Disconnectedness Defines Danger


I don't frequently write about issues other than information technology on these pages, but I just finished an article Thomas P. M. Barnett, from the US Naval War College, called The Pentagon's New Map which I found enlightening and strangely connected to a few other things I've recently read. To give you a feel for the article, here's one of my favorite quotes:

...it is always possible to fall off this bandwagon called globalization. And when you do, bloodshed will follow. If you are lucky, so will American troops.

If you find this article interesting and would like to read similar stuff, I would suggest Thomas Friedman's "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" and Juan Enriquez's "As the Future Catches You." I've had the honor of not only reading these books, but hearing the authors talk and subsequently speaking with them at some length.

What you'll find connecting all these books is a world view based on our "connectedness" or what many call "globalization." I prefer the former term because of the negative connotations that are attached to "globalization." I think its interesting to think about this relative to the World of Ends piece what Doc Searls and Dave Weinberger just published. In the end, that's about connectedness too and I think many of the issues they talk about apply regardless of the "connecting" system that you're talking about. For example, when Barnett talks of harmonizing a country's internal rule set with that of other nations, he's really talking about laws, protocols, agreements, processes, and other things that have direct analogs in what makes the Internet special as defined by Searls and Weinberger.

To take this one step further, I believe that the three virtues that Searls and Weinberger ascribe to the Internet apply just as truthfully to the global economy:

  1. No one owns it
  2. Everyone can use it
  3. Anyone can improve it

Read their words and substitute "global economy" for "Internet" and you'll find some interesting points. For example, I think that principal four provides real insight: Adding value to the Internet lowers its value. How do people attempt to "add value" to the global economy? One way is by regulating it or trying to tweak it in some way to benefit their country over others.