Throughout history the moniker of “Superpower” has been bestowed upon nations who either through conquest or, as in the case of the United States, economic superiority is deemed to be the most powerful in the world. Needless to say, to date there has not been a “Superpower” capable of holding its moniker, and as such, the seat of power has generally migrated from west to east. Furthermore, there is a school of thought suggesting that unless the current incumbent learns from history, the migration will continue.
Today, information is ubiquitous and the ability for people around the globe to connect continues to grow at exponential rates. Facebook alone reports more than 1 billion global users, and a quick check of internetlivestats.com suggest that over 3 billion people will have access to the Internet by the end of this year. No matter what government structure a country has, that’s a lot of investment, donation and consumerism power that can be brought to bear on any initiative.
Throughout history we have also seen numerous examples of how small groups of passionate collaborators can change the world:
A Monotheistic religion
New democracies, e.g., The United States of America
New religions such as the Mormon Church
In each case above, a small group of purposed collaborators became the catalysts for massive change.
Yeshiva was started with 3 people.
Jesus had 12 collaborators resulting in a community of over 2 billion people following Christianity.
56 collaborators signed the Declaration of Independence resulting in a community of almost 320,000,000 within less than a quarter of a century.
The Mormon Church has gone from 6 collaborators in 1829 to almost 15,000,000 in 2012, mostly by “knocking on doors”, an amazing achievement. Over the past two decades the annual growth rate of LDS membership has been approximately 2.5 percent, which means the church will double in size every 29 years. You do the math.
When they started their quest none of the above had the benefit of a community of almost 3 billion people to connect with and spread the word, but they did have a vision of something better, for which there was an interest driven by a need. Sound familiar?
I do not think it will be too far into the future when we see hundreds of millions of people globally boycott certain businesses on a given day, or protest over environmental and/or humanitarian inequalities by taking a simple action. Because of this, I am driven to think though the possibilities that a small group of charismatic collaborators would be capable of achieving if the rate of global citizen dissent continues. I will leave the danger of the creation of a negative group of collaborators for another discussion.
In his brilliant recent article, “The Pitchforks Are Coming”, Nick Hanauer discusses the danger of the gap between the “haves” and the “have not’s” becoming insurmountable and offers his thoughts on how we must change. He is correct in saying that in the US it is not the 1%, it is the .01%, and globally the statistics are even more dramatic, if possible.
So, I ask the question, will the next “Superpower” be a nation, or will it be a digital convergence of a global populous purposed to effect change?