Global trade has seen a vast evolution over centuries. From the early voyages of Africa/Atlantic trade in 1450, it has experienced waves of expansion and contraction that have defined the economic dynamics of nations. Our understanding of these complex and intertwined relationships warrants careful analysis of history and a foresighted view of the future.

Let's take a walk down memory lane and explore the influences that have shaped today's world of trade, and more importantly, consider the roadblocks and opportunities that could direct us towards the future.

From Atlantic to Pacific: Early Exploration and Trade (1450 - 1850)

The commencement of Atlantic trade in 1450 marked the dawn of ocean trading. Over the next 300 years, a voluntary African trade system developed, and South America was colonized in less than five decades. However, global trade only took off with the advent of Pacific trade in 1850s, tangibly marked by the establishment of the Suez Canal.

China's Isolationism and the Impact on Global Trade (1371 - Now)

China had been long famous for its Silk Road. That route hit its peak with the establishment of the vast Mongolian Empire that connected the Asia continent.

However, the tide has shifted in the medieval tide. China's decision to impose sea bans in 1371 revolved around decreased silk demand, increased piracy, and their desire for international respect. Ironically, this isolationism persisted for nearly six centuries and coincided with some of Zhu's futile explorations in the 1430s.

The Mediation of the India-Iran Trade by Europeans (1500s)

At the start of the 1500s, India and Iran's trade relations were largely mediated by the Europeans. This period illustrated the limitations of cross-country interaction, which later indirectly influenced today's global trade system.

Current Anti-Trade Movements (2017 - Present)

Presently, Europe/US is experiencing a wave of anti-trade overlooking the loss of competitiveness, the increasing influence of Covid, drug trafficking, and refugees. Propelled by tariffs in the last five years, they aim to reverse course, increasing efforts for local self-sustainability.

This coincides with the growing frustration of the West's failed military intervention in foreign affairs.

Possible Future Trade Scenarios

Given the current trends, the traditional sea routes that started with Portuguese, such as South Africa, North and South America, India, and Southeast Asia, may lose their relevance by 2040 due to the rise in regional instability. Block economies like that of the EU/US could potentially be self-sufficient. The ASEAN region is convincingly transitioning into Chinese power, since they will only need to protect that section of South China Sea route.

Conclusion: A Premonition or Pragmatic Prediction?

Considering these possible trends, are we anticipating a new era of economic self-sustainability, or are we merely experiencing a recession in global relations? The importance of these questions lies in their implications for the future of international trade. The coming decade would reveal whether these are premonitions or pragmatic predictions. The key will be adaptability, as the landscape of global trade continuously evolves.