Hidden Forces Podcast

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri speaks with Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, the authors of the book “New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World and How to Make It Work for You.” Jeremy Heimans is the co-founder and CEO of Purpose, an organization specializing in building social movements around the world. He has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business and chaired the World Economic Forum’s global council on civic participation, among other notable accomplishments. Henry Timms, is president and CEO of 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center that creates programs and movements that foster learning and civic engagement. He is also the co-founder of #GivingTuesday, a global philanthropic movement that engages people in close to 100 countries and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for good causes.

The subject of power is something that we have covered tangentially on Hidden Forces. Demetri examined it most explicitly in Episode 28, “Industrial Society and its Future: Machine Intelligence, Encryption, and the Will to Power.” There is no question that the poles of power are shifting, but when have they not been shifting? Power is, to quote Friedrich Nietzsche, “a sea of forces flowing and rushing together, eternally changing.” In this sense, we are seeing the manifestation of these forces as the participatory energy of the crowd. Crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and crowd hiring are all replacing their analog equivalents. Campaigns increasingly rely on the capacity of their supporters to spontaneously organize, act, and then dissolve back into the voluminous crowd. Terrorist organizations rely on crowdsourcing new recruits from inside countries that they cannot otherwise travel to or access. The principles of new power to transform industry can be seen, most clearly perhaps, in the growth of cryptocurrencies and ICO’s.

So, if we accept that the world is changing and that the dynamics of power are changing with it, what then? How is this battle between old and new power determining who governs us, how we work, and even how we think and feel? How can understanding new power dynamics help us reshape the world around us in a positive way? What can the distribution of power in the 21st century tell us about how the future is going to unfold? Is our ability to mobilize the mass of humanity in previously unimaginable ways a net positive development for the aims of egalitarianism and progress?

Listen to the full episode here.