How The Ancient Silk Road Pioneered Globalization

Positive or negative, we hear a lot about globalization in the modern era. But where did it all begin?

With Brexit and President Trump's opposition to trade deals, the term "globalization" has become a regular part of today's political discussions. Simply put, globalization refers to the circulation of goods and products internationally, and to understand how it works and why many modern countries have issues with it, economists are looking back to the Silk Road.

One of humanity's first experiments with free, international trade, the Silk Road brought goods, including silk, through China and Central Asia, eventually expanding into Southeast Asia, India and the Mediterranean. But along with these goods came something less expected: a merging of culture, religion and language.  

This merge is still happening today, and though there are benefits to it, staunch opponents of globalization argue that it's a threat to the world's cultural diversity. We can see this in action by looking at the world's currency. Most of Europe abandoned their distinct national denominations for the Euro and other countries are doing the same by adopting the U.S. dollar. In addition to currency, experts have predicted that due to globalization, only half of modern dialects will still exist by the year 2100. 

Learn More:

UNESCO: About the Silk Road

BBC: The death of language?

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