commerce


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Idioms, Wikipedia.

Commerce,

city (1990 pop. 12,135), Los Angeles co., S Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles; inc. 1960. An important transportation hub for S California, Commerce is the home of several large corporations. There is food processing and diverse manufacturing. In 1927, Charles A. LindberghLindbergh, Charles Augustus,
1902–74, American aviator who made the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight, b. Detroit; son of Charles A. Lindbergh (1859–1924). He left the Univ. of Wisconsin (1922) to study flying.
..... Click the link for more information.
 landed The Spirit of St. Louis at the old Vail Field in Commerce while on a nationwide tour following his transatlantic flight.

commerce,

traffic in goods, usually thought of as trade between states or nations. Engaged in by all peoples from the earliest times, it has been carried on in some areas and by some peoples more than others, because of special geographical, technological, or economic advantages. The Egyptians, the Sumerians and later inhabitants of Mesopotamia, the Cretans, the Syrians, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Arabs, and the Western Europeans have excelled in commerce, tapping the resources of the East, Oceania, the Americas, and Africa.

The Rise of Commerce in Europe

The Crusades did much to widen European trade horizons and prefaced the passing of trade superiority from Constantinople to Venice and other cities of N Italy. In the 15th and 16th cent. with the sudden expansion of Portugal and Spain the so-called commercial revolution reached a climax. In N and central Europe, the earlier supremacy of the Hanseatic League, the Rhenish cities, and the cities of N France and Flanders was eclipsed by the rise of national states. Antwerp began its long career of glory when the Spanish were losing hegemony, and the Dutch briefly triumphed in the race for world commerce in the 17th cent. The Dutch in turn gave way to a British-French rivalry that by 1815 left Great Britain paramount.

The rise of the chartered companychartered companies,
associations for foreign trade, exploration, and colonization that came into existence with the formation of the European nation states and their overseas expansion. An association received its charter from the state and sometimes had state support.
..... Click the link for more information.
 under the auspices of the national state had much to do with the expansion of trade, as did the modern corporationcorporation,
in law, organization enjoying legal personality for the purpose of carrying on certain activities. Most corporations are businesses for profit; they are usually organized by three or more subscribers who raise capital for the corporate activities by selling shares
..... Click the link for more information.
, which later displaced the chartered company. The Industrial Revolution of the 18th and the 19th cent. also fostered the development of commerce, generating both products for trade and the means for trading them. World commerce was aided materially by the invention of the astrolabe, the mariner's compass, and the sextant; by the development of iron and steel construction; by the application of steam to both land and water transport; and by the more recent development of the telephone, telegraph, cable, radio, and the InternetInternet, the,
international computer network linking together thousands of individual networks at military and government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, industrial and financial corporations of all sizes, and commercial enterprises (called gateways
..... Click the link for more information.
, and of inventions such as refrigeration, the gasoline engine, the electric motor, the airplane, and the computer.

International Trade Today

The theory of commerce as imposed by the national state has varied from the mercantilismmercantilism
, economic system of the major trading nations during the 16th, 17th, and 18th cent., based on the premise that national wealth and power were best served by increasing exports and collecting precious metals in return.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of the 17th and 18th cent. and the protective tariff of the 19th and 20th cent. to the free trade that Britain long upheld. After World War II the cold war limited trade between Communist and capitalist countries until the late 1980s, but the need for commercial expansion led to the creation of a number of international and regional systems designed to remove trade barriers. The International Monetary FundInternational Monetary Fund
(IMF), specialized agency of the United Nations, established in 1945. It was planned at the Bretton Woods Conference (1944), and its headquarters are in Washington, D.C.
..... Click the link for more information.
 was established in 1944 to help nations finance temporary trade deficits. The General Agreement on Tariffs and TradeGeneral Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
(GATT), former specialized agency of the United Nations. It was established in 1948 as an interim measure pending the creation of the International Trade Organization.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (GATT), signed in 1947 by 23 major industrial countries to reduce tariffs, evolved into an ongoing mechanism for reducing trade barriers, and after eight rounds of negotiations, the Uruguay Round (the last round, 1995) created the World Trade OrganizationWorld Trade Organization
(WTO), international organization established in 1995 as a result of the final round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations, called the Uruguay Round.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

In 1957 the European Economic Community was created, and in the 1980s and early 90s European leaders signed a series of agreements that created a unified West European economy in 1993 (see European UnionEuropean Union
(EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations)
..... Click the link for more information.
). In 1992 leaders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade AgreementNorth American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA), accord establishing a free-trade zone in North America; it was signed in 1992 by Canada, Mexico, and the United States and took effect on Jan. 1, 1994.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (NAFTA); MercosurMercosur
or Mercosul,
officially the Common Market of the South, Latin American trade organization established in 1991 to increase economic cooperation among the countries of E South America.
..... Click the link for more information.
 was established a year earlier in South America. Nonetheless, national economic interests have been difficult to overcome, and a number of countries, including the United States, passed protectionist legislation and enacted retaliatory tariffs in the 1980s and 90s.

Bibliography

See M. Beard, A History of Business (2 vol., 1938; repr. 1962–63); C. S. Belshaw, Traditional Exchange and Modern Markets (1965); W. Culican, The First Merchant Venturers (1967); R. S. Lopez, The Commercial Revolution of the Middle Ages (1971); R. Rosencrance, The Rise of the Trading State (1986); W. Gill, Trade Wars against America (1990); A. K. Smith, Creating a World Economy (1991); J. J. Schott, ed., The World Trading System (1996).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

commerce

the activity embracing all forms of the purchase and sale of goods and services
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
The defect of power in the existing Confederacy to regulate the commerce between its several members, is in the number of those which have been clearly pointed out by experience.
The regulation of commerce with the Indian tribes is very properly unfettered from two limitations in the articles of Confederation, which render the provision obscure and contradictory.
In the fourth article of the Confederation, it is declared "that the FREE INHABITANTS of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice, excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of FREE CITIZENS in the several States; and THE PEOPLE of each State shall, in every other, enjoy all the privileges of trade and commerce," etc.
The power of establishing uniform laws of bankruptcy is so intimately connected with the regulation of commerce, and will prevent so many frauds where the parties or their property may lie or be removed into different States, that the expediency of it seems not likely to be drawn into question.
Commerce has been for ages the predominant pursuit of that country.
The wars of these two last-mentioned nations have in a great measure grown out of commercial considerations, -- the desire of supplanting and the fear of being supplanted, either in particular branches of traffic or in the general advantages of trade and navigation, and sometimes even the more culpable desire of sharing in the commerce of other nations without their consent.
These labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.
Temple turned his attention from the pursuit of commerce, which was then fluctuating and uncertain, to the settlement of those tracts of land which he had purchased.
More fundamentally, the court's decision raises key issues under the Commerce Clause about the States' freedom to compete for interstate commerce and foster economic development within their borders, as well as important issues of who may challenge a State's tax policy choices.
They argued that the tax incentives were invalid under the commerce clause of the U.S.
A fourth assumption is implied but left unstated by a title that highlights the book's attention to the social practice of slave commerce but obscures its almost exclusive focus on the evidence of literary texts: Gould's stance is that of a cultural historian for whom the most interesting literature is that which illuminates a particular aspect of a society's outlooks and prejudices.

Full browser ?