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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.

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.

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Today's Big Idea: Transparency

The Big Idea for Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Western world has followed China's economic rise with bated breath, awed and somewhat frightened by the phenomenon of "managed capitalism" – by how much it's possible to accomplish how quickly, economically speaking, when you don't have to worry too much about human rights, the environment, or those other messy barriers businesses and government officials in democracies must face. 

By extensive policing of the internet and suppression of dissenting voices, China has managed all this at a time when the internet has made life across the globe ever-more transparent. But it's a constant and expensive battle for Beijing, and one that looks increasingly untenable. 


  1. 1 Ai Weiwei: The Price of China's Success
    Ai Weiwei Think Tank
  2. 2 Henry Rollins: The Myth of Online Transparency
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  3. 3 What Happens When Anonymous Gets a Bank?
    Dominic Basulto Endless Innovation

Today's Big Idea: Transparency

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