Here is an interesting map from William Easterly's site AidWatch. It shows the distance from major cities as a function of geography and time. Most of us are a few hours away from each other.
A few things to consider when looking at a network diagram like this:
- People and things spread fast
- Ideas spread faster
- Feedback loops amplify and intensify certain things
- Individuals can't really opt out of this process easily
All of the above are true for ideas, emotions, things and the human condition in general. The village is shrinking. Increased competition in whatever form you imagine it (resource, economic, innovation, improvements) will accelerate and be amplified in such an environment. Margins shrink as things get more connected. The positive externalities of competition flow to customers.
Warren Buffet pointed out 10 years in 1999 that the automotive and airline industries are great examples of global growth industries with limited investor economic output, but significant customer benefits delivered. Bigger markets aren't always more competitive. Globalization means fewer economic moats.
Bigger and more connected is different.
Full disclosure, the most remote, I have ever been was in 1992 when I was in the sub-Sahara in Ngigmy, Niger brushing up my anthropology field work skills in a village that took 3 days to reach via bush taxi, market car and finally foot. While staying in this remote village, I met an elder who eventually asked the biggest question on his mind of a young white American. In Hausa via a translator. I was asked, "Do you know Michael Jordan?"