On 16th March, 2017, global strategist, world traveller and bestselling author Parag Khanna, chosen by Esquire magazine as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century”, delivers a lecture at Corvinus University at 5:00 pm at the invitation of PAGEO. The title of the lecture is “Connectography: Mapping the Future of Civilizations”.
Khanna was born in 1977 in India and graduated from Georgetown University, USA in International Relations Major. He obtained his doctorate degree at the London School of Economics in international relations discipline. Khanna worked as researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and at the World Economic Forum in Geneva. In 2007 he served as a geopolitical advisor to US Special Operations Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also served in the foreign policy advisor group to the Barack Obama for President campaign. At present he is a Senior Research Fellow of the New America Foundation, a think tank dealing with technology and its political utilisation and at the Lee Kwan Yew Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He lives with his wife and two children in Singapore.
Globalisation is rushing ahead unstoppably. Consequently, the network of relations, infrastructure, commercial, internet, interpersonal, supply and demand based networks and the influencing thereof are far more definitive elements of the power than the armies used to be until the previous century. Conflicts, borders and the factors determining the enforcement of interests are also being transformed. In his book entitled Connectography, Parag Khanna presents a world where everything is closely connected with everything and the presently known borders have lost their significance.
According to Khanna, the political borders known from geographical atlases and maps have had their day once and for all. Also, the newly emerged and continuously changing reality is reshaping the nature of conflicts. For instance, Russia annexed Crimea not only to restore the former Soviet territorial borders and China adheres to its Nine-Dash Line not only to obtain territories but also to gain power over the infrastructure and energy resources located there.
In his book, Khanna highlights, among others, that technology and innovations drive the world towards hyper globalisation, and wars can only ever slow this process at most. Although many people have buried the globalisation owing to 9/11, the failure of the WTO Doha Round in 2006 and the financial-economic crisis in 2008, Khanna believes we are now living in its golden age. Today the key is interconnectedness, which is facilitated by the more and more developed infrastructure systems. As a result, what really counts is not the possession of the area but the use of the resources or the road and gas pipeline system located there. Interconnectedness also favours competition: both the producers and the labour force can flow more freely, which, according to the market rules, leads to the equalisation of wages, production costs, regulation and quality in the long term, providing an opportunity for the backward regions to catch up.
Parag Khanna devotes a separate section to China and the new Silk Road, which the Asian Giant aims to use for the revival of the ancient commercial routes and expand through the establishment of new paths, in order to widen its commercial relations. According to the author, China is building its empire in this way, too.
For more details about the book, see Issue 4 of HUG.