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Web Commerce Security Design and Development by Ronald L. Krutz, Hadi Nahari

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Evolution of Commerce

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines commerce this way:

  1. social intercourse: interchange of ideas, opinions, or sentiments
  2. the exchanges or buying and selling of commodities on a large scale involving transportation from place to place

With the recent popularity of digital social networking, the first definition of commerce is gaining more relevance; however, it is the second meaning that is our primary focus in this book1. We would also like to add the term “services” to “ideas” and “opinions” in the preceding definition so that the term becomes more relevant for our purposes.

Not only is commerce a fundamentally social phenomenon, it is also a very human-specific act. At its core, commerce is a kaleidoscopic collision of humans' unique ability to identify the need to optimize productivity, conserve energy, increase the chance of survival, exercise social abilities, and ultimately embark upon the act of exchange with other humans. Commerce is so deeply intertwined in our social fabric, and is such an integral part of our day-to-day life, it would be very hard to imagine civilization without it. By engaging in commerce, we express another facet of our intelligent and social behaviors. In other words, commerce is not just another simple human activity; it is a rather complex and sophisticated process that requires a great deal of knowledge, care, and attention to implement properly.

The oldest form of commerce is the barter system, which typically follows ...

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