Merchant Shipping and Economic Development in Atlantic Canada

Fischer, Lewis R. and Sager, Eric W. (1982) Merchant Shipping and Economic Development in Atlantic Canada. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Conference of the Atlantic Canada Shipping Project, June 25-June 27, 1981.

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This is the fifth volume of papers from the annual workshops of the Atlantic Canada Shipping Project. In previous conferences we examined the merchant fleets of the North Atlantic, entrepreneurs and economic development in eastern Canada, the voyage patterns of Canadian shipping and the bulk trades which they served, and the labour force employed by merchant fleets in the nineteenth century. In this volume we examine both the regional and international contexts within which Atlantic Canadian shipowners operated, and we combine the skills of economists, geographers, maritime historians and regional Canadian historians. It is a measure of the complexity of our subject matter that we must now bring to bear upon a single C·anadian industry such a range of expertise. This was a Canadian industry, subject to influences specific to the colonies, provinces and urban centres of British North America; and it was simultaneously an international industry, subject to economic and other influences operating within the international trading system. The distinction between "seaward" and "landward" begins to break down: this was a Canadian international industry. The papers offered by Project members attempt, more thoroughly than before, to connect this international service industry with its regional base. Gerry Panting reviews the methods employed in our study of major shipowners in their landward environment. C .K. Harley and R.O. Goss offer economists' approaches to the questions of demand for shipping and rates of return in the industry. Roy George introduces the problem of regional economic development and the crucial role of the state in that development. Patricia Thornton tells us about the human losses suffered by Atlantic Canada as the region failed to make the transition from the age of sail to the age of iron and steam. We have learned, if nothing else, that the movement of freight rates in distant trades and the movement of men and women within and from Atlantic Canada were not unrelated events. Douglass North, and our other commentators, help us to grope towards new methods of capturing such diffuse phenomena in the web of historical logic.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Item ID: 13403
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Maritime Studies Research Unit
Date: 1982
Date Type: Publication

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