I have just returned from a business trip in Paris via Eurostar which should have provided me with the opportunity to catch up on a large stack of unread news and articles. However, one of these by my friend the economist Reuven Brenner and entitled 'Unsettled Civilizations' so engrossed me that I did not get much other reading done...
Like many, I consider Reuven to be one of the foremost thinkers in the area of entrepreneurship and its economic benefits. His knowledge and insights are truly remarkable and I only wish that more companies and nations could learn to apply the many lessons that he teaches us.
Although this article starts off on the matter of how the US can deal with Iraq you will find that its scope goes significantly beyond this and as he states early on "today's conflict  can be viewed as one between 'mobile' and 'immobile' civilizations whose members can be found in every society".
Among others, he asks and answers two important questions:
- "Why have so few societies succeeded in developing deep and open capital markets?"
- "How did the West stumble on the maze of institutions that laid the foundations for its 'mobile' civilization?"
One of the comments that struck a particular cord from my own experiences living and building a business in Venezuela some years back is how "institutions are needed to give an increasing number of young people hope and a stake in the future [without which instability ensues]".
Although I know that many will feel uncomfortable with the word 'dreaming', I strongly believe that a 'future vision' [dreams about a richer future] are much needed to motivate an individual or a nation into taking the actions required to achieve this vision. The main issue thus becomes how and what vision to state in the first place and this article offers a good starting point.