New York University Abu Dhabi
Christopher Paik is an assistant professor of political science at NYUAD. He specializes in the study of diverging sociopolitical and economic processes from both spatial and historical perspectives. His current research involves various topics including long-run determinants of development and growth, sources of enduring cultural differences, and legacies of colonization. He received his PhD in political economics from Stanford University.
「 The Global Economic Order before (and after) Western Hegemony: Chinese-Middle Eastern Trade from the Silk Road to "the Belt and Road" Initiative 」
The Silk Road stretched across Eurasia to connect the East and the West for centuries. At its height, the network of trade routes enabled merchants to travel from Japan to the Mediterranean Sea, carrying with them high-value goods for trade. Along with this inter-regional trade came political, economic and cultural exchange that were crucial for the development of early civilizations and urban growth. In this paper, we trace the historical network of trade routes across Eurasia, along which urban centers thrived or withered as a function of both political shocks as well as breakthroughs in navigation on the part of European explorers who sought direct sea routes to the East. We consider the historical growth of cities in China and the eastern parts of the Muslim world to understand how shocks to trade impacted economic development. In doing so, we challenge a Euro-centric approach to world history through an examination of the two most developed world cultures of the medieval period, China and the Muslim world.