Weekend Roundup: Advent of the Third Industrial Revolution


Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine.

The WorldPost strives every day to chronicle the ongoing contest between two competing futures. One future is a world coming together through the convergence of new technologies that promise ecological stability, the empowerment of diversity and opportunity for all. The other is a world falling apart through bitter partisanship, religious warfare and the return of geopolitical blocs.

This week we begin a new series that takes sides. Futurist Jeremy Rifkin lays out a vision of “the Third Industrial Revolution” that, through digital connectivity, clean energy and smart transportation all tied together through the “Internet of Things,” can lead to breakthrough instead of breakdown. In an introduction to the series, Arianna Huffington invites us to join the conversation on climate change, technology and the growing global movement toward solutions that can provide a unifying purpose to all our connectivity.

In a related post, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim explain how carbon pricing can lead to the first generation of investments that will “build a competitive future without the dangerous levels of carbon dioxide emissions that are now driving global warming.” Mohamed El-Erian warns the path ahead won’t be easy. “Western political and economic structures are, in some ways, specifically designed to resist deep and rapid change,” he writes. “When major structural and secular challenges arise, as is the case today, the advanced countries’ institutional architecture acts as a major obstacle to effective action.” Taking a view from the bottom up, World Reporter Charlotte Alfred writes about the solar entrepreneurs emerging from the rural cellphone revolution in Kenya and one innovation that could save countless lives.

Where does China fit in? Tom Doctoroff asks whether China’s capacity for innovation is a promise or a pipe dream. Writing from Shanghai, Jonathan Woetzel and Jeongmin Seong of the McKinsey Global Institute argue that China’s strengths in innovation are formidable. From Beijing, He Yafei looks to “the New Silk Road” as a source of global growth while Wu Sike fears that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership on trade will become “an economic NATO” because China is excluded. Writing during President Xi’s visit this week, David Mepham says Britain should stand up to Beijing on human rights. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan takes us to a remote Tibetan village that has just now been hooked up to the electric grid for the first time.

In an interview, Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk discusses his new novel, “A Strangeness in My Mind,” that, through the personal experience of his characters, explores urban migration as the epic story of our time. Pussy Riot activist Nadya Tolokonnikova spells out her manifesto as a nomad who lives without borders or a defined identity. Michael Skafidas profiles this year’s Nobel laureate for literature, Svetlana Alexievich, and calls her “the voice of modern Russia.”

Writing from Toronto, Stephen Marche notes the decisive generational shift in this week’s Canadian elections. “Voters woke up on Tuesday morning,” he reports, “to find that the most powerful people in their government were all under 45.”

In separate articles, World Reporter Nick Robins-Early and Charles Lister focus on the assault this week by Russian-backed Syrian forces near Aleppo. For the “Forgotten Fact,” Robins-Early reports how Putin’s strikes are assisting Assad in his push toward Syria’s largest city. Lister scores Russian intervention in Syria as further prolonging the civil war. “If we think the refugee flows from Syria into Europe were shocking in 2015, we haven’t seen anything yet. Russian bombing emptied two entire towns in Idlib on 12 October alone, while as many as 70,000 civilians are now fleeing rural Aleppo amid regime advances and Russian bombing.” Raghida Dergham lays out what she sees as Russia’s roadmap for a political solution to end the war in Syria.

Writing from Abu Dhabi, Elizabeth Dickinson describes the growing desperation of the 10 million Syrians living in the diaspora since the war began. Basil Chaballout tells the story of how his whole Syrian family has become refugees.

In a remarkable report entitled “A Thousand Miles In Their Shoes,” WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones takes us step by step on a trek with refugees headed from Turkey to Germany. She also reports on a Syrian man who saved a French journalist in the war zone, but is now not wanted in Europe where he is seeking asylum. Alex Gorlach anticipates that the backlash against the refugee influx in Germany will likely topple Chancellor Angela Merkel.

As tensions continue to mount, Daoud Kuttab writes from Amman that Palestinians now feel terrorized in Jerusalem. From Tel Aviv, Mya Guarnieri tells us what the Israelis really want. Foreign Affairs Reporter Jessica Schulberg examines the causes behind the new round of violence in Jerusalem while Charlotte Alfred highlights the struggle of nonviolent activists to be heard.

The Tunisian-British writer Soumaya Ghannoushi traces the factional wars within Islam to the vacuum of religious authority. “ In order to absorb the great tensions seething deep within Sunni Islam’s guts,” she writes, “ …. it is crucial to redeem the status and function of the traditional scholar not as the sole player in the arena or as the conscience of Sunni Islam, but as an intellectual authority of great moral influence and presence across Muslim society.” A photo essay portrays stories of coping and resilience in Yemen.

Husain Haqqani writes that Pakistan’s intelligence and security services have sacrificed social progress “in their pursuit of military parity with India.”

This week, Dominique Mosbergen finishes her series on LGBT life in Southeast Asia, taking us to Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

Fusion displays 3-D art that illustrates the crisis of affordable housing in New York City. In our Singularity series we talk to scientists who see the future not as humans versus robots, but “humans plus machines.” Finally, we look at some amazing panoramic photos from around the world.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the National Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s editorial coverage. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s Senior World Editor. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is Social Media Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).


CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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