Brain Power – The Last Frontier

In the history of human development, it has been intensively studied what are the main conditions and factors answering a simple question: why do some countries thrive while others don’t? What are the biggest challenges of developed nations to move forward? This article will unveil the importance that enhancing the society brain power has on our future, and namely the effect of brain fitness in our future.

By now it would be expected that a consensus would exist about the reasons for the success of some when compared with others. But the expectations aren’t always as clear as they seem. Many studies, analysis and books have been written about this subject, while a clear consensus, almost like a roadmap, doesn’t yet exist. But there are a few common conclusions worth noting, and one structural condition that explains the developments all along: the brain power.

If we go back in time, in the XV century it would be rather unlikely that the biggest revolutions and developments in the world over the coming centuries would come from a tiny continent called Europe. At the time, it would be much more likely that this revolution would occur in Asia, namely in China. What has made the difference? Military power in Europe was one of the reasons, more specifically, the adoption of gunpowder and firepower at the service of war. It gave an edge, but it wasn’t the decisive factor. The main influencer was technological development through the development of an educational system (mostly in Northern Europe). The developments in technology which were important for sailing and warfare were also crucial for the development of mercantilism and the creation of a manufacturing economy in parts of the continent.

Later came the industrial revolution, starting in the United Kingdom. It is widely accepted that the UK had specific and unique conditions to be the first one to develop the industry. First it had access to capital, through trade and the domination of the seas. It had natural resources, namely coal, essential in the first phases of the revolution. But it had one very particular advantage which became instrumental: perhaps the best educational system and educational standards in the world at that time. This was a very difficult advantage to copy, it took a long time for others to follow its steps. It was indeed the brain power that created this competitive advantage. That was the condition then and it remains so nowadays.

More recently we can think of other countries which have gone through important revolutions, taking them out of the underdevelopment. Some of them have natural resources, some of them even have access to capital… but all of them have first developed a structured educational system which would support their development. A few examples: Japan, South Korea or Finland. These countries score amongst the highest levels at the international PISA study (which compares the educational knowledge of 15 year olds in many countries). All of them haven’t been part of the first phases of the industrial development, but they have quickly recovered after the WW2, based on the economy of knowledge.

The brain power has been in all cases the disruption factor, the one that has define “who was in, and who was out”. As we look towards the future and towards an even more impressive globalization in the world, the question remains: have the countries and the people really understood that it is within themselves, their brains and their ability to develop their own cognitive capabilities? Some have, some haven’t. The fact remains, that education, but mostly, the increase in the effectiveness of the brain usage of a whole society is what will separate, today and in the future, the ones who are in and the ones who are out. Learning how to develop the brain functions is the next step for those who are in. This is where Brain Training plays a role as a development enabler, on top of quality of life improvement. This is where Brain Fitness becomes the center of our own future.

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