Commerce

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Commerce is the large-scale organized system of activities, functions, procedures and institutions directly and indirectly related to the exchange (buying and selling) of goods and services among two or more parties within local, regional, national or international economies.[1] More specifically, commerce is not business, but rather the part of business which facilitates the movement and distribution of finished or unfinished but valuable goods and services from the producers to the end consumers on a large scale, as opposed to the sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing of those goods. Commerce is subtly different from trade as well, which is the final transaction, exchange or transfer of finished goods and services between a seller and an end consumer. Commerce not only includes trade as defined above, but also a series of transactions that happen between the producer and the seller with the help of the auxiliary services and means which facilitate such trade. These auxiliary services include transportation, communication, warehousing, insurance, banking, financial markets, advertising, packaging, the services of commercial agents and agencies, etc. In other words, commerce encompasses a wide array of political, economical, technological, logistical, legal, regulatory, social and cultural aspects of trade on a large scale. From a marketing perspective, commerce creates time and place utility by making goods and services available to the customers at the right place and at the right time by changing their location or placement. Described in this manner, trade is a part of commerce and commerce is a part of business.

Commerce was a costly endeavor in the antiquities because of the risky nature of transportation, which restricted it to local markets. Commerce then expanded along with the improvement of transportation systems over time. In the middle ages, long-distance and large-scale commerce was still limited within continents. With the advent of the age of exploration and oceangoing ships, commerce took an international, trans-continental stature. Currently the reliability of international trans-oceanic shipping and mailing systems and the facility of the Internet has made commerce possible between cities, regions and countries situated anywhere in the world. In the 21st century, Internet-based electronic commerce (where financial information is transferred over Internet), and its subcategories such as wireless mobile commerce and social network-based social commerce have been and continue to get adopted widely.

Legislative bodies and ministries or ministerial departments of commerce regulate, promote and manage domestic and foreign commercial activities within a country. International commerce can be regulated by bilateral treaties between countries. However, after the second world war and the rise of free trade among nations, multilateral arrangements such as the GATT and later the World Trade Organization became the principal systems regulating global commerce. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is another important organization which sets rules and resolves disputes in international commerce.

Etymology[edit]

The English-language word commerce has been derived from the Latin word commercium, from com ("together") and merx ("merchandise").[2]

History[edit]

The caduceus - used today as the symbol of commerce,[3] and traditionally associated with the Roman god Mercury, patron of commerce, trickery and thieves

Historian Peter Watson and Ramesh Manickam date the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.[4]

In historic times, the introduction of currency as a standardized money facilitated the exchange of goods and services.[5]

Banking systems developed in medieval Europe, facilitating financial transactions across national boundaries.[6] Markets became a feature of town life, and were regulated by town authorities.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Commerce". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  2. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Commerce" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 765.
  3. ^ Hans Biedermann, James Hulbert (trans.), Dictionary of Symbolism - Cultural Icons and the Meanings behind Them, p. 54.
  4. ^ Watson, Peter (2005). Ideas : A History of Thought and Invention from Fire to Freud. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-621064-X. Introduction.
  5. ^ Davies, Glyn (2002). Ideas: A history of money from ancient times to the present day. University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-1717-0.
  6. ^ Martha C. Howell (12 April 2010). Commerce Before Capitalism in Europe, 1300-1600. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-76046-1.
  7. ^ Fernand Braudel (1982). Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century: The wheels of commerce. University of California Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-520-08115-4. Taken over by towns, the markets grew apace with them.