America’s Fragile Networks: Are We Just Spread Too Thin?


I should have written “The Globe’s Fragile Networks” above. Because so many of the interdependent networks that exist in the world run across national boundaries and tie up nations, firms, workers, consumers, and plain old citizens in a system of mutual assured destruction if any part of the ‘system’ fails, to try and think of this as just an American problem is flawed.
Nonetheless, Los Angeles was knocked off the power grid today — by a set of human errors. Are we really tied together in that fragile a net?
I was in and out of touch with the Los Angeles Times‘ op-ed staff trying to nudge an article on the recent Japanese elections forward — and the power outage shut down that exchange as well.
To get a very good, thoughtful read on why we need to correct corporate and government asset deployments and networks that have become too fragile and spread too thin, you must read my colleague Barry Lynn’s new book, End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation. His book deserves more commentary than I can provide now. However, its about the globalized reality we live in — the corporate and government dimensions of globalization and how we are all just “screwed” if we don’t get back to regulating some critically important redundancies in our corporate and social networks.
After watching the breakdowns in New Orleans, Los Angeles must have been “on edge.”
It shouldn’t be this way.
— Steve Clemons