We are well acquainted by now with the idea of the "New Silk Road", the increasing exchange in goods, commodities and labour between the economic powerhouses of the Far East and the developing countries of Central Asia and the Middle East.
Equally familiar is the "Bric" concept: the notion first formulated first by the Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill, highlighting the huge economic potential of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Now, these two concepts come together in a work that looks certain to get the economic classes chattering, and maybe change the way we will look at the world over the next couple of decades.
Stephen King, the chief economist at the global banking giant HSBC, has published a research paper in which he theorises the main trade routes of the future will not be across the north Atlantic, nor even between Europe and Asia.
Instead, future trading patterns will develop along "south-south" lines, linking Asia with the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The process is "set to revolutionise the global economy and turbocharge economic growth", says Mr King.
In an interview, Mr King explained: "At the moment we tend to think about trade within the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries, or the EU, or north-to-south across the world," Mr King says. "But the US and Europe will become much less important in world trading patterns as the emerging nations begin to trade more with each other."
He is firmly of the economic camp that believes the fast-growing economies of Asia are destined to overtake the West as growth generators, and his "Southern Silk Road" is one of the consequences of that inexorable historical dynamic.
"Knowing that China, India and other emerging nations are growing quickly is not enough to understand fully the revolution taking place in world economic affairs," he adds. "We are witness to the creation of new economic and financial connections that will fundamentally change patterns of economic endeavour around the world," his report says.
"Today, it's the US, but in 20 or 30 years time, China's biggest trading partner might be India. Brazil and Russia, in combination, will likely be threatening to overtake the US as important destinations for Chinese exporters.
"It's not just China's trading relations with its trading partners that will re-shape the global economy. The scope for India, Russia and Brazil to trade with each other is big enough to eclipse trading relations with the US and Europe.
"And what's true of the Brics is also true at the continental level: we believe linkages between Asia, Latin America and Africa are set to expand at an exponential level."
Trading and commercial connections will be followed by more financial linkages, Mr King believes, giving rise to new south-south capital flows, financial centres and currency arrangements, further undermining the role of the US dollar as a reserve currency.
There are signs the process is already under way, he believes, and reels off a set of statistics to illustrate his theory: The number of Chinese tourists travelling to Dubai increased 50 per cent in 2009 and a further 50 per cent last year.
During the visit last December to India of Wen Jiabao, China's premier, some US$16 billion (Dh58.76bn) of trade deals were signed, outstripping the $10bn clinched during an earlier visit by Barack Obama, the US president.
The 20 per cent stake held by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in South Africa's Standard Bank is the biggest foreign investment in the country since the end of apartheid in 1994.
"Brazil and India already export more to the emerging world than they do to the developed world, and China is heading in that direction," Mr King says. "But there are huge hurdles in the way. Tariffs, restrictions on migration, linguistic variations, conflict and disease all reduce the opportunities to trade."
The imperative is for the emerging nations to "connect", and China is showing the way. Today, five of the top 10 ports in the world are in mainland China; 20 years ago, there wasn't a single Chinese port in the top 20.
The new alternative to the Panama Canal is not another waterway, but a roadway across the Colombian Andes financed by China to link the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
The motor industry could be one of the spurs to south-south trade, Mr King says, with Asia producing smaller and more efficient cars. "Most car manufacturers produce cars for wealthy, tall and increasingly fat Europeans and Americans."
But increasingly manufacturers in India and China are aiming at the very different requirements of their own local markets, which are easily exportable to Africa and Latin America.