Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna
Here we are, world, in the midst of a new Renaissance. What will it be, to flounder or to flourish?
|Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna|
|Category: Politics and Society|
|Reviewer: Stacey Barkley|
|Summary: A well researched effort to take stock of where we are, and how we should proceed for society to progress.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 272||Date: May 2016|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Information Ltd|
The central aim of this discourse is to highlight our current position, and the fact that there is a choice to be made. The authors date 1990 as the dawn of a new, and our present, Renaissance. As with the last, this time warrants in a whole host of risks, but it also offers the opportunity to reap the benefits of the changes occurring across the globe.
The writers draw upon strong comparative skills in order to highlight that the lessons of then are applicable here in the present moment. They consider for instance how the introduction of the printing press overturned the status quo of communication and led to a greater dissemination; it revolutionized the spread of information. In our own time, the Internet and the rise of social media have transformed the ways in which we communicate again. Now, voices everywhere, yours and mine (this very review) are awarded an open platform regardless of our credentials or otherwise to communicate on the topics we choose. What this has resulted in is much greater critical thinking; we must now demand argument and evidence as we engage with such material. The risk is clear, that certain voices or forces of harm will feed off and grow amid this open platform, but we have, whether we realise it or not, developed a system to manage this. What the authors seek to do is draw attention to the possibilities of such systems in how we manage risk and successfully flourish in spite of it.
Fear can blind us, it can make us risk averse. The authors discuss how during the last renaissance knowledge was sought after and moreover these efforts were readily and generously funded. They point to The Medici for example, based in Florence, who pumped money into an array of projects; the rewards were the likes of Donatello, Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Somewhere along the way we have lost this perspective. Funding for research has become conservative, small studies with unsurprising results are now favoured, the cutting edge is too risky. Given how far scientific research has come, now is not the time to stall and withdraw. We must push ahead and flourish lest we stagnate and wait. Doing so requires a change in how we think and how we act, and part 4 sets out clear instructions to these ends.
We have reached a moment in time where states and their affairs have become increasingly entangled. This presents many possibilities but various risks as well. We must work to mitigate these while maintaining progress.
These are not new ideas, these are not new arguments, and this is not revolutionary thinking from those within the academic field; what it represents however is a new approach and a different way of doing things; being more open, taking greater risks, having more courage to embrace the potential of new knowledge and new perspectives. The message is not new, but nor has it yet caught on, and therefore the message is welcome and will be in any future medium until it does.
Well written and well researched, the message is clear: change of any kind comes with risks, but we can manage these while still choosing to flourish. We have become cautious, but perhaps in taking a look back to the last renaissance, we will choose to re-embrace the learning we have lost.
Also recently reviewed, Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World by Adam Grantis further sound thinking on the idea of flourishing and how to encourage genius.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna at Amazon.com.
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