Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization
Monday, April 18, 2016
Author: Parag Khanna
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Random House (April 19, 2016)
From the Author
The book explores the future of geopolitics through the lens of our rapidly unfolding global infrastructural networks in energy, transportation and communications. The Eurasian landmass as the site of the “New Silk Roads” is a particular focus, especially China’s infrastructure across Eurasia to Europe and the Mideast, the opening Iran (based on my July 2015 trip there), the role of Dubai and other GCC city-states as regional investors, and how infrastructure can play a positive role in a future post-Sykes Picot map of the Middle East.
The book contains more than three dozen unique maps of the Mideast, Africa, Asia and other continents custom-designed by the Harvard Center for Geographical Analysis and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cartography Lab.
I hope this provides a useful new prism into what the future might hold for a region that concerns us all dearly.
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 megacities together. This has profound consequences for geopolitics, economics, demographics, the environment, and social identity. Connectivity, not geography, is our destiny.
In Connectography, visionary strategist Parag Khanna travels from Ukraine to Iran, Mongolia to North Korea, Pakistan to Nigeria, and across the Arctic Circle and the South China Sea to explain the rapid and unprecedented changes affecting every part of the planet. He shows how militaries are deployed to protect supply chains as much as borders, and how nations are less at war over territory than engaged in tugs-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 now winning, having 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.
Praise for Connectography
“Connectivity has become a basic human right, and gives everyone on the planet the opportunity to provide for their family and contribute to our shared future. Connectography charts the future of this connected world.”—Marc Andreessen, general partner, Andreessen Horowitz
“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
“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
“This is probably the most global book ever written. It is intensely specific while remaining broad and wide. Its takeaway is that infrastructure is destiny: Follow the supply lines outlined in this book to see where the future flows.”—Kevin Kelly, co-founder, Wired
“There’s no better guide than Khanna to show us all the possibilities of this new hyperconnected world.”—Mathew Burrows, director, Strategic Foresight Initiative at the Atlantic Council, and former counselor, U.S. National Intelligence Council
“Reading Connectography is a real adventure. The expert knowledge of Parag Khanna has produced a comprehensive and fascinating book anchored in geography but extending to every field that connects people around the globe. His deep analysis of communications, logistics, and 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 are the most comprehensive that I’ve ever seen. This book is an invaluable resource for anyone involved in business, science, arts, or any other field.”—Mark Mobius, executive chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group
“Connectography gives the reader an amazing new perspective on human society, bypassing the timeworn categories and 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
“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 United States’ ‘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
“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
“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 twenty-first-century geopolitics. A provocative remapping of contemporary capitalism based on planetary mega-infrastructures, intercontinental corridors of connectivity, and transnational supply chains rather than traditional political borders.”—Neil Brenner, director, Urban Theory Lab, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
“In high style, Parag Khanna reimagines 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.”—Professor John Arquilla, United States Naval Postgraduate School
“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, and mesmerizing.”—Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
Review By G. John Ikenberry
Khanna is not shy about making bold claims, and his exploration of today’s vast and expanding networks and pathways of transportation and communication leads him to declare that, in the future, “cities will matter more than states and supply chains will be a more important source of power than militaries.” That seems like a stretch. Still, with an eye for vivid details, Khanna has nevertheless produced an engaging geopolitical travelogue, unearthing the Internet cables, energy pipelines, and electrical grids that link regions together more closely than ever before and allow people to lead increasingly connected lives. In his view, connectivity is transforming conflict between states into competition for access to the world’s infrastructure of networks and markets. A world of nation-states, he argues, is becoming a world of nodes and transit hubs: a “global network civilization.” And yet the actual stories of globalization in the book still revolve around big players such as China, India, Russia, the United States, and Europe. The influence of these traditional geopolitical powers might ebb and flow, but it is hardly disappearing. In that sense, the new, more connected world does not seem all that different from the old, less connected one.
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. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (Apr.)
Global strategist Khanna (Asia and Globalization/National Univ. of Singapore; How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance, 2011, etc.) analyzes the new world of global connectivity.
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.
About the Author
Parag Khanna is a global strategist, world traveler, and bestselling author. He is a CNN Global Contributor and a Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Khanna is the co-author of Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization and author of How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance and The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order. He has been a fellow at the New America Foundation and Brookings Institution, advised the U.S. National Intelligence Council, and worked in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senior geopolitical adviser to U.S. Special Operations Forces. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He serves on numerous governmental and corporate advisory boards and is a councilor of the American Geographical Society, a trustee of the New Cities Foundation, and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.