The Geopolitical Landscape - Post 5
Our keynote address featured David Young, president of Oxford Analytica. David recounted a memory wherein, when he was at Oxford, a British student had asked him “how the American experiment was going.” Mr. Young was reminded of Zhou Enlai’s response to Henry Kissnger when asked what he thought about the French Revolution -- “It’s too soon to tell.”
A recap of David’s remarks:
- There is an adage that states that ‘information is the new oil,’ and it is too soon to tell the impact of this change in paradigms. Technology, and the rise of the information age, have dismantled the old vanguard – the rich and elite – as the gatekeepers of information. Social media, in particular, has “democratized” information and the way that it is disseminated.
- Historically, nations and empires follow a cycle. A nation faces a challenge and provides a response. This cycle continues until a challenge arises for which the nation has no response, and change occurs. The challenge that America – and the world – now need to overcome is one that has not been seen in the modern world. The public debate centers around the questions “What is the truth?” and, more fundamentally, “What is truth?” Democracies stand or fall on truth because the reward for truth is trust. Democracy’s survival relies on how well informed its electorates, its citizens, are.
- Mr. Young remembered the quote on John Locke’s memorial. “I know there is truth opposite to falsehood, that it may be found if people will, and is worth the seeking.” Will the “American experiment” survive? Will technology and social media reveal or obfuscate the truth? How will democracy bear the strain of ill-informed citizens?
… It is too soon to tell.