The history of the forms of “free” labour is intimately linked to that of coerced labour. In this book, worldwide acknowledged specialists of Russia, China, Russia, Japan, India, the Indian Ocean, France and Britain show that between the seventeenth and the twentieth century, forms of labour and bondage were defined and practised in reference to each other. Labour relationships found their sources not only in the global circulation of models, peoples, goods and institutions, but also in market dynamics. Proto-industry, agriculture, trade and manufacturing experienced unprecedented growth throughout Eurasia. Mostly labour-intensive, this long-term growth put considerable pressure on labour resources and contributed to increased coercion and legal constraints on labour mobility in both Asia and Europe.