Review: A More Secure World–Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change

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5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal Work that Redirected My Life

May 8, 2008

United Nations

Together with C. K. Prahalad’s The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks), this book redirected my life. Although I have been an intelligence and operations professional all my life, and spent the last 20 years kicking doors down all over the world to get secret intelligence communities to focus on the 96% of the information they could get legally, ethically, and generally free or at very low cost, I was lacking a strategic frame of reference.

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This book literally blew my mind into smithereens. Starting with the fact that LtGen Dr. Brent Scowcorft is one of the last adults still standing with his integrity intact, I was moved to the core of my being by the following list, which is in priority order:

01 Poverty
02 Infectious Disease
03 Environmental Degradation
04 Inter-State Conflict
05 Civil War
06 Genocide
07 Other Atrocities
08 Proliferation
09 Terrorism
10 Transnational Crime

I cannot under-state the force with which this list hit me. In combination with Prahalad’s book, which makes the point that capitalism is focused on the billion rich with a one trillion marketplace, while the five billion poor represent a FOUR trillion marketplace, I suddenly realized that the Panel had delivered one side of a strategic matrix for creating a prosperous world at peace.

Despite the existence of other superb books, such as High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them; The Future of Life; and Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Third Edition, no one–no one–had created a list in priority order that calls into question every national security budget on the planet, but especially that of the USA.

These two books led to my decision to sell my for-profit, OSS.Net, and create, with 23 other co-founders, the Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 Public Charity, and to commit myself to being intelligence officer to the poor for the remainder of my life.

I will just list the twelve policies and the eight humanities below, all other information is at EIN, and I do not want to distract from other reviews. This book, this list, is the single most important first step in empowering the collective intelligence of the public to the point that we can eradicate corruption, protect our commonwealths, and achieve a prosperous world at peace.

Twelve policies that must be harmonized at the budget level across all Nations and corporations and foundations, and organizations (this is important because governments are organized as stovepipes–it is lunacy to use up water we don’t have to grow grain we do not need to create ethanal with food instead of sugar cane, bacteria, or algae):

01 Agriculture
02 Diplomacy
03 Economy
04 Education
05 Energy
06 Family
07 Health
08 Immigration
09 Justice
10 Security
11 Society
12 Water

The eight humanities (this is important because nothing the US or EU do unless we create, within seven years, an EarthGame that helps these dominant demographics avoid our mistakes:

01 Brazil
02 China
03 India
04 Indonesia
05 Iran
06 Russia
07 Venezuela
08 Wild Cards (e.g. Congo)

There are so many books relevant to all of the above I must point to my lists, but want to list just a couple of future-oriented books here, the last being the first by EIN (free online, but lovely here at Amazon):

The leadership of civilization building: Administrative and civilization theory, symbolic dialogue, and citizen skills for the 21st century
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

See also  2008 Chapter: Annotated Bibliography on Reality

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Review: Humanizing the Digital Age

Humanizing

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5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate Executive Level Overview

September 18, 2007

United Nations

First off, this book is available for under $20 in hard-cover at the UN Bookstore and other selected online outlets. For some reason the UN does not offer it directly, so a third party makes it possible to order with one click at an added cost that was acceptable to me.

This is a really important and helpful book for those of us that have been thinking about “Information Peacekeeping” (using information to deter and reduce conflict) and “Information Arbitrage” (converting information into intelligence and intelligence into wealth). Nine authors and the editor each contribute extremely well-written, well-structured chapters.

Highlights that I noted for inclusion in my new book, WAR AND PEACE in the Digital Era: Multinational Information Sharing & Decision Support:

ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) has created a new era. Jeff Bezos told the TED conference that we are at the very beginning of innovation in ICT, and I agree. In the Overview of this book we learn:

1) Transnational movements of information and financial capital are a dominant force in the global economy;
2) Worldwide financial exchanges outweigh trade in goods by 60 to 1;
3) ICT services are estimated to be 65% of the total gross national product of the world;
4) Informatics capacity doubles every 18 to 24 while communications capacity doubles every six months (this is one reason the Earth Intelligence Network emphasizes the need for 100 million volunteers to teach the five billion poor “one cell call at a time”);
5) Information that could have been transferred through fiber optics in one month in 1997 can now be transferred in just one second in 2007.

I would add to point five above that I am starting to see massive leaps in processing and machine-speed analysis, to the point that even ugly x-rays can be processed to a point ten times better than previously available to the human eye. This is going to change everything, including security, as a “smart network” helps isolate the anomalous for closer scrutiny.

The chapter on entrepreneurial perspective tells us that education is vital to spawning innovation and entrepreneurial activity, and cited Robert Sternberg (1998) in identifying Analytical Intelligence, Creative Intelligence, and Practical Intelligence as the “three abilities.”

To this I would add the observation that the five billion poor have neither the time nor the luxury of spending 18 years in an archaic educational system that is part child-care and part-prison. See must move quickly to make free education in 183 languages available to anyone with access to a cell phone, and we must redirect ALL of our discarded cell phones and computers, as the book suggests, to the less fortunate.

The sooner we connect the poor, the sooner they can create infinite wealth, and this has the salutary benefit of assuring the rich that their existing wealth is safe from confiscation.

Although I was aware of the World Information Summits, this book provides something I did not have before, a very convenient overview of the efforts by various parties to address the “Governance Deficit” through collaboration. I read the Brahimi Report; I admire what MajGen Patrick Cammaert did with the Joint Military Analysis Centers (JMAC), and believe that the UN System–as well as all Member Nations, are now ready for the next big leap forward, what I call the United Nations Open-Source Decision-Support Information Network (UNODIN).

For those that may not be aware, the UN has asked the Nordic countries to expand on the very successful Peacekeeping Intelligence course developed by Sweden in the aftermath of our peacekeeping intelligence conference there in 2004. At the same time, non-profit organizations are developing inexpensive reference materials to help anyone make the most of open sources of information and open software tools, including TOOZL, which fits on a flash drive.

The book concludes with case studies, among which I found the India case study most compelling. India now provides the bulk of the better call centers, and India-based “Homework Help” costs just $18 an hour. Imagine if we had 100 million volunteers, each fluent in one of 183 languages, and able to take calls from anywhere in the world, and use their Internet access to answer a question or teach “one call at a time.” C.K. Prahalad’s book persuaded me that there is no higher calling in life than to help connect the poor to knowledge. This book is a superb beginning for anyone wishing to join this mission.

Other books I recommend:
Edutopia: Success Stories for Learning in the Digital Age
Promoting Peace with Information: Transparency as a Tool of Security Regimes
Peacekeeping and Public Information: Caught in the Crossfire (Cass Series on Peacekeeping, 5)
Peacekeeping Intelligence: Emerging Concepts for the Future
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)
The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political–Citizen’s Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide, Disease, Toxic Bombs, & Corruption
Information Operations: All Information, All Languages, All the Time

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