Review: How to run the world. Parag Khanna

Khanna presents the world as if it is in a new Middle Ages with pockets of power or innovation in the world that are not necessarily in (close) contact or maybe not even aware of each other’s existence. Isolated knowledge that can and is being connected through private and public – private partnerships and private – NGO partnerships. Khanna gives numerous examples from around the world of strong development initiatives, where there is not a central government in sight. Well, did that amaze me really?

No, looking at my field of expertise, cyber crime and spam, the playing field is not so different. LEAs look at private partners to circumvent the most stifling, international cooperation laws (or the lack of those laws). Where governments could be leading, they are not, because of jurisdiction and sovereignty issues that are very difficult to discuss, let alone tackle. Where there are no more borders for cyber criminals, law enforcement is held back at every step of an investigation. This is also what makes the process so fascinating to participate in.

There are multinationals that are more powerful than most countries, states and mega cities that dwarf countries, NGOs with influence at the highest levels of decision-making of multinationals and assisting them to change their ways instead of only protesting. Where different political realities or religions learn to work and trust each other. Often not directly but through intermediary NGOs. He calls these interactions mega-diplomacy and sees this as a prerequisite for a new renaissance. These interactions often come from/to the local, grass root level and not from the global level, where trend breaking leadership is hard to come by as the (economic) interests are very different. What do the people locally need?, is a question he tries to answer for several regions. Also Khanna commends the EU experiment as a very good way forward and an example for other regions.

“How to run the world” shows possible paths towards this new renaissance in which the world develops as a whole, but not necessarily the same, in a sustainable way. What makes it an extra must read, are the thought-provoking ideas and examples that buffer up his ideas, from the people actually in the front rank of mega-diplomacy.

As such the book is not completely worked out, not finished, in the sense that a lot of the examples are very fresh and real results are not measurable yet for a longer period. This however is inconsequential to the merit of the book. It offers the potential for change if minds dare to expand beyond the known and safe, towards a differently driven world, where profit and sustainability go hand in hand. Where different groups of people learn to live together in a respectful manner and all get to profit from natural riches and development. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?

What the book did for me personally is that it showed that the ideas I work from where public – private partnerships in cyber crime and security are correct. Making others realise that this is the way forward, is another matter though. There is still a lot of work ahead. Translate Khanna’s ideas to cyber crime and security cooperation and a world will present itself to you that may change this process for the better. For everyone except the criminals.

Wout de Natris, De Natris Consult

Leiderdorp, 27 March 2011


About Wout de Natris

As a consultant I specialise in establishing new and different relationships between industry, governments and law enforcement where internet safety and the fight against cyber crime are concerned. This makes me a bridge builder. Hence the blogs name. In this blog I intend to stress the need for interaction, cooperation and exchange of information in order to change the mentioned relationships. On offer: a comprehensive training on all non-technical aspects of spam enforcement and a cyber awareness presentation for companies and institutions
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