March 27, 2007

Virtue Maps

Thomas Barnett has his maps, the Functioning Core and the Non-Integrating Gap. It is a map of connectivity and interchange of rulesets. It shows something real, useful, even vital for understanding our world. One of the things that it does not cover as currently developed is the problem of movement between Gap and Core. Why does one country decide to stay in the Gap and another to move to the Core? Why does a country backslide out of the Core (New or Old) and into the Gap?

There must be some mechanism out there but, up to now, I've not seen it described by any of the Core/Gap community. My stab at the problem is that virtue enhances the tendency towards connectivity. Where it is in advance, the chance that a virtuous tyrant (a Kemal Ataturk, for instance) will arise are enhanced. Where it is in decay, demagogues and rogues populate more and more of the high ground of society and people disconnect in horror at association with them. The entire society withdraws into smaller and smaller islands of connectivity until you get to the ultimate disconnection where only ties of blood are left. In pathological cases like N. Korea, sometimes even that fails.

But how does one measure virtue? How do you make its promotion a reality and not like the sick joke in KSA with its muttaween enforcing dress codes. What virtues promote connectivity? Does stoicism, for example? There's a lot of fertile ground here to extend Core/Gap, drilling down into the mechanism of movement.

Posted by TMLutas at March 27, 2007 07:51 PM