Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization
By Parag Khanna
From the visionary bestselling author of The Second World and How to Run the World comes a bracing and authoritative guide to a future shaped less by national borders than by global supply chains, a world in which the most connected powers and people will win.
Connectivity is the most revolutionary force of the twenty-first century. Mankind is reengineering the planet, investing up to ten trillion dollars per year in transportation, energy, and communications infrastructure linking the world s burgeoning mega-cities together. We have become a global network civilization, with profound consequences for geopolitics, economics, demographics, the environment, and social identity. Connectivity, not geography, is our destiny.
In Connectography, global strategist Parag Khanna sweeps us along on his journeys to explain the rapid and unprecedented changes affecting every part of the planet. He travels from Ukraine to Iran, Mongolia to North Korea, Pakistan to Nigeria, and across the Arctic Circle and the South China Sea to show how militaries are deployed to protect supply chains as much as borders. This is not war over territory but tug-of-war over pipelines, railways, shipping lanes, and Internet cables. The new arms race is to connect to the most markets a race China is winning, as it has become the top trade partner of twice as many countries as America. And just as China has launched a wave of infrastructure investments to unite Eurasia around its new Silk Roads, the United States can only regain ground by fusing with its neighbors into a super-continental North American Union of shared resources and prosperity.
Connectography offers a unique and hopeful vision for the future. Khanna argues that new energy discoveries and technologies have eliminated the need for resource wars; ambitious transport corridors and power grids are unscrambling Africa's fraught colonial borders; even the Arab world is evolving a more peaceful map as it builds resource and trade routes across its war-torn landscape. At the same time, thriving hubs such as Singapore and Dubai are injecting dynamism into young and heavily populated regions, cyber-communities empower commerce across vast distances, and the world's ballooning financial assets are being wisely invested into building an inclusive global society. Beneath the chaos of a world that appears to be falling apart is a new foundation of connectivity pulling it together.
“Khanna imagines a near-future in which infrastructural and economic connections supersede traditional geopolitical coordinates as the primary means of navigating our world. He makes a persuasive case: Connectography is as compelling and richly expressive as the ancient maps from which it draws its inspiration.”
- Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and CEO, WPP
“Reading Connectography is a real adventure. The expert knowledge of Parag Khanna has produced a comprehensive and fascinating book anchored in geography but extending out to every field that connects people around the globe. His deep insight into communications, logistics and the many other globally critical areas is remarkable. The book is full of fascinating insights that we normally would not notice, and his writing reflects his extensive travel experience. His recommended sites and tools for mapping is the most comprehensive than I’ve ever seen. An invaluable resource for anyone involved in business, science, arts or any other field.”
- Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group
“From Lagos, Mumbai, Dubai and Singapore to the Amazon, the Himalayas, the Arctic and the Gobi desert steppe, Parag Khanna’s latest book provides an invaluable guide to the volatile, confusing worlds of early 21st century geopolitics. A provocative remapping of contemporary capitalism based on planetary mega-infrastructures, inter-continental corridors of connectivity and transnational supply chains rather than traditional political borders.”
- Neil Brenner, Director, Urban Theory Lab, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
“To get where you want to go, it helps to have a good map. In Connectography, Parag Khanna surveys the economic, political and technological landscape and lays out the case for why ‘competitive connectivity’--with cities and supply chains as the vital nodes--is the true arms race of the 21st century. This bold reframing is an exciting addition to our ongoing debate about geopolitics and the future of globalization.”
- Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company
“In high style, Parag Khanna re-imagines the world through the lens of globally connected supply-chain networks. It is a world still fraught with perils — old and new — but one ever more likely to nurture peace and sustain progress.”
- John Arquilla, Professor, United States Naval Postgraduate School
“Connectography gives the reader an amazing new view of human society, bypassing the time-worn categories frameworks we usually use. It shows us a view of our world as a living thing that really exists: the flows of people, ideas, and materials that constitute our constantly-evolving reality. Connectography is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the future of humanity.”
- Sandy Pentland, Professor, MIT Media Lab
“Parag Khanna takes our knowledge of connectivity into virgin territory, providing an entire atlas on how old and new connections are reshaping our physical, social and mental worlds. This is a deep and highly informative reflection on the meaning of a rapidly developing borderless world. Connectography proves why the past is no longer prologue to the future. There’s no better guide than Parag Khanna to show us all the possibilities of this new hyper-connected world.”
- Mathew Burrows, Director, Strategic Foresight Initiative at the Atlantic Council, and former Counselor, U.S. National Intelligence Council
“Connectography is ahead of the curve in seeing the battlefield of the future, and the new kind of tug-of-war being waged on it. Khanna's scholarship and foresight are world-class. A must-read for the next President.”
- Chuck Hagel, former U.S. Secretary of Defense
“Today’s world has multiple geographies that do not fit the old geopolitics of states. In Connectography, Parag Khanna gives us not only new techniques for mapping but a whole new map – different, useful, mesmerizing.”
- Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
“Khanna's new book is a brilliant exploration of supply-chain geopolitics and how the intersection of technology with geography is reshaping the global political economy. It is an intellectual tour de force that sparkles with original insights, stimulating assertions, little-known facts, and well-researched predictions. Highly rewarding reading for anyone seeking to understand the contemporary world order and why China’s ‘one belt, one road’ project is a winning strategy that outflanks the U.S. ‘rebalance to Asia’ by integrating all of Eurasia’s economies under Chinese auspices.”
- Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Chairman, U.S. China Policy Foundation, and former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
"Take what you think you know about globalization. Now add steroids. No ocean or continent goes untouched in the author’s version of how human life is organized on Earth. We are headed, he insists, for a supply-chain world where, following the ancient law of supply and demand, ever expanding infrastructures of all varieties (including Internet cables) will channel commerce and talent, binding us culturally and economically ever more closely, obscuring if not entirely eliminating national boundaries. In the endless struggle for leverage, “the supply chain tug-of-war,” ideology takes a back seat to commerce, and connectivity becomes paramount. A twin dynamic propels these infrastructure connections: first comes devolution, the fragmentation of territory into ever smaller units of authority (think the Soviet Union), and then, aggregation, the coming together of those units into something larger (think the European Union). A well-traveled, well-informed guide, Khanna makes persuasive use of pointed facts, surprising detail, and intriguing queries to demonstrate the degree of hyperconnectivity already upon us. Quick, can you say with any certainty where the car you drive was “made?” Did you know today’s most visited city is Dubai or that by 2025 over 40 cities will have populations of more than 10 million people? That China has only one aircraft carrier but maintains the world’s largest merchant marine fleet? That Canada’s water may be more valuable than oil in the 21st century? Khanna’s arguments range from a stout defense of the notion of “global citizens” to the futility of freezing today’s political map, the virtues of reciprocity over protectionism, and the degree of foreign investment between two nations as the strongest predictor of stable relations.
A consistently interesting, almost wholly persuasive vision of a future in which flow prevails over friction, where globalization’s new “scale, depth, and intensity” reshape the map we thought we knew."
According to international relations expert Khanna (How to Run the World), the notion of geography as destiny is obsolete—a nation’s fate will be shaped not by where it’s located but by who its partners are. States that excel at networking will grow and prosper. Already, Russia and China are building supply chains with the developing world by offering technology and infrastructure in return for access and raw materials. Dubai has rapidly achieved equal status with traditional international hubs like London and New York City. Khanna’s insights are at once self-evident and revelatory. Why conquer when you can seduce? However, he demonstrates limits to the power of modern checkbook diplomacy—violent protests in African nations against China’s heavy economic involvement are on the rise. Khanna argues that an interdependent world will see fewer wars over access and resources. His seemingly inexhaustible expertise about the global economy is impressive, but readers may feel as if they are on a supersonic non-stop flight to international hot spots, complete with jet lag. This is a prescient guide to the geopolitics of today and tomorrow.
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