Mapping the Future of Global Civilization | Nat Geo Live

Mapping the Future of Global Civilization | Nat Geo Live


Parag:That world of political
geography is not going away.
But, at the same timewe are engaging in this
topographical engineering.
These very robust engineering
systems by which
we modify the planet to
suit what we want it to do
what our various economic and
political activities are.
This is a very different
way of thinking about
how we map and what we map and
what matters most on the map.
( audience applause )Connecto-graphy, connect-ographyI’ve already heard it pronounced
a thousand which ways.
But of course, what
I’m talking about
is the fusion of connectivity
and of geography
And all of that “connectivity
revolution”, as I call it
falls into three
particular categories that I liken to three
systems in the human body.And what we have here is the
world’s highways and railways
oil and gas pipelines,
electricity grids
internet cables.All of this infrastructure that
has massively, exponentially accelerated our ability to move
people and goods and resources and knowledge and technology
and ideas around the world. And that revolution is in, by
many measurements or metrics really just getting underway. As I said,
we are just in the early phases of this incredible build-out
of global infrastructure. By some estimates we’ll spend, not just the
$4 trillion per year on infrastructure
that we spend today but, rising to $7-8 trillion
in the coming years. Meanwhile,
military spending worldwidethough it’s rising in
quite a few geographies
as an aggregate, is
relatively steady
at around $2 trillion.So, what happens
when we build-out all of this infrastructure as this… as these
infrastructures sort of envelop and
wrap around the world? I believe that we… we evolve beyond one
of the most ancient adages and phrases
that we all know.Geography is destiny.Instead, we think of
the arc of history
as really taking us in
a certain direction. And that direction is more and
more and more connectivity. There’s a term in this
for academia.Extra-statecraft, in which
that infrastructure is so real
where so many borders are
considered artificial
that it has an authority,
a gravity if you will.
And when countries
build infrastructure like a highway or a railway
or an electricity grid something really basic you know, that they
share with each other it winds up being something
that is almost a… irrevocable bond.
It’s obviously positive sum. And the more of
those that you havethe less one thinks aboutnot sovereignty as guiding
their relations
but this connectivity
really shaping
how they relate to each other.And so, that’s the shift
that’s happening now from political geography being the most paramount
feature of the map which is again the borders to the functional geography which is the infrastructures
and the supply chains.Gradually, what I believe
what happens next
is what I call the
“Global Network Civilization”that eventually emerges from
all of this infrastructure.
Within that, you still have
empires, you still have nations you have city-states, you have
all of these various actors. But, it all adds up to a sort of
co-existing civilization.The Sijori growth triangle.Singapore,
Malaysia and Indonesia
are trying to
optimize their space.
And what you have here is
a case, where you have a country Singapore,
which has very– almost no land,
but a lot of capital. Country like Malaysia that has quite a bit of land
and labor and some capital. And Indonesia, which has a lot
of land and a lot of labor and very little capital. So, you take these
three countries that are all very close to
each other and they said starting in the 1970s,
in the 1980s “Let’s start to take
Singaporean money and Malaysian and
Indonesian land and Indonesian labor and
put it on some islands that nominally
belong to Indonesia and let’s start building ships that are owned by
Singaporean companies. But, let’s optimize
our geography let’s treat it like we are
connected by one supply chain.”And that’s what
they started to do.
And you wouldn’t
know that there is one set of rules in
one place and another because now people can increasingly move
seamlessly around them. And that’s how places one
by one, gradually… neighbors shift, transition
from political geography to functional geography.But, the supply
chains are in fact
the original worldwide webs.And they are,
that system of transactions
that gets any one thing to–one thing from one place
to any another place.
And in many cases in the
global supply chain today
we no longer really know
where something is made. And so, I believe that
the labels on everything from clothing to computers
and so on should really be
made everywhere. If you look at where
the design is done the manufacturing is done the production, the
marketing, the distribution the insurance,
the repair of any given product. It involves companies and
sub-contractors and so forth from all over the world. There’s very little that is made exactly where the label
says it is, in fact. And that’s what happens when we
get to the supply chain world.You can see it in the factthat trade now reaches every
corner of the planet.
You can see it in
the ways in which
people in the financial
industry are affected
by the financial crisis of 2008.Collapse of manufacturing as a
result of the financial crisis.
Automobile workers andmanufacturing workers
around the world
simultaneously lose their jobs.You may not have noticed it because that may not
be your circuit. But, people who work in that
industry all over the world simultaneously affected. Such is the nature of that
connectivity among this project. It is a very human thing because each and every one of us
belongs to some kind of circuit.And we move, we gravitate
towards the supply chain
towards these circuits.We want to be part of them
and when the supply chain
and when infrastructure doesn’t
come to you, you go to it.
Right, and that is why
so many people today that’s why there’s more migrants
than ever in history today. People are on the move. One of the ways in which
economists or others would measure the extent of
globalization is, they would say “Well, X and Y
number of people have crossed borders
any given year.” That’s not the correct way
to measure a globalization in my view. It’s how many people are
connected and to get connected you don’t have to move across
an international boundary. Most people will never leave
the country they were born in. But, if you move to a city,
you have access to services. You may work in a factory
of a foreign company you’re connected
to supply chains you’ll have a mobile phone. All of these things
connect you to the world even though you have never
left the country. So, to me,
the rate of urbanization is the greatest measurement of the extent to which mankind
is getting connected. And of course, we live in a rapidly,
rapidly urbanizing world. Now, most of the
world’s population does live in cities already.Part of this global
network civilization
part of this move from political
to functional geography is that
perhaps, not surprisinglycities can be seen
as more important
in many ways than countries.So, what is on this map is every
human being in the world.
You have the entire
world’s population here and you have the population
density as well. And you have these ovals showing
you the kind of outlinesof where the largest, most
populous mega-city clusters are.
And then the large circles
tell you, what percentage
what share of the national
economy those cities represent.
So, what you’re seeing here is not only where
mankind is concentrated but of course,
just how significant those particular clusters
are where they’re located. And so,
30 or 40 of these represent a growing share
of the world economy. And by the year 2030,
most projections estimate there will be about
50 mega-city archipelagos. And these really represent the preponderant share of the
world economic activity. So, I’ve put, kind of all
of them up on one map here. And again,
I ask the question you’re trying to understand
how the world works. It’s not a naive question I wonder which map
tells you more. This one or
the conventional ones? Or maybe some mix of the two. But certainly not one
that ignores this. Because a map that ignores
this is not actually capturing who we are, where we are
and what we do. Part of this story is what
I call ‘pop-up cities’. Special Economic Zones. Fifty years ago
we had almost no Special Economic Zones
in the world today. Geographies, industrial
parks that were set aside and designated primarily
for the purpose of attracting in
foreign investment bringing in technology training workers,
boosting exports allowing countries and
their labor force to rise up the value chain.Today, we have 4,000such Special Economic Zones
in the world today.
It is the most rapidly
expanding type of city.
So, this is a very significant
trend in the world today.
China has become an empire
of such mega cities.
Each of which has almost a
designated economic function
in the global supply chain.And if you think about it,
it’s fascinating. It’s very, very instructive in the shift from political
to functional geography. That the world’s oldest
continuous civilization with very diverse provincial
and linguistic histories in many of its provinces,
would say “That’s all fine and good. You can keep your dialects
and your culture and so on. But, we need to organize
the country in a new way so that each of these
mega-city clusters has an internally
viable economy. So, it has anywhere from
20 to 100 million people. So that it has lots of
services and transactions going on among people,
so it’s not dependent just on exporting one kind
of widget or product. But, at the same time, each one
is very connected to each other through high speed rail networks
and highways and so forth and internationally
to the global economy. And this process of
reorganizing the sort of the management of a
country is something that we’re starting to
see around the world.This is how I believe it should
happen in the United States.
What I’m basically
saying is that
the 50 United States
that we have
are very, very usefulwhen you’re trying to win
an election.
When you’re out
there campaigning
But, it tells you
absolutely nothing
about how to properly
govern America’s geography
to be an economically
competitive superpower.
Right, what we need is for these
mega regions, if you will that have certain
common internal economic characteristics
like agriculture or industry to be much more seamlessly
connected to each other and to the outside world. They need to be built around
urban economies at their core and they need to be
connected to each other through freight rail corridors high speed rail networks
and so forth.So, if you take this layeringof the natural
economic geographies
these big patches and the urban
clusters that are in white
that are gonna be
the economic hubs
and then the infrastructural
connectivity.
That’s how you would turn
The United States of America
into United City-States
of America. And that would be one, that
would be far more efficient far more viable,
far more sensible and certainly far
more competitive. The optimistic note
that I want to end on and that I end the book on
is this idea that we are actually returning
to a fairly ancient model.We are a coastal urban
network civilization.
Right, a world in which
people are more interested
in trade and commerce with
each other than conquest. And this is what I call the Pax Urbanica,
a peace among cities in which, if we think about
the way cities view the world versus the way
countries view the world. Cities are interested in
trade and connectivity whereas, we think of
countries being interested in territorial aggrandizement. And so, the more we
move into a world in which that mentality of
inter-urban connectivity in sharing lessons with each
other, trading with each other positive sum relations the more peaceful ultimately,
the entire world system can be. But, the punch line
really is that if you want to have this world,
you actually have to build it. And it starts with,
what we’re doing today and what we could
do a lot more of. Which is investing, first and
foremost in connectivity. Connectivity for countries,
connectivity for cities and connectivity for people. And with that, I’ll stop.
Thank you so very much. -( audience applause )
-Thank you.

23 thoughts on “Mapping the Future of Global Civilization | Nat Geo Live

  1. Well the world might be more interconnected, corporations operate above law and geographical borders. but the average population still the same.
    The only ones that benefit from this are the owners of the trademarks and the infrastructure. Everybody else is nothing but a pawn serving the interest of those corporations.
    and those poor nations with no income but lots ef resources, land, and population become 3rd world slavery holes producing for the western world and the world corporations.

    We live in a neo-feudal Era and the new lords are corporations the new aristocracy is made out of Capitalist and Corrupted politicians, everybody else is nothing but a pleb to serve.

  2. stupid borders are not going anywhere it will be sucidal for countries to open borders and have free movement. this is left wing propaganda

  3. brilhante from the point of view of globalization efficience, but disturbing for cultures, custumes and lessen organized and financial capable countries, whicn may be le left further behind. Not a simple infraestructural matter…but worth of study deeply

  4. Everyone is talking about urbanization. It's about time we revoke all that and throw down ruralization. Current urban conditions are unhealthy and invasive. One day the higher ups will realize we can't just cover the world in concrete. We should strive to redirect urban architecture to submit to their ecological region. The earth is overpopulated. What are you going to do about it?

  5. The Monopolizing by the very-very few has got to come to an end'!, so is to mainly stop these big corporations and big market conglomerates being money Hungary, power bullies against the smaller companies and all the little mom&pop stores, huh'!, of what's left of the little companies'!, I remembered when the U.S. Congress use to keep this monopolizing by these corporations and big oil, ect., they use to keep all them in-check for the most part, so they don't get to big for their own good'!, but even then I wondered about that, corruptionists run's throughout many veins any More now these days and has-been'!, now the World-Wide-Web, gives much control over how they sell and present their selling tactics amongst and against the consumers that are listening & watching'!, they control & play with peoples emotional & basic needs, wants, habit's of their everyday lives as it plays-out'!, all over the world in every country'!, oh'the WWW'!, Don't cha just love-it'!, lol'!, financial responsibility by most has gotten utterly repulsive and dissociating by what they really need in life to what they (don't) need'!, whether it's keeping up with the Jones's or the Compulsive buying, rather way', their being sub-conscientiously controlled for most of the matter at-hand, and they all just keep letting it, and just keep getting broker-financially & spiritually at the same time'!!!!!!!!………. (Sheeple-The-People!!!)…

  6. Interesting arguments and "beliefs" we have here in this thread. Whether you agree with what he's saying or not it's happening.

  7. We want the United States of America as it was originally intended to be as our forefathers intended it to be. every state has control of itself. Corporations are independent goverments trying to control the people for profit! NO!

  8. Equating technological infrastructure to biological systems has to be the apex of toxic colonialism. Turtle Island isn't yours to shape!

  9. Is there a source for the graph at 1:40 because, at least in the U.S., I don't believe the funds for infrastructure double or even triple the military. In fact, it might be just the opposite!

  10. Everyone is leaving their country is because of bad leader ship and poor stay poor rich stay rich and polution of water and rotten food. The country's need to find better leader's that care for them and not take their freedom and money and property away from them and inslave them .If they took care of the problems in their country the people would stay not in fear of corrouption drug or fear of being killed

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