Synthesizing the Gap: Convergent Thinking and Mapping Our World

In my study, Redefining the Gap, I contrasted Tom Barnett’s model of an Old Core – New Core – Gap model with a rival world of an AfroIslamic – Not-AfroIslamic, and found my alternative to be generally better. However, with ZenPundit and Enterprise Resilience Blog talking about horizontal thinking, I decided to apply something similar to my Redefinition of the Gap. The results are here, and discussion is below the fold:

Nation Brutal Nasty Poor Solitary Short IV
OCNCG -0.164 0.469 0.733 0.6441 0.43 0.655
AfroIslam 0.049 0.595 0.337 0.3142 0.63 0.667
SyntheticTPMB -0.089 0.622 0.676 0.5994 0.60 0.781
SyntheticXP -0.092 0.614 0.675 0.6024 0.62 0.784
SyntheticBoth -0.091 0.619 0.677 0.6023 0.61 0.785

Best=Green; Good=Blue; Fair=Yellow; Acceptable=White; Worst=Red

Tom Barnett’s model carefully delineated the Old Core from the New Core, while mine zeroed in on the worst of the Gap. One might draw a simple matrix of the focus of our models, of which mine was slightly better overall in measuring predicting Hobbesian conditions.

I thus created two Synthesis — one a “SynthesisTPMB” which completely adopted Barnett’s list of Old Core and New Core countries, but then separated his “Gap” into the AfroIslamic Gaps and the “Seam” (countries he labeled as Gap but which were neither African nor Islamic). A second Synthesis, “SynthesisXP,” accepted by definition of the Gap as all African or Islamic states, the Seam as all remaining Barnettian Gap states as Seam, and the rest of the world either New Core or Old Core, depending on Barnett’s breakdown.

One can visualize these syntheses as a coming together process:


Comparing these two new syntheses with the original models studied (Barnett’s “OCNCG” model of the Old Core, New Core, and Gap, with my model of an AfroIslamic Gap and an “everybody else” Core), only one of the synthesized models (the one closer to Barnett) was “best” at any of the Hobbesian variables used. It had a positive correlation of .622 with Nastiness, and the synthesis closer to mine was second with .614. But interestingly, both synthesize were better than either Barnett’s Gap model or my Gap model overall. This is because that, while his and mine were better at some specifics, we were also were on other specifics.

Last, I synthesized the syntheses, and created the best solution.


In practical terms, the only difference Between the two earlier syntheses was how to treat South Africa. Barnett defines the Republic as New Core, thus rating a “2” on the 3-0 scale used, 3 being the best. However, I defined the RSA as part of the AfroIslamic Gap, thus rating only a “1.” A reasonable compromise would be to define any state that’s “Core” in one model and “Gap” in the other as part of the Seam, thus cutting the difference and giving Suid-Afrika a score of “2.”

This final synthesis shines bright. In every Hobbesian measure it is 2nd or 3rd most predictive, but overall it is the first, with a correlation of .785.

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