The Global Trader

| June 19, 2015

The Global Trader

You are a trader on the Silk Road. You can be Chinese, Mongolian, Arabian, Byzantine, or Venetian. Your job is to gain access to spices, incense, glassware, and other commodities the elite demand. Remember that trade in this age has followed the old contours of gift exchange (items intended by and for elite consumption and redistribution in order to solidify political alliances). What if you made these goods available to a broader audience? What if you took the profit made transporting these goods and used it to leverage business growth against native and foreign competitors? For you to succeed in this scheme, you must get eliminate of some of the middle men. Then, you must secure alternative safe passages to the main caravan hubs in central Asia. Will you need naval power to accomplish this bold and audacious plan?

Present an update on the status of your plan to usurp the silk trade from a powerful and cutthroat competitor. Use words with precision and skill as you present your step-by-step plan to gain control over the silk trade. Present an overview that makes an explicit argument. This will serve as your thesis statement. Then, in a systematic and logical fashion, lay out your bold and cunning strategy in your initial post of at least 300 words. Think about these issues as you draw up your proposal:
a. An adventure of this scale is costly. How do you propose to raise the money without incurring the wrath of your already heavily taxed subjects?
b. Do you plan to use military forces for this operation?
o If so, are you asking for specialized elite forces to play the role of merchants in disguise?
c. How do you propose to usurp trade from a rival empire that marks up the price of luxury goods that arrive in your empire? They are the cause of your negative balance of trade, and the time has come to bypass the middleman. Unfortunately, diplomacy has failed to reach a negotiated settlement because the stakes are too high for each side to make concessions.
d. Do you seek out religious minorities within your rival’s domain and empower them in an effort to politically or economically undermine your adversary? Is there a potential for backlash?
e. Do you seek to take advantage of social or economic divisions within your rival’s domain in an effort to politically or economically undermine your adversary? How sure areyou that encouraging dissent will weaken, rather than strengthen, your rival’s hand?
f. Do you dispatch envoys to China in an effort to monopolize the export of goods such as silks, spices, and exotic herbs? Who will you send?

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