First published: The Globalist, 30/11/2006
Asia and oil exporters, especially those in the Gulf, have a long history of commerce. The ancient and continental Silk Road was once a major conduit of goods, technology and even religion. As George Magnus — UBS’s Senior Economic Advisor — argues, a new silk road has emerged through the trade of hydrocarbons, petrodollars and, like its ancient counterpart, consumer goods.
The New Silk Road
The Silk Road as a trading route can be traced back about 2000 years. It was named by the German scholar Baron Ferdinand von Richtofen in 1859 many centuries after this caravan network had faded into obscurity. Originally, Chinese silk was the main commodity traded from the old imperial capital at Chang’an (Xi’an) west via central Asia, south of the Caspian Sea and on to the Middle East then to Turkey and Europe. By the 6th century, merchants, traders and armies were also developing trade in spices from India and the East Indies, gold from Persia and pottery and grains from Europe….more