For Powerful Times book group: enter your reading homework for the first three questions here (and enter the last response on your topic page).Powerful Times book cover

3/2 3/9 3/16 3/23 3/30
Ch 1& 2 (p. 44) Ch 3, 4 & 5 (p. 104) Ch 6. 7 & 8 (p. 180) Ch 9 & 10 (p. 218) Ch 11 & 12 (p 264)
  1. Explain how one idea in the reading relates to other topics already
    covered in class or something you learned elsewhere (another class or
    life experience).
  2. List what you think are the three to five most important points made in the reading.
  3. Write a question to provoke discussion among others who read the same passage.

12 Responses to “Powerful Times


  1. […] with the dynamic tension between the two possible sentiments: Independence ~ Interdependence (as Eamonn Kelly would put it).  Both are present and necessary in these challenging […]


  2. […] with the dynamic tension between the two possible sentiments: Independence ~ Interdependence (as Eamonn Kelly would put it).  Both are present and necessary in these challenging […]

  3. lukeswilson Says:

    1) There are three potential snapshots for the future as outlined by Eamonn Kelly: New American Century, Patchwork Powers, and Emergence. As the current superpower are action will largely shape the future.

    2. a. In the New American Century outcome, Americans will maintain its positions as an economic and geopolitical force. Our actions will set the bar for emerging nations.
    b. In the Patchwork Powers outcome, we find a more egalitarian distribution of world wealth and power. This out come is more egalitarian.
    c. The the Emergence outcome we forgo traditional models of governance for innovative, adaptive solutions to our problems. Like the patchwork Powers outcome, power is more evenly distributed.
    d. Divergent thinking, where one does not consider other options, but rather upholds a stubborn belief in their side is problematic. This human tendency will continue to cause conflict. We must learn to examine every side to an issue.

    3) Which future snapshot do you see as the most probable? What steps could be taken to avoid one outcome or attain another?

  4. lukeswilson Says:

    1) Kelly discusses how innovative, sustainable solutions are a remedy for poor governance. Creative problem solving can fight resources disparities the world over.

    2)a. Present day emerging economies have the option to make shift to sustainability. Their decisions shape our future.
    b. Nation Governments have a track record of irresponsibility when it come to major environmental problems; pollution, climate change. and loss of bio-diversity.
    c. Globalized crime and infectious disease are two increasingly pertinent world crisis.

    3) Can a government properly allocate resources and power to support the betterment of all its people?

  5. rachelam619 Says:

    This week’s reading assignment are chapters on Governance and Innovation; however, I glanced over chapter 8, People and Planet and found many interesting insights, stats and predictions.

    People and Planet
    •“we will reach a collective realization that is more ancient wisdom than modern worldview—that the planet does not belong to us but we belong to it, and it will survive and change no matter what we do, while the opposite may be true”
    •Four trends (’06-’16): “1. Growing imbalance between the number of people living in the developed versus the developing world; 2. A global shift in the direction of human migration; 3. The widespread, worldwide human migration form the countryside to the city; 4. Growing evidence that our relationship with the planet may be reaching a tipping point.” “…approaching a time when the planet will turn to the billion of voracious humans riding on its back and say, ‘enough’”
    •5 tracks to the future: 1. Learning – “requires the ability to change our minds, necessitating an openness and spirit of inquiry that has not always characterized civic, political and scientific dialogue”; 2. Mitigation – a global effort to constrain carbon emissions; 3. Retrofitting – how to continue to occupy parts of the planet, as they come under increasing pressure; 4. Retreating – leaving land that is not saved for human habitation i.e. Inuit in Canada, Alaska and Greenland; and 5. Transcending – imagining and preparing for different approaches to configure human life on this planet.
    Governance
    •Because there is no world order that can take us through these powerful times it is imperative that “global governance” gain attention. The only accepted definition of “global governance” was prepared by Commission on Global Governance for the 15th anniversary of the United Nations and states ”The development of global governance is part of the evolution of human efforts to organize life on the planet”
    •What to expect of “global governance” in the next decade? Based on history a successful approach to a coherence and order is 3-fold: hegemony, balance of power and multilateralism
    Innovation
    •Although emerging countries like China have severe environmental challenges they also have an advantage to innovating environmentally friendly solutions –they have very few legacy systems.
    •Education is imperative to innovation; however, our legacy systems of education have unintentionally stagnated innovation. Countries such as Singapore have reduced their curriculum content by 30% in order to provide students to think, reflect and cross-discipline and self-direct. Results vs. Process and inspection vs. self-assessment

    Education seems to be key, should gov’t put more money towards education than protection of its country? How much are we willing to personally sacrafice to educate on our planet, change in our school systems and governance?

  6. rachelam619 Says:

    Intangible v. physical economies
    Intangible
    •Services: remarkable growth; represents 75% of GDP and 1/3 of global trade
    •Knowledge intensity: the “know how” has been passed on through generations i.e. agriculture and has become increasingly sophisticated. Knowledge has been the driver of economic value while physical has declined i.e. a car know has a “1,000 time the computing power of Apollo 11”
    •Experience: consumers now willing to pay for experiences (not just services) i.e. “tourism is the largest employer” (1:10 workers worldwide).
    •Aesthetics, Beauty and Art: even larger retailers are capitalizing on the consumers need to have beauty in their lives i.e. Wal-Mart and others have achieved financial growth in the sale of flowers, Target sells designer teapots and designer apparel.
    Physical
    •2005 report card for America’s infrastructure received a “D” (poor) grade specifying that the total investment requirement was at $1.6 trillion for the upcoming 5 years
    •An annual Consumption reports that China is beginning to outrank the US in commodities ranging from grain to cars. U.S. leads consumption in Oil, Personal computers and cars.
    •Water problems: the UN creation “International Decade for Action: water for life” whose goal is “cutting in half the number of people who are unable to reach or afford safe drinking water or who have no access to basic sanitation by 2015”
    Prosperity and Decline
    •Changing the shape of prosperity: prediction “large low-income countries to have as much economic clout as the US, Jap and Europe within the next few decades—and for China to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2040.
    •Decline: poor getting poorer, death from AIDS predicted to by 68 million by 2020 with poorer 3rd world countries leading in population. Prosperity decline is closely linked to human population which, perhaps, is also leading to the tensions between people and our planet

    where should businesses put their attention (to be better stewards of cultural sustainability) physical needs i.e. infrastructure, intangible desires of consumers (keep economy rich), global economic challenges, or prosperity gaps?

  7. lukeswilson Says:

    Posting Number 3

    1) Image is vital to business. As the sustainability digits into public consciousness, its is impost for business to establish trust. transparency, and ethicality, gives them image and prestige, and consequently, consumers.

    2) a. Asia is now the leader in broadband users. China alone has 94 million. they are fast become a technology superpower.
    b. China and India’s populations are great than ours.
    c. Todays global economy depends on our physical infrastructure which is in decline. We are beyond caring capacity and large world wealth disparities cause a lack physical infrastructure.
    d. A broadening class gap threatens future prosperity.

    3) is it possible to seamlessly redistribute wealth?

    4) Architecture will shape the application of consumption in years to come. The better the engineering, the more sound our future.

  8. lukeswilson Says:

    Section 2 Post
    1) The world is making a poignant shift to secularism. While the world at large has become less spiritual and religious, the U.S. had undergone the opposite trend in a return to faith and fundamentalism. This is important because of the powerful nature of religion. Although redacted, president Bush Jr. referred to his military conquest in Muslim Afghanistan/Iraq as a “crusade,” and frequently made comments asserting that he was doing his Christian duty over there in the desert. It is believed by scientists that while even if the world population experienced a decline in birth rate, Religion would experience a spike in adherence. More children would be brought up in spiritual practice because all major religions promote natal, committed lifestyles. Religion has, and will continue to shape history.
    2) a. U.S. Military spending is grossly disproportionate to our population: “The U.S.’s military budget is now more than eight times larger than that of its nearest spending rival, China…U.S. military expenditure is now more than double the combined spending of its European allies…Global military spending has now reached just over $905 billion per year, the U.S. accounts for 43% of that total.” (68) We represent a monumental amount of power and our action will have heavy influence that will be felt through out the globe.
    b. Feeling of vulnerabilities foster feelings of fear. Fear is a powerful motivator.
    c. The technological frontiers of bio technology, nanotechnology, biomimicry, and many other fields are brimming with possibility. Were getting places we’ve never been before.
    d. The future poses many moral and biological concerns.

    3) What is the best was to establish production communication between populations of contrasting ideology? How to we escape feud and bridge the gap between fundamentalist and secular, military might, and developing societies?

    4) Again, there is little mention of architecture. Allusions are made to leaps and bounds in science. We are expanding and growing, very fast.

  9. lukeswilson Says:

    1) The human impact is growing exponentially fast. “The fact that there are now about 15 times more humans than were alive in 1500 and that there has been a 50-fold increase in GDP per capita is primarily s function of our remarkable and accelerating technological progress” (6) Considering the rate of our expansion, and U.S. economic and technological prosperity, it is up to us citizens to shape the future in these “Powerful Times. Were are confronted with Dikensonian age of posed paradoxes and conflict. It is the best of times, and the worst of times. “Since 1960 the divorce rate had doubled, the teen suicide rate tripled, violent crime quadrupled, prison population quintupled, and some estimates put the incidents of depression in the year 2000 at 10 times what it was in the year 1900. Americans are less happy today then they were 40 years ago, despite the fact that they make 3.5 times as much money.” (53) Yet many technological innovations continue to lengthen and improve life on a planet sustaining an ever expanding population.

    2) a. Our actions determine the future.
    b. Human’s have sensational powers of intuition an innovation.
    c. In these transformative times it is fundamental that we refrain from viewing conflict as black or white, there are many sides and subtleties to every issue. This “either-or mentality,” is a polarized mindset best avoided.
    d. Clarity eliminates craziness. The more transparent we are in our interactions, the better the relationship symbiosis. Trust will benefit all people.

    3)Do you think the us can right itself from its disproportionately greedy consumption spiral, and be a sustainable, if not regenerative force? How long would it take?

    4)There was not much topic material on architecture as this book is business oriented. Bioengineering and technology breakthroughs are covered in detail, including Japanese GPS tracking systems inside of school children’s’ scarfs, and mass organized satellite surveillance technology. The book also talks about the importance of upcoming shortages.

    –Luke Wilson

  10. rachelam619 Says:

    In review of the section “weakness of secular model” the author points out our discussion in class that substantial economic growth that promotes materialism and increased consumption does not necessarily bring about happiness. Several statistics on depression and suicide of adults form developed countries as with US and Japan are found on page 52.

    Learned from readings: What’s Happening?: Predicting the Present

    Secular and Sacred

    1. societies that dont hold enlightenment principals are generally less wealthy, equitable, democratic and innovative. Statistic in a 20 yr period ’80-’99, 9 leading Arab economies registered 370 patents while So. Korea registered 1,328. Patents are considered to show a societies education qlty., entrepreneurship, rule of law, and innovation.
    2.”the secular perspective starts and ends with the needs o f desires of mankind; everything else-and crucially, all of nature-is too often regarded as a resource pool to be drawn upon, consumed, and manipulated for human purpose”–our struggle to embrace and make reality of sustainability, we are constrained by our unconscious sense of entitlement.

    Power and Vulnerability
    1. military power/sustainability is not just acquired and maintained through spending our gov’t will also need to rely upon four other sources: (1) human and equipment resources (2) positioning (afar and at home) (3) evolution of technology and (4) intelligence (surveillance, infiltration, monitoring and interpretation.
    2. other balances that need to be made for sustainability: Adaption (new cultures), collaborative relationships, ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ power, vulnerability (perception, terrorism, lawlessness, disease and tech)

    Question: should the US spend as much time, money and other resources on sustaining its world image of a super power as is does with contributing to world sustainability efforts for enviroment and or education?

  11. rachelam619 Says:

    I have so far enjoyed the context and style of writing. It starts with the basic premise of a ever changing world as it continues to become more transparent. As most realize and the book states, “our collective choices and actions…will likely define and shape global civilization for the next generation and beyond. And this is why these are POWERFUL TIMES. We have the opportunity to make good choices. The choices of previous generation and our have made decisions that has brought our civilization and environment what it has become. And we have only begun to appreciate that much of our success and prosperity has come at the expense of our environment and continued sustainability. The book will strive to conform a thinking of “either/or” to “both/and” thinking as it relates to extreme perceptions that we are in the “best of times” i.e. prosperity, opportunities, longer life-span new tech and biotech and “worst of times” i.e. hunger, catastrophes, epidemics etc. Transparency at the micro level too has its pros and cons. It is being used to forecast global climate changes but is also used to track our every move and preferences. Again, it can be used for “good” i.e. the book cites Scorecard.org tracks corps. that are known pollutants.
    Although “one-way, top-down surveillance and scrutiny is deeply offensive to most” would you use to catch your questionable nanny, sell your home, use it in a neighborhood watch”? Is it less offensive if it’s used for “good” i.e. catching someone illegally dumping, even if participants don’t know they are being watch?

  12. nickliggett Says:

    1)”the times are more powerful than our brains”..to me that is saying not even the people that created this world today have enough time for themselves, to take a second with them selves and not be so affected by the surrounding society.
    2)The times are more powerful than our brains. Each month brings new drama and fresh ambiguity. We are living in a period of most wonderful transitions, which tend rapidily to acomplish that great points to which all hisotry end.
    3)What can you do to better understand why, what you wanna do is for you and not society?….

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