What if the gap consumes the core?

Joseph Wang believes there may be tremendous lack of imagination for us to not visualizing the scenario of gap consuming the core in the Barnett theory. The wisdom of asking this question is not about preparing us for the worst case scenario, but about how we anticipate the challenges and discover a pragmatic solution to prevent it from happening. He started with this
  • "The one thing that bin-Laden understands that unfortunately most people don't is the central nature of the economic front on the war on terror. Put simply, if we get to 2100, and most of the world is living in decent middle class conditions, then bin-Laden will lose. If we get to 2100, and most of the world isn't living in decent middle class condition, then bin-Laden or someone like him will win. This will be the case no matter what actions are taken in the short term."
Will Texas degenerate into Lagos one day, as depicted in science fiction? Is this so hard to imagine?
  • Read history books on the fall of Roman Empire and the Han Empire circa 150-350AD
  • Rent an old James Bond movie, compare Rio de Janeiro today with Rio in 1960s
  • Go visit (read about it if you cannot afford the time to go) the Angkor Wat
  • More recently, the collapse of SE Asian economy is 1997/98 if these countries were left alone to fall (i.e. if it is the OECD countries like in 1929)
In other words, in analogy to the language of physics, it is much cheaper to increase the entropy of a system than to decrease it. In layman's terms, it is much easier to shuffle a deck of card than to arrange them 1 to 52. It is much cheaper to pollute than to clean, to waste than to recycle, to fall the WTC than to build it.

It follows that if we are following the same approach of the disruptors (terrorists), we may not win even if we have a much larger set of resources to command and brains to use. This is an assymetric war. Therefore, one needs to step back and think in bigger pictures, and approach the problem from a different dimension. I am therefore also pretty pessimistic about Dubya's tic-for-tac ans passive tactics interwined with multiple distraction driven by various selfish interest groups.

Barnett's approach offers us one grand framework using the concept of core and gap. It is not the only framework. But great minds think alike, there must be anaology or correspondence if there is another sensible framework. In mathematics, if you can solve a problem in two different ways, it is very likely that you could find a "mapping" of the logically steps of these two solutions. Unfortunately, real world problem involves much more variables than problems in physics and mathematics.

We are not certain that Barnett's approach will solve the problem once and for all. But one thing certain is that it is a better approach than the non-solution US adopted today. But one principle will be common in any solution we find in the future, in Joseph's words
  • "Remove the economic stresses and the petri dish disappears, and the agents of Satan are revealed for who they are."
It requires political and economic measures, military measure at best should be supplementary.

The alternative Blueprint for action


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