AQ&A1 DATE: August 6 2017 Topic: The Contest for Competence

Does global talent arrange itself like wealth - with some regions & countries the big winners, others condemned to be backwaters? At this moment there are more people alive on earth than at any time in human history, and they are more mobile. What are the forces shaping where people move to?

What are some consequences of earthly crowding right now? There are more idiots than have ever lived before. There are more geniuses, saints, murderers, heroes, cowards and villains. Somewhere out there at this very moment is a living Leonardo da Vinci, a Gautama Buddha, a Jesus Christ, an Achilles, a Solomon, a Jeanne d'Arc, a Mozart, a Captain James Cook and a Lady Murasaki.

Think of focus questions to apply to shaping the future (this world or the next) with such a dizzy assembly of humans.


A few starter perspectives:

1. "The contest for competence" @

2. "The unexpected power of stupidity" @

3. "Super-culture and the ghost in the machine" @


Focus Questions

1. If it is true that talented people have the greatest international mobility, and that there are more talented people on earth now than ever before, where are these talents concentrating?

2. If there is an unprecedented concentration of talents in certain locales, what are some evident consequences of this concentration?

3. If multinational corporations attract the best of certain kinds of talents, and have no national loyalties, what are some consequences of this concentration of rootless power?

4. If rural areas and small towns worldwide are asset-stripped of their best brains, what are the long term consequences for governance and progress of these unfavoured areas?

5. The concentration of technological research and exchange has led to spectacular results. Is there much evidence that a similar concentration of talent in social sciences has also led to exceptional outcomes?

6. Although there are more talented individuals alive than ever before, this also includes more talented criminals than ever before. Where are these criminals concentrated and what are their favoured fields of operation?

7. When it comes to world population, will the sheer scale of present human activity and human stupidity lead to seriously different outcomes than in earlier versions of history?

8. Geoffrey Chaucer published the Canterbury Tales in 1400 and has properly been recognized as a brilliant talent and the father of English literature. Would a Chaucer writing today feel that he is wasting his time, given the overwhelming amount of talented writing in the marketplace? Is it worthwhile being a genius when geniuses are a penny a dozen?

9. The effects of stupidity tend to concentrate in institutional settings where bad decisions become repeated as a standard. Since there is more stupidity around than ever before, will it eventually ruin our best institutions? What is the evidence for this?

10. If heaven is a metaphor for all that is good, and hell a metaphor for all that is evil, will the balance of good and evil shift given the sheer concentration of humans on Planet Earth? What is the evidence to support your opinion? Or is the good-evil axis a false dichotomy for predicting human futures?


Contest for Competence Discussion Questions ©Thor May 2018
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