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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.

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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.

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Today's Big Idea: Near Failed Statism

The Big Idea for Monday, November 19, 2012

The Middle East right now is powder keg, and not just because of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel. If you look at the demographics in a country like Egypt, you see a young population with high unemployment. If a solution is not found for that problem, argues Senator John Kerry, the stability of Egypt will grow incredibly fragile. The winds of war are blowing, Kerry says.

So how can the U.S. play a leadership role and quell these conflicts? Kerry, who is on the short list of candidates to lead either the Department of State or Defense, says the U.S. must be united at home -- and pass a budget -- or else lose its leverage with countries like China and Russia on the foreign stage. 


  1. 1 John Kerry: The Winds of War Are Blowing
    Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd Collective Intelligence
  2. 2 Beyond The Failed State: Time To Recognise Somaliland
    Mark Seddon As I Please
  3. 3 U.S.-Israel Relations
    Ronen Bergman

Today's Big Idea: Near Fail...

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