What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Europe Could Learn from Ancient Rome

November 7, 2011, 7:00 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Europe enjoyed a common currency regime 2000 years ago under the Roman Empire. Back then, as today, there was no single common language, rather limited workforce mobility, and quite an active trade network, yet the Roman Empire brought relative internal peace to a wide area. As the European debt crisis unfolds, it seems unlikely that the euro will achieve anything approaching the success or longevity of its distant predecessor, the sestertius.

What's the Big Idea?

Europe’s fundamental sin is actually simple. The peculiarity of the Roman political system was its taste for 'subsidiarity'. The imperial government usually restricted itself to the essentials—military defense and the rule of law—while letting local authorities manage their own affairs. But the E.U. has evolved in a way that undermines the principle thatit is always better for a matter to be handled at a local level than by a centralized authority.


Europe Could Learn from Anc...

Newsletter: Share: