In the footsteps of Marco Polo.

Zarg writes: I love travelling, don’t you? Last night I trawled William Coffin’s mind for all he knew about Marco Polo, which wasn’t much. It seems this guy walked a good half of the journey from Italy to China and back. Wow! I set William Coffin walking this morning in an experiment to see how far he could get. Not far, as it turned out. A multi-lane highway soon blocked his path and he couldn’t get over, under or around it without great risk to body and soul. On the way back I stopped him for a coffee and got him chatting to a lady. She told us there were places between Italy and China where it was unsafe to walk now. Things must have gone downhill since Marco’s time. We also spoke of those lines on the ground you call borders – lines only certain people can cross.

I will investigate more, but it strikes me that dominion over those lines may be key to control of the world. Some people own vast sums of money and businesses, which can move easily over the lines. Others own nothing but their brains and brawn, which are often trapped in small patches of the Earth’s surface. Imagine the power of these rich businesspeople! Isn’t freedom of movement what separates the jailers from the jailed, and the serial exploiters from the serially exploited?

Marco Polo highway

Photo sources: Connecticut State Library and Geograph.