Asia’s Unintended Flows

Our “Big Questions” series brings together leading scholars, former policymakers, and top industry experts to tackle critical questions. In the fourth part of this series, we asked five experts the following:

Greater connectivity often produces unintended consequences. The ancient Silk Road, for example, carried not just commerce, but also disease. As roads, railways, and ports are built across the Eurasian supercontinent, how will these new connections impact the movement of drugs, human trafficking, and other unintended flows?

In our first response, Dr. Sebastien Peyrouse makes the case that poverty and corruption, rather than connectivity, are the real drivers behind the drug trafficking problems facing Central Asia.

In our second response, Dr. Mary E Wilson elaborates on potential health risks that can arise when new connectivity alters the physical and biological landscape.

In our third response, Dr. Louise Shelley sheds light on the complex entanglements between new connectivity, Central Asia’s economy, and illicit flows such as the drug trade, human smuggling, and illegal migration.

In our final response, Peter Zahler and Louisa Denier discuss how wildlife traffickers are taking advantage of new roads, ports, and airports to cross borders more quickly and easily.

Read our first, second and third big questions here.