repeal of duties greatly reduced transoceanic trade costs. In this paper we propose a method to measure the effects of price convergence on bilateral trade and welfare. The preliminary analysis finds that price convergence accounted for one fourth of the growth of trade and increased significantly welfare in both producing and especially consuming countries. We are now extending this analysis with a multi-markets partial equilibrium model, that takes into account also trade with the rest of the world.

Core and Periphery Trade and Integration through the Suez Canal - Comparative trade costs and trade flows through the Suez Canal by regional trade route, 1870 - 1914

Kevin Tang

This paper looks at the comparative trade costs of shipping through the Suez Canal according to different trade routes. Drawing from data on trade prices for a set of five commodities in 36 cities of the Middle East, and shipping routes through the Suez Canal, this paper finds that price convergence was lower within the Middle East than on longer distance routes between Europe and Asia. This was a result of higher trade costs through the Canal for routes within the Middle East compared to routes between Europe and Asia. Differences in trade costs were the result of lower trade flows, and differences in trade flows were due to the larger economic size and population of ports of Europe compared to Middle Eastern ports. Overall, results show that evidence of globalisation via the Suez Canal was a phenomenon between Europe and the periphery, rather than within the periphery itself.

This paper looks at the comparative trade costs of shipping through the Suez Canal according to different trade routes. Drawing from data on trade prices for a set of five commodities in 36 cities of the Middle East, and shipping routes through the Suez Canal, this paper finds that price convergence was lower within the Middle East than on longer distance routes between Europe and Asia. This was a result of higher trade costs through the Canal for routes within the Middle East compared to routes between Europe and Asia. Differences in trade costs were the result of lower trade flows, and differences in trade flows were due to the larger economic size and population of ports of Europe compared to Middle Eastern ports. Overall, results show that evidence of globalisation via the Suez Canal was a phenomenon between Europe and the periphery, rather than within the periphery itself.

The emersion of the “synchronized” commercial mobility (1869-1884)

Giulio Mellinato

During the decades 1870-1880, the convergence of innovations on different levels of the seaborne trade (technological, with the triple-expansion engine; environmental, with the opening of the Suez Canal; organizational, with the affirmation of liner shipping) changed once and for all the economic architecture of the entire maritime world. Furthermore, the interaction among telegraphic communications, steamships and trains allowed economic operators to overcome the structural limits of the traditional world trading system, reaching a higher level of connectability. Early fruits of this evolution were the commodification of timeliness, the possibility to enhancing the possible synergies between different business, and the creation of an advanced kind of logistics. Looking at the first wave of globalization from the point of view of the synchronization of the transportation systems may allow us to increase the explanatory power of the maritime history studies.

During the decades 1870-1880, the convergence of innovations on different levels of the seaborne trade (technological, with the triple-expansion engine; environmental, with the opening of the Suez Canal; organizational, with the affirmation of liner shipping) changed once and for all the economic architecture of the entire maritime world. Furthermore, the interaction among telegraphic communications, steamships and trains allowed economic operators to overcome the structural limits of the traditional world trading system, reaching a higher level of connectability. Early fruits of this evolution were the commodification of timeliness, the possibility to enhancing the possible synergies between different business, and the creation of an advanced kind of logistics. Looking at the first wave of globalization from the point of view of the synchronization of the transportation systems may allow us to increase the explanatory power of the maritime history studies.

Broken Machines - Trans-Pacific Trade and Machine Packaging, 1910s-1920s

Yuan Yi

My paper examines the trans-Pacific textile machinery business between Chinese cotton mills and American machine manufacturers with emphasis on maritime transportation and packaging. The American machine industry witnessed rapid market expansion in China as Chinese industrialization started to gather momentum in the early twentieth century, but normal operation of its machines required considerable effort; many of them arrived in China damaged during transportation. By analyzing how American manufacturers and their government addressed this issue, I argue that the industry’s globalization beyond the conventional American South and New England posed a new technological challenge: proper packaging. Unlike domestic transportation, mostly connected by rails, the trans-Pacific shipping required weeks-long marine traffic as well as more frequent works of loading and unloading. Textile machines—heavy and yet fragile—were particularly vulnerable to such circumstances, and their success in the Chinese market hinged on proper packaging rather than express delivery.

My paper examines the trans-Pacific textile machinery business between Chinese cotton mills and American machine manufacturers with emphasis on maritime transportation and packaging. The American machine industry witnessed rapid market expansion in China as Chinese industrialization started to gather momentum in the early twentieth century, but normal operation of its machines required considerable effort; many of them arrived in China damaged during transportation. By analyzing how American manufacturers and their government addressed this issue, I argue that the industry’s globalization beyond the conventional American South and New England posed a new technological challenge: proper packaging. Unlike domestic transportation, mostly connected by rails, the trans-Pacific shipping required weeks-long marine traffic as well as more frequent works of loading and unloading. Textile machines—heavy and yet fragile—were particularly vulnerable to such circumstances, and their success in the Chinese market hinged on proper packaging rather than express delivery.

Sailing along the Silk Road - Norwegian trade with China before 1937

Camilla Brautaset

The paper discusses the development of Sino-Norwegian trade relations in a long-term perspective. The trade links between China – the world’s largest market – and Norway – a European minion – primarily involved trade in services, which often are absent from common statistics. Norwegian exports ranged from the bizarre to the successful; from horseshoe nails to medical cod liver oil. One of the most important areas, however, was merchant shipping. This was reflected in successful shipping companies, where Norway’s lack of imperial ambitions made them less “dangerous”.

The paper discusses the development of Sino-Norwegian trade relations in a long-term perspective. The trade links between China – the world’s largest market – and Norway – a European minion – primarily involved trade in services, which often are absent from common statistics. Norwegian exports ranged from the bizarre to the successful; from horseshoe nails to medical cod liver oil. One of the most important areas, however, was merchant shipping. This was reflected in successful shipping companies, where Norway’s lack of imperial ambitions made them less “dangerous”.

The shipping sector in West Africa from 1960 up to present - path-dependence and transnational entrepreneurial strategies

Daniel Castillo Hidalgo

Seaborne trade has represented a key issue for the West African economies in the long run. During the second half of the twentieth century, the maritime trade expanded and seaports were transformed on important regional hub centers. The main aim of this study is to analyze the long-term evolution of this sector seeking for path-dependence events mainly related to the colonial period and the former economic colonial stakeholders. Building on the quantitative data provided by the UNCTAD and the Review of Maritime Transport (i.e.: regional evolution of the shipping sector, expansion of the African´s flags of convenience, structure of the African fleet and world contribution, etc.) and other primary sources (i.e.: port development and containerization: concentration, hub and spoke systems), and qualitative data (French diplomatic archival sources), this paper attempt to explore the long term evolution of the shipping sector in West Africa.

Seaborne trade has represented a key issue for the West African economies in the long run. During the second half of the twentieth century, the maritime trade expanded and seaports were transformed on important regional hub centers. The main aim of this study is to analyze the long-term evolution of this sector seeking for path-dependence events mainly related to the colonial period and the former economic colonial stakeholders. Building on the quantitative data provided by the UNCTAD and the Review of Maritime Transport (i.e.: regional evolution of the shipping sector, expansion of the African´s flags of convenience, structure of the African fleet and world contribution, etc.) and other primary sources (i.e.: port development and containerization: concentration, hub and spoke systems), and qualitative data (French diplomatic archival sources), this paper attempt to explore the long term evolution of the shipping sector in West Africa.

2nd half

Single, married, divorced. Family ties as a perspective on maritime human capital in the Baltic Sea Area, 1752-1950

Pirita Frigren, Jari Ojala

In this paper we argue that seafarers’ marital status may indirectly reveal the maritime career paths. We test the hypothesis that marital status, age and skills correlate which is about to give significant knowledge on investments in the human capital in the shipping sector both during the age of sail and steam. We provide a long-term analysis on seafarers’ marital status based on the data of 649,627 recruitments on Swedish and Finnish merchant vessels from 1751 to 1950. Thus, seafarers’ familial ties played a crucial role in what was the role of maritime labour in the local communities due to the questions of transmission of maritime wages and consuming them at home. In addition, an evident consequence of work at sea during the long distance trade was the increased responsibility over the family economy and earning for those who stayed at home.

In this paper we argue that seafarers’ marital status may indirectly reveal the maritime career paths. We test the hypothesis that marital status, age and skills correlate which is about to give significant knowledge on investments in the human capital in the shipping sector both during the age of sail and steam. We provide a long-term analysis on seafarers’ marital status based on the data of 649,627 recruitments on Swedish and Finnish merchant vessels from 1751 to 1950. Thus, seafarers’ familial ties played a crucial role in what was the role of maritime labour in the local communities due to the questions of transmission of maritime wages and consuming them at home. In addition, an evident consequence of work at sea during the long distance trade was the increased responsibility over the family economy and earning for those who stayed at home.

Shipping and global markets in 19th century Scandinavia - A family-based industry

Sif Goodale

The shipping industry in the nineteenth century globalized Scandinavian maritime communities. Broadly speaking, maritime history has traditionally been focused on the male perspective because sailors were men. I ask questions about the degree to which women and families were involved in Scandinavian globalization and shipping. The enormous amount of work which went into running households, small farms, and business affairs while sailors worked at sea was central to the structure of maritime Scandinavia. This labor was as vital to the global shipping industry as the maritime work itself. Families participated in the global shipping market in other ways as well: They traveled with their husbands, and some women owned shipping companies. Scandinavian maritime globalization was based on the labor of both men and women. Global shipping cannot be understood fully without taking women’s labor into account.

The shipping industry in the nineteenth century globalized Scandinavian maritime communities. Broadly speaking, maritime history has traditionally been focused on the male perspective because sailors were men. I ask questions about the degree to which women and families were involved in Scandinavian globalization and shipping. The enormous amount of work which went into running households, small farms, and business affairs while sailors worked at sea was central to the structure of maritime Scandinavia. This labor was as vital to the global shipping industry as the maritime work itself. Families participated in the global shipping market in other ways as well: They traveled with their husbands, and some women owned shipping companies. Scandinavian maritime globalization was based on the labor of both men and women. Global shipping cannot be understood fully without taking women’s labor into account.

From Sail to Steam - Maritime Wages in the Port of Antwerp, 1850-1914

Kristof Loockx

On the basis of the Antwerp seamen’s registry, this paper explores how maritime wages evolved in relation to the ongoing transformation of the maritime labor market (1850-1914). The development of wages has already gained attention, although the main focus has concerned maritime powers and levels of remuneration in the age of sail. It is important, however, to further analyze maritime wages on steamships and to focus on smaller fleets because local characteristics still played a vital role. The port of Antwerp proves an interesting case. Economic growth and a relatively fast transition from sail to steam partly explain why the port gradually evolved into an international maritime hub from the mid-1860s onwards. By analyzing wages, this paper aims to shed new light on the impact of technological change and the transformation of the maritime labor market prior to World War I.

On the basis of the Antwerp seamen’s registry, this paper explores how maritime wages evolved in relation to the ongoing transformation of the maritime labor market (1850-1914). The development of wages has already gained attention, although the main focus has concerned maritime powers and levels of remuneration in the age of sail. It is important, however, to further analyze maritime wages on steamships and to focus on smaller fleets because local characteristics still played a vital role. The port of Antwerp proves an interesting case. Economic growth and a relatively fast transition from sail to steam partly explain why the port gradually evolved into an international maritime hub from the mid-1860s onwards. By analyzing wages, this paper aims to shed new light on the impact of technological change and the transformation of the maritime labor market prior to World War I.

Cheap labor - Situating the health worlds of seafarers alongside U.S. political shifts in labor and migration policies

Shannon Guillot-Wright

The changed conditions of U.S. labor and worker protections, seen most clearly in market disciplines and trade agreements driven by neoliberal policies, helped to create a precarious workforce. Precarious employment comprises people who lack legal protections, social security in terms of adequate wages and benefits, certainty over job status, and occupational safety. I present an analysis of seafaring regulations as one way to interrogate the health worlds of seafarers, paying particular attention to political economic dimensions and the everyday practices of seafarers. I focus my research on political economic shifts in the recognition and regulation of international and national policy alongside photo-ethnographic research with Filipino seafarers. I explore health prevention through the discourse of power distribution instead of risk and disease. I posit that the health inequities that follow precarious employment for seafarers are produced through the discourse of economic and social policies that are inscribed onto the body (embodied).

The changed conditions of U.S. labor and worker protections, seen most clearly in market disciplines and trade agreements driven by neoliberal policies, helped to create a precarious workforce. Precarious employment comprises people who lack legal protections, social security in terms of adequate wages and benefits, certainty over job status, and occupational safety. I present an analysis of seafaring regulations as one way to interrogate the health worlds of seafarers, paying particular attention to political economic dimensions and the everyday practices of seafarers. I focus my research on political economic shifts in the recognition and regulation of international and national policy alongside photo-ethnographic research with Filipino seafarers. I explore health prevention through the discourse of power distribution instead of risk and disease. I posit that the health inequities that follow precarious employment for seafarers are produced through the discourse of economic and social policies that are inscribed onto the body (embodied).

Coming home from the sea. Norwegian seafarers and seafarer families in the second half of the 20th century

Stig Tenold

The paper presents the framework governing the employment of seafarers on Norwegian ships in the second half of the 20th century, before discussing the causes and effects of the changes in Norwegian seafaring. The shipping crisis of the 1970s and 1980s ushered in political changes and replaced Norwegians by foreigners on most ships. The paper discusses the organisation of seafarers’ lives, including their family situation, before and after the policy shift. The paper is based on a combination of archival material, secondary sources and interviews with seafarers and seafarers’ wives from the Norwegian city of Bergen.

The paper presents the framework governing the employment of seafarers on Norwegian ships in the second half of the 20th century, before discussing the causes and effects of the changes in Norwegian seafaring. The shipping crisis of the 1970s and 1980s ushered in political changes and replaced Norwegians by foreigners on most ships. The paper discusses the organisation of seafarers’ lives, including their family situation, before and after the policy shift. The paper is based on a combination of archival material, secondary sources and interviews with seafarers and seafarers’ wives from the Norwegian city of Bergen.