Fundamentalist and Entrepreneurs

Posted on October 19, 2013

As I haven’t posted here in a long while, I thought I would share my response to a professor’s encouragement to try to describe what is happening today in the world and what may follow. I know at least one person who enjoyed it (

As I am amidst a transformation from national security analyst to conflict analyst I will pay homage to my academic heritage, in that “…political phenomena are highly complex; hence, precise political predictions are impossible without theoretical tools that are superior to those we now possess (Mearsheimer, 2003).” Now, I won’t portend to describe here the superior theoretical tools, but I will offer a synthesis of what has happened and what may be happening in today’s world.

We have and are seeing a dyadic of the fundamentalist and the entrepreneurs. By fundamentalist I am not necessarily referring to religious adherents, although they often take on that form. By entrepreneurs I am not necessarily referring to businesspersons, although business (both licit and illicit) often takes on that form.

Fundamentalist are adherents of the status quo. In this discussion the status quo is the nation state. For fundamentalist the status quo is safe and secure, it is often very lucrative. Preserving the status quo has in fact been translated as a U.S. vital national interest. That is that the preservation of the international order as a guarantee of our economic prosperity and security has been at the core of our national security strategies since the end of the Cold War. Why change a system that has been working for us (at least for those in political and economic power)?

Entrepreneurs are those that initiate new enterprise. In this discussion these entrepreneurs are rebels and revolutionaries. They are rebels when in opposition to the status quo and jeopardize the safe and secure order. They are revolutionaries when they succeed at “creating a new social contract capable of satisfying long-term human needs (Rubenstein, p. 153).”

Do not however be fooled by fundamentalist clothed as revolutionaries. The Muslims Brotherhood in Egypt usurped the revolutionary spirit of Tahrir Square much as the al-Nusra Front is usurping the opposition movement in Syria. Both are fundamentalist who wish to turn back the clock to a status quo that promises them security and prosperity.

The future belongs to the entrepreneurs, the rebels, the revolutionaries. What comes next will have to overcome the status quo. Despite what we don’t like about the present, the status quo is safe and secure. The protectors of the status quo have much to lose. Yet so do the revolutionaries – but they have much more to gain. The American revolutionaries understood this. Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin had much at stake when they chose to rebel against the king.

How do you shape the next organization of society? Do we retain the status quo (the nation state)? Do we go backward to city-states? Do we move forward to international unions? Look out for the rebels, the revolutionaries for they are entrepreneurs who will initiate the new social enterprise.

Mearsheimer, John J. (2003-01-17). The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (Kindle Locations 312-314). Norton. Kindle Edition.

Rubenstein, R.E. (1993). “Analyzing and resolving class conflict.” In Sandole, D. and Merwe, H. Conflict Resolution theory and practice.