Dr Parag Khanna Image Credit: Courtesy: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Dubai is a unique experiment in the history of the world, according to leading global strategist and best-selling author Dr Parag Khanna.

Speaking at the second Dubai Knowledge Majlis organised by the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), Dr Khanna offered an insight into his forthcoming book Connectography that will be released worldwide later this month.

Hailing Dubai as the most diverse city in the entire world, he said: “All the great global cities of the world have managed this diversity.”

Speaking about global migration trends, he said, the largest growth in migration happens between emerging markets. “That tells you that people are chasing opportunity. This city has been one of the prime beneficiaries of this.”

Dr Khanna spoke at length about how the world is undergoing a transformational shift, moving beyond simple interdependence into a hyper-connected future of relentless competition among countries, cities, companies and communities, all empowered by technology and capital to pursue their own objectives.

“Every 500 years, the structure of the global system changes,” he said, adding that the world is currently at the beginning of another change, which he called the ‘Network Civilisation’.

“If you add up the length of all the world’s infrastructure, you get about 75 million kilometres. If you add up the length of all the political borders dividing our countries, you get 500,000 kilometres. The ratio is 150 kilometres of connectivity for every one kilometre of division. The gap is growing. We live in a world of total and complete connectivity,” he said.

He noted that the rapidly increasing connectivity has transformed the equation between supply and demand.

“The entire world has been reorganised by infrastructure and supply chains. Instead of a world of nations and borders, we have infrastructure and supply chains connecting cities. That is the map of the world,” he said.

He pointed that there is resilience as supply can always meet demand.

Giving the example of oil, he said that the ability of supply to meet demand and the growing supply of energy on all continents, supported also by the installed capacity of renewable and alternative fuels, has facilitated the structural permanent availability of multiple kinds of energy across all geographies.

Presenting a hopeful vision of the future, Dr Khanna argued that new energy discoveries and innovations have eliminated the need for resource wars. Beneath the chaos of a world that appears to be falling apart is a new foundation of connectivity pulling it together.

Dr Khanna’s Connectography is the first book to focus on ‘Network Civilisation’ as the new foundation of the world order. It strongly features Dubai as the newest on the list of global cities alongside New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. The book says that Dubai has always been at the centre of the world and the crossroads of civilisations, and is wisely using connectivity to seize this destiny.

Dr Khanna is a CNN Global Contributor and Senior Research Fellow in the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is also the managing partner of Hybrid Reality, a geostrategic advisory firm, and co-founder and CEO of Factotum, a boutique content strategy agency.

Dubai Knowledge Majlis is an initiative aimed at providing a platform for senior Dubai government officials to gain insights from leading international thought leaders and experts on vital issues impacting the future of the region.