Connecting Across Distances
Efficient communication networks played crucial roles in establishing ancient imperial authority and international trade.
The extent of an empire could be used as an indication of the efficiency of their communication. Ancient empires such as Rome, Persia and China
all utilized writing in information collecting and dispersing, creating enormous postal and dispatch systems.
As early as the fifteenth century, news had been disseminated transnationally in Europe. Today, the effects of our modern global communication systems are a big part of what has been called "globalization."
The First Global Communication Network
In 1837, Samuel Morse invented the telegraph. Given its speed and reliability in delivering information, the telegraph offered opportunities for capital and military expansion.
As shown below, the establishment of cable hardware signified global power order in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
Space-Time Compression Comes to the Fringes
Fundamental to the theory of Fringe In is the idea that on the fringes of civilization, those areas that do not yet have electricity and global communication are
fertile to recieve the advantages of the technological effect of space-time compression.
Karl Marx wrote that "while capital ... must strive to tear down every barrier ... to exchange and conquer the whole earth for its markets, it strives on the other side to annihilate this space with time."
Theorists generally identify two historical periods in which time–space compression occurred: the period from the mid-19th century to the beginnings of the First World War,
and the end of the 20th century. In both of these time periods, according to Jon May and Nigel Thrift,
"there occurred a radical restructuring in the nature and experience of both time and space ...
both periods saw a significant acceleration in the pace of life concomitant with a dissolution or collapse of traditional spatial co-ordinates."
Since the beginning of the World Wide Web in 1993 and the emergence of the Third World countries, intense pressure has developed on the side of the Third World for an end to come to their marginalized communication status: the so-called "digital divide."
Especially when global communications stepped into the information age, the convergence of telecommunication and computing and the ability to move all types of data – pictures, words, sounds – instantaneously via the internet has revolutionized global information exchange.
The benefits of the internet for 'space-time compression' meant that the Third World could now fully participate in the process of globalization.
The Day-to-Day Reality
Reflecting on history and appreciating the massive, long-term effects of great societal changes are an integral step in realizing a path towards
a better future. The next step requires us to surf these megatrends, repurposing their strength to create nothing less
than a new world order. One need only go to cities like Lagos Nigeria or almost any large city in the world to
see the incredible problems that the megatrends have caused. We want to short circuit this.