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War/Peace

The Future of War – warfare is rapidly evolving. Torrential improvements in technology and globalization have combined to make it possible for small groups of violent individuals to go to war against nation-states and win. In fact, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are actually accelerating the process of development.

How effective are these new methods of warfare? Here’s a narrow example. In the summer of 2007, a “defunct” guerrilla group attacked a critical part of a natural gas pipeline in Mexico. This caused a cascade of failure that shut down the just-in-time manufacturing system in the northern part of the country. Network effects turned a $2,000 attack in $2.5 billion in damages. It was so effective, the group did exactly the same thing a month later. Nobody was caught.

The Future of Peace – resilient communities. Our tightly interconnected global system is increasingly prone to large shocks from a variety of man-made and natural causes. These shocks can disrupt flows of energy, food, commerce, and communications to produce widespread wealth destruction (at best) and famine/death (at worst). The best way to mitigate these shocks is to build resiliency at the local level so that communities can enjoy the benefits of globalization without being damaged by its excesses.

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