Review By: Rick Docksai, The Futurist - November 1, 2008
The time for politics that only thinks as far as the next election must end soon, warns John L. Petersen, founder of the Arlington Institute, in Vision for 2012: Planning for Extraordinary Change. Petersen links contemporary news events to show that the world is headed for a phase of extraordinary change, "one of those punctuation points in the evolution of our species that will rapidly propel us into an unimaginable new era." The transition can be highly positive, but only if we evolve our thinking and our behaviors to embrace the change.
Petersen cites indicators from news outlets of major change ahead: global warming, gloomy outlooks for social-security programs, strained oil supplies, unstable financial systems, and others. Although most readers have probably heard news of these developments already, Petersen links them together, creating an unsettling vision of what we can expect in the next four years.
And that future is not going to be pretty. Communities across the globe will experience rapid growth of impoverished populations of young people, fierce competition among national governments for depleted oil supplies, disappearance of fish populations and myriad plant and wildlife species, and devastatingly high rates of consumer debt and credit defaults. Additional damage could result if "wild cards" such as global epidemics, terrorist attacks that employ biological or nuclear weapons, or bigger and more frequent hurricanes and tornadoes come to pass.
But human beings around the world can come together in 2012 and pave a new way forward if they are willing to evolve their mind-sets and behaviors: shift from national security to global security, choose interconnectivity and cooperation over isolation and competition, live in harmony with the environment and refrain from exploiting it, affirm the value of local suppliers and thereby soften some of globalization's worst impacts, and commit to individual self-realization so as to minimize adherence to central authority in governments and organizations.
"We will probably become some new kind of human at the end of it all--it is that big and important," Petersen says.
Technology will facilitate this new paradigm's growth. Web-based developments will foster better flow of ideas and worldwide consciousness. Nanoassembly will enable abundant living on smaller quantities of energy and raw materials. Energy from the sun, wind, and other sources will free us from fossil fuels. And biotechnology will offer individuals control of their bodies and genes.
Technology alone will not see us through our difficulties, however. Businesses, governments, schools, and families will have to commit to future-planning work. World leaders will have to learn to equitably share problem-solving technology among developing industrialized nations alike, and regularly consider global life under alternative scenarios. By undertaking these efforts, societies can hope to withstand upheavals and successfully construct a new world.
Petersen speaks of forecasting through the visual language of contemporary news, effectively meshing data and facts with broad statements of values and principles. In the process, he shows readers a healthy and positive approach to today's panoply of troubles. Most of us are accustomed to bad news. Petersen acknowledges that difficulties lie ahead. But he shows how difficulties can become opportunities: By adapting to meet them, we can hope to become a better humanity in a better future world.
Review Mortgage Rates - November 15, 2009
This is a book worth reading because it is concise and in being concise helps the reader maker her or his own position an object of awareness. And once you know where you stand on some of these issues, you know what you're willing to try.