Has Connectivity Made Borders Irrelevant?
During a recent Ted Talk, Khanna argues the lines we draw to divide countries — the political borders — actually lost their relevance a long time ago. He suggests that there is a new of studying the world. He calls it “connectography,” which is characterized as the geographical study through the lens of human connections.
“Connectivity, not sovereignty,” Khanna says, “has become the organizing principle of the human species.”
The new approach to analyzing the impact of globalization is addressed in his new book, “Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization.”
He contends that connectivity is all but erasing political and georgaphical boundaries and redefining our world and how we exchange ideas and interact.
“Journalists may highlight the fact that Denmark and Sweden have reintroduced border checks on the Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmo. But what really matters is the fact that Copenhagen and Malmo have become so interconnected that many people commute across the bridge every day. Flows are prevailing over frictions,” writes Adrian Woolridge in his review of Khanna’s book.
In researching his book, Khanna says he examined every single significant cross-border infrastructure project and worked with cartographers to chart a new map of the world.
“It turns out that what most defines the emerging world is not fragmentation of countries but integration within regions. The same world that appears to be falling apart is actually coming together in much more concrete ways than today’s political maps suggest. Major world regions are forging dense infrastructural connectivity and reorienting their relations around supply chains rather than borders. A peaceful world may emerge as a collection of such stable regions and continents,” he reports in an article in Huffington Post.
The map of interconnected infrastructure projects, he suggests, may even help to ease the wounds created by the division of territories in the Middle East.
“Wars and terror won’t correct these mismatches, but more pipelines, water canals, electricity grids and other infrastructures can. The Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates can finance this productive connectivity, while the down-and-out Arab youth joining the so-called Islamic State should be the ones building it. The Arab state is finished, but this is how Arabs can put their own Humpty Dumpty back together again,” argues Khanna.