I came across this book while reading a STRATFOR post on what STRATFOR themselves happened to be reading. STRATFOR’s philosophy, or, at least, founder George Friedman’s philosophy, is that geopolitics is an impersonal force that shapes humanity whether we like it or not. It is therefore best not to attempt to oppose this force but recognize it for what it is, and posture to benefit as much as possible from the inevitable.
Parag Khanna seems to have the philosophy that “He who is strong in will moulds the world to himself.” Connectography is essentially Utopian in outlook. It expresses a desire to “terraform” our world into a Paradise by riding on technology to establish a global “Pax Connectiva.” Infrastructure development is the vehicle in which Utopia will ride in order to arrive at Paradise on earth.
Have we really come further than the Ancients? Did they have technology with them, the likes of which we have lost and are only now rediscovering? Did the Ancients attempt to have Infrastructure and Connectivity in order to establish Paradise on Earth? Were they successful? If they were successful, how much of their success are we experiencing in the world right now? If they were not successful, what were the barriers to success, and how might we overcome them?
Parag describes a world where increased connectivity and flow helps to increase value all round and therefore give us increasingly higher quality of life. I wonder.
People have always organized themselves into functional groups in the interests of survival, security, peace and prosperity. Since water is essential for life, settlements tended to be located near water sources like rivers, lakes and so forth. Navigable rivers also served as connections between communities, and there were some who braved the wide ocean expanses in search of a better life for themselves. Nevertheless, communities are viable only where the resources are sufficient to support their existence. Trade occurs when another community has resources that another community would also like to have and is willing to give something else in return.
Increasing levels of connectivity in the hope of establishing Utopia does not take into account human nature as it is. We are essentially selfish creatures. Flows occur only when we derive benefits from those flows. The will to dominate reasserts itself as the first opportunity and new variations of war will emerge. Parag’s “Supply Chain Tug-of-war” is of course happening, but I doubt very much that the scourge of war and pestilence will be replaced by it.
Connectivity presents a way of looking at the world which not many people are willing to adopt. It definitely opened up my mind to more possibilities of increasing shared value and I am sure it will do similar things for you.
Download the pdf.