Parag Khanna: How megacities are changing the map of the world
Geopolitical futurist Parag Khanna foresees a world in which megacities, supply chains and connective technologies redraw the map away from states and borders. Full bio
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how life is organized on earth.
like a human body that we inhabit.
of roads and railways,
across the continents.
and electricity grids.
satellites, cellular networks
us to share information.
kilometers of roads,
of Internet cables.
500,000 kilometers of borders.
some ancient mythology.
all students of history are familiar:
are condemned to be poor,
cannot escape their larger neighbors,
sweeping the planet:
in all of its forms --
and communications --
in the mobility of people,
of geography as distinct from it.
as fusing together
resources and ideas,
from political geography,
to infrastructure and supply chains.
empires of the 19th century,
nations of the 20th century,
in the 21st century.
of the human species.
this global network civilization
and military spending taken together
two trillion dollars per year.
to nine trillion dollars per year
off an infrastructure stock
of three billion,
seven billion to eight billion
about one trillion dollars
of every billion people in the world.
of other organizations
of iron and silk roads,
on infrastructure in the next 40 years,
in the next 40 years,
about it for a minute.
the foundations of global society
we optimize the distribution
than just the sum of its parts.
in the 21st century:
that most define us.
of the world's population
mere little dots on the map,
stretching hundreds of kilometers.
across the US border to Seattle.
of Silicon Valley
down to San Jose
now passes San Diego
now share an airport terminal
may connect the entire Pacific spine.
begins in Boston through New York
for a high-speed rail network.
the megacities coming together.
from Tokyo through Nagoya to Osaka
are coming together
reaching 100 million people.
north to Guangzhou.
is almost the same size
two trillion dollars --
as all of India today.
institutions, such as the G20,
on economic size
may be in and have a seat at the table,
like Argentina or Indonesia would be out.
will soon exceed that of China,
one third of Iran's population.
between Cairo and Alexandria.
of city-states is forming,
to Muscat in Oman.
and Nigeria's commercial hub.
of a vast Atlantic coastal corridor,
of the Ivory Coast.
as 50 such megacity clusters in the world.
of 200 discrete nations
any individual megacity
its connections to the others.
is why these cities thrive.
such as Sao Paulo or Istanbul or Moscow,
one third of one half
any of their individual value
the role of the flows of people,
and the capital Pretoria.
a third of South Africa's GDP.
it is home to the offices
of global value chains.
of this global division of labor.
as to their home countries.
urbanization causes great dismay.
intercity learning networks thriving.
of intergovernmental organizations
are devoted to one purpose,
in the 21st century:
in New York and Paris
greenhouse gas emissions.
is that transferring technology
the carbon intensity of our economies.
on the number of cars on the streets.
want to drive anymore.
to achieving sustainable urbanization.
from end to end --
of extreme disparity
of financial assets
the actual GDP of the world.
since the financial crisis,
in inclusive growth?
affordable public housing,
both physically and digitally,
cities and societies
has just been included
Sustainable Development Goals,
is not charity,
needs to understand
important asset class of the 21st century.
connectivity between cities
with dense relations across borders,
of Europe after World War II,
kicked off a process
peaceful European Union.
in the international system.
towards explaining the tensions today.
less stake in the system
that matter most on the map
or the US-Mexico border,
and railways and pipelines
and even water canals
North American union.
it needs more connections.
is in the postcolonial world.
have historically been the most arbitrary
with each other.
has come into power
where high-speed rail networks
Bangkok to Singapore
from Vietnam to Myanmar.
coordinates its agricultural resources
into what I call a Pax Asiana,
is underway in East Africa,
and multimodal corridors
can get their goods to market.
coordinate their utilities
into a Pax Africana.
especially use this kind of thinking
but the ancient cities,
400 million people of the Arab world
to correct these mismatches
of pipelines and water canals.
the map of the Middle East.
to its neighbors: Europe, Asia and Africa.
is what we want right now
that more connectivity is the only way
that in region after region,
are learning to aggregate
the patterns of rivalry
is supposed to break out.
a quarter century ago,
have been predicted for this region.
leading World War III scenario.
across the straits have become so intense
held a historic summit
of a nationalist party in Taiwan
this fundamental dynamic.
an even longer history of rivalry
their air forces and navies
its largest foreign investments in China.
in record numbers there.
the largest number of foreigners
stretching from Northeast India
to Southern China.
from 20 billion dollars a decade ago
have fought three wars
a most-favored-nation trade agreement
through Pakistan to India.
that war with Iran seemed inevitable?
rushing to do business there today?
that World War III will not break out.
why it hasn't happened yet.
to the world's fastest growing militaries,
are also investing billions of dollars
and supply chains.
in each other's functional geography
step back from the brink,
over territorial tensions.
like the world is falling apart,
back together again,
and digital connectivity,
above their geographic constraints.
of people go online
cross borders every year,
to three billion in the coming decade.
geography is no longer destiny.
has a new and more hopeful motto:
ABOUT THE SPEAKERParag Khanna - Global strategist
Geopolitical futurist Parag Khanna foresees a world in which megacities, supply chains and connective technologies redraw the map away from states and borders.
Why you should listen
Global theorist Parag Khanna travels the world with his eyes open -- seeing patterns emerging from the chaos of today’s complex world. In his new book, Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization, he redraws the way humanity is organized according to lines of infrastructure and connectivity rather than our antiquated political borders.
At TED2016, he presented glowing maps of our hyper-connected global network civilization. Previously, at TEDGlobal 2009, Khanna spoke about "Mapping the future of countries," and at TEDGlobal 2012, he curated and guest-hosted the session "The Upside of Transparency."
Parag Khanna | Speaker | TED.com