Other “Silk Roads” and the Modern World

We study the Silk Road as an historical topic but in the modern era (loosely defined here as from the eighteenth century on), the transfer of people and ideas did not stop, even in times when borders became more solid.  The trading of other goods, licit and illicit, such as tea and heroin continued the Silk Road even after silk itself began to be manufactured elsewhere in the world.  Technology has been traded for most of the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. For example advancements in film technologies and animation, which historically Iran, and more recently Japan have been at the forefront could be seen as fitting in the Silk Road paradigm.  Precious natural resources, notably oil, today have replaced silk as the product that drives the global economy and is the subject of much scholarly discussion today among economists and those who study global politics.