International trade is probably the most impressive weaving together of the concepts Madsen has talked about so far. Madsen uses the example of a pair of jeans, made in China or Vietnam, coloured with dye from India, sold around the world. There are countless other little things we use every day without giving a second thought to the journey each one has made around the world. And that process is hardly new — scholars have traced international trade right back to the ancient times, and can show ripple effects from crop failures in medieval China even affecting parts of Europe, as trade patterns change.

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