a high value in relation to their weight

ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

Whatever international trade did occur was usually monopolized by government-licensed private organizations like the British East India Company. Only goods with a high value in relation to their weight, like precious stones, metals, spices, special fabrics (particularly wool and silk cloth), furs, and wine, could be taken to faraway places and sold profitably. Grain too was sometimes traded abroad but it would seem in small quantities.

(This comes from English learning book and I don't find out its origin.)

Does the blue part mean "the heavier the goods, the more valuable they are"?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    No. They could only profit by trading goods that were of high value in relation to their weight. Diamonds and coal have about the same weight for the same volume. A ton of diamonds is worth many times more than a ton of coal. Diamonds have a high value in relation to their weight. Coal has a low value in relation to its weight. They did not trade coal, but they did trade diamonds.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I agree in principle but diamonds are denser than coal, and therefore heavier for the same volume.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would have thought value for a given volume was more important, but the quote says value in relation to weight. If we take the quote as being correct, then density does not come into it and you only have to look at the price per ton.
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Can I understand it this way: "goods with a high value in relation to their weight" roughly means "goods with a high value when they have the same weight or volume"?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree in principle but diamonds are denser than coal, and therefore heavier for the same volume.
    A factor of about 2 is neither here nor there in the context of dealing with the language.
    would have thought value for a given volume was more important
    The safe loading of a ship depends on the weight of the cargo. If a small ship could carry 100 tons, filling it with wool and silk could leave it loaded well below that weight capacity. Loading it with gold and diamonds might leave space, but the cargo would be worth more.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    A factor of about 2 is neither here nor there in the context of dealing with the language.
    My point is that while your answer was of course correct in principle, your statement that diamonds and coal weigh about the same for the same volume was not. It was part of your explanation, so I pointed it out. Diamonds are about twice as dense as coal. A factor of "about 2" isn't as insignificant as it sounds.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    A factor of "about 2" isn't as insignificant as it sounds.
    Looking at some general prices of diamonds and coal, while volume factor may be 2 , the price factor over 30,000,000. 0.2 grams (1 carat) of diamonds costs $1000. Coal is priced at much less than $100 per short ton.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top