International trade emerged and developed when the productive forces of human society developed to a certain stage. It is a historical category. The generation of international trade must have two basic conditions, one is to have the existence of the state, the second is produced for the need of the international division of labor, and the international division of labor only on the basis of the social division of labor and private ownership may form. These conditions are not immediately available in human society, but gradually formed with the continuous development of social productive forces and the expansion of social division of labor.
Primitive society's trade
At the beginning of the primitive society, the human ancestors to gang group, fishing trappers, extremely low level of productivity, people is in a state of natural division of labor, group work can only maintain the most basic survival needs, there is surplus products to exchange, therefore no foreign trade.
The first social division of labor in human history, namely the division of animal husbandry and agriculture, promoted the development of the productive forces of primitive society, and products had a small amount of surplus besides maintaining their own needs. In order to obtain the products not produced by the group, there was a primitive barter exchange of surplus products between clans or tribes. Of course, this exchange is also extremely primitive and accidental exchange of things.
In a long period of time, with the continuous development of social productivity, handicrafts were separated from agriculture and became independent departments, forming the second great division of labor in human society. As a result of the emergence of handicraft industry, there has been a direct exchange of production - commodity production. When products are produced specifically to meet the needs of others, the exchange of goods gradually becomes a regular activity. With the expansion of commodity production and Commodity Exchange, money appeared, and then Commodity Exchange became the commodity circulation with money as the medium. This further promotes the formation of private ownership and class. Due to the increasing frequency of Commodity Exchange and the expanding geographical scope of exchange, the merchant class specialized in trade has been created. The third social division of labor further expanded the production and circulation of goods. The production and circulation of commodities are more frequent and extensive, thus the formation of class and state successively. Thus, at the end of the principled society, the circulation of goods began to transcend national boundaries, which resulted in foreign trade.
The three major divisions of labor in human society have each promoted the development of social productivity and the increase of surplus products, as well as the development of private ownership and the formation of slavery. At the end of primitive society and the beginning of slave society, with the emergence of class and state, the exchange of goods went beyond national boundaries, and trade between nations was born. It can be seen that on the basis of the development of social productivity and social division of labor, the expansion of commodity production and Commodity Exchange, as well as the formation of countries, are the necessary conditions for the emergence of international trade.
International trade in slave societies
In slave societies, where the natural economy was dominant, it was characterized by self-sufficiency and produced primarily for consumption, not for exchange. Although the slave society produced handicrafts and commodities, they were insignificant in the production of the whole society of a country. At the same time, because of social productivity level is low and backward production technology, transportation pallet, poor road conditions, seriously hindered the exchange of people and things, foreign trade limited in a small range, its size and content are subject to restrictions.
Slave society is a society in which slave owners own the means of production and slaves, and the foreign trade of slave society serves the slave owners. At that time, the important mark of slave-owners' wealth was how many slaves they possessed, so the main commodity in the international trade of slave society was slavery. It is recorded that Athens in Greece was once a center for slave trade. In addition, food, wine and other luxuries enjoyed by the slave-owners, such as gems, spices and fabrics, were important commodities in international trade at that time.
During the period of slavery, countries engaged in international trade mainly included Phoenicia, Greece, Rome, etc. These countries mainly engaged in trafficking in the eastern Mediterranean and the black sea coastal areas. China entered slave society in the xia and shang dynasties, and trade was concentrated in the countries along the Yellow River basin.
Foreign trade did not play an important role in the slave economy, but it promoted the development of the handicraft industry.
International trade in feudal society
The international trade in feudal society had a greater development than that in slave society. In the early feudal society, the feudal land rent took the form of labor and material goods. In the middle period, with the development of commodity production, the feudal land rent changed into the form of monetary land rent, and the commodity economy got further development. In the late feudal society, with the development of urban handicraft industry, capitalist factors had given birth to production, and both commodity economy and foreign trade had developed rapidly.
In feudal society, the feudal landlord class dominated, and foreign trade served the feudal landlord class. The slave trade largely disappeared in international trade. In addition to luxury goods, the main commodities of international trade are domestic handicrafts and foodstuffs, such as cotton goods, carpets, porcelain, grain and wine. These goods are mainly for Kings, monarchs, churches, feudal landlords and some wealthy city dwellers.
In feudal society, the scope of international trade expanded significantly. Trade between Asian countries has gradually expanded from offshore to offshore. As early as the western han dynasty period, China has opened up from changan through central Asia to west Asia and European overland trade route, the silk road, and the Chinese silk, tea and other goods to the west, in HuiLiangMa, seeds, herbs and accessories, etc. By the tang dynasty, in addition to the land trade, it also opened up the sea trade to the Persian gulf, Korea and Japan. During the song and yuan dynasties, due to the development of shipbuilding technology, maritime trade was further developed. In the Ming dynasty yongle, who led the merchant fleet of seven times the "western", by the southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean to East Africa, visited more than 30 countries, with China's silk, porcelain, tea, copper and iron trade equivalent to the countries, in return for the spices, jewelry, ivory and medicinal materials, etc.
In Europe, in the early stages of feudal society, international trade was concentrated in the eastern Mediterranean. During the eastern Roman empire, Constantinople was the international trade center of the emperor. 7 - the 8th century AD, the arabs in control of the Mediterranean trade, through the trafficking of African ivory, Chinese silk, the far east of spices and precious stones, Europe, Asia, Africa trade intermediaries on three continents. Ever since the 11th century, with the Baltic coast of northern Italy and the rise of cities, the scope of international trade gradually expand to the whole of the Mediterranean Sea and the north sea, the Baltic and black sea coast. At that time, the trading centers of southern Europe were some cities of Italy, such as Venice and Genoa. The trading centers of northern Europe were some cities of the hanseatic league, such as Hamburg and lubberk.
To sum up, the former international trade of capitalist society served the interests of slave owners and feudal landlord class. With the improvement of social productivity, the division of labor and the development of commodity production, international trade has been expanding. However, due to the limitation of production mode and traffic conditions, the main purpose of the commodity production and circulation is in order to meet the need of exploiting class luxury life, trade mainly limited within a state, between Eurasia and international trade in the slave society and feudal society economy occupies an important position, is not the scope of trade and commodity varieties has great limitations, trade activities don't happen very often. Then, in the 15th century "great geographical discovery" and the resulting the colonial expansion of European countries are greatly the development of the state, the trade between the starting a true sense of "world trade", in a capitalist society obtained a wide range of international trade development.