I have been writing on attention conservation for the last four years, having first heard of the concept within Bruce Sterling’s Viridian Design Notes. Sterling used this term as a label for an initial few lines of summary on each note, basically negative information regarding the content, permitting those who would not be interested to ‘conserve their attention’. I use the phrase more broadly, in the sense that we are overloaded by media, overloaded by data, and overloaded by a world that is about to change dramatically.
Part of my personal attention conservation this year has been an effort to take the time I used to spend on short, reactive social media – like Twitter – and redirect it into more weighty reading. I just finished the National Defense University’s Convergence: Illicit Networks and National Security in the Age of Globalization, and I strongly recommend this tome for anyone seeking to better understand the nature of conflict between hierarchies and networks.
Chapters (Links to Each):
- 1 Deviant Globalization
- 2 Lawlessness and Disorder: An Emerging Paradigm for the 21st Century
- 3 Can We Estimate the Global Scale and Impact of Illicit Trade?
- 4 The Illicit Supply Chain
- 5 Fixers, Super Fixers, and Shadow Facilitators: How Networks Connect
- 6 The Geography of Badness: Mapping the Hubs of the Illicit Global Economy
- 7 Threat Finance: A Critical Enabler for Illicit Networks
- 8 Money Laundering into Real Estate
- 9 The Criminal State
- 10 How Illicit Networks Impact Sovereignty
- 11 Counterinsurgency, Counternarcotics, and Illicit Economies in Afghanistan: Lessons for State-Building
- 12 Fighting Networks with Networks
- 13 The Department of Defense’s Role in Combating Transnational Organized Crime
- 14 Collaborating to Combat Illicit Networks Through Interagency and International Efforts