From the early trading Empires of the Romans and Chinese, to the Colonial Empires of the British, Spanish, and Portuguese, international trade routes were safeguarded by military power, whilst the mechanisms of trade were influenced by technological developments – in many instances the emergence of new technologies provided new trading opportunities. Technological innovations made possible an increase in the breadth and scope of trade, and brought countries into contact with new ideas, products, and experiences. This increasing awareness of the existence of other societies and what they had to offer helped fuel the desire to increase and intensify trade – which in turn motivated the development of the necessary technology, in essence, a mutually-beneficial cause and effect relationship. For the first two or three centuries BC, the Empires that flourished around the Mediterranean tended to trade with each other, and had developed remarkably sophisticated trading networks. At approximately the same period, the Chinese had developed their trading links, predominately with countries (or ‘cities’) in Asia. It was really only the Silk Route that informed these two separate trading groups of each other’s existence. By contrast, the countries of the modern world are linked through trade, political alliances, socio-cultural exchange, economic development, and technology (e.g., electronic communications). So much so that what happens in one continent is felt almost immediately all over the world – as evidenced by the US mortgage crisis of 2008, and subsequent bank failures throughout Europe.
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