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From Silk To Silicon:

The Story of Globalization

Jeffrey Garten

Genghis Khan's Mongols revolutionised warfare, which made their empire possible, but it lasted so long because of the expansion of trade, transport and communication. And the mingling of people and ideas under an organised bureaucracy and systems which kept the peace. The big difference was they had no deeply ingrained ideas of political or religious cultures that they wanted to impose on their conquests. Motivated solely by greed for wealth they were tolerant of most cultures as long as the booty flowed to the rulers.

Before the Mongols, few traders could travel the whole Silk Road bc Arab middlemen along the way in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon insisted on taxing every step. But at height of Pax Mongolia there were no significant barriers from Mediterranean and China.

They also imposed order on both Chinese and Persian fragmented societies, which led directly to them forming unified empires after the demise of the Mongol Empire.

The first golden age, bringing together knowledge from China to Europe - paper-making, advanced iron-smelting, pharma. Shows how commerce follows conquest, commerce and culture intersect and influence, and transport links become important.

In 1840's Samuel Morse and others were predicting a trans-Atlantic telegraph cable, but it was still a leap into the unknown. "No one who knew anything about telegraphy would be foolish enough to risk building one, and besides, it would cost a fortune." So it's hardly surprising the at the man who eventually did it, was both ignorant of telegraphy and extremely rich.

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