Saturday, September 21, 2013

Our Future in Cities

Humanity's future is the future of cities. Explore the crowded favelas, greened-up blocks and futuristic districts that could shape the future of cities -- and take a profane, hilarious side trip to the suburbs.

Stewart Brand: What squatter cities can teach us

Majora Carter: Greening the ghetto

Jaime Lerner: A song of the city

Robert Neuwirth: The hidden world of shadow cities

William McDonough: Cradle to cradle design

Alex Steffen: The shareable future of cities

Paul Romer: Why the world needs charter cities

Kent Larson: Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city

James Howard Kunstler: The ghastly tragedy of the suburbs

A series of nine videos from TED. Clock here to see the whole set or select the ones you want to watch.

Inequality for All

This week marks both the fifth anniversary of the fiscal meltdown that almost tanked the world economy and the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, the movement that sparked heightened public awareness of income inequality. Yet the crisis is worse than ever – in the first three years of the recovery, 95 percent of the economic gains have gone only to the top one percent of Americans. And the share of working people in the U.S. who define themselves as lower class is at its highest level in four decades.
More and more are fighting back. According to Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor: “The core principle is that we want an economy that works for everyone, not just for a small elite. We want equal opportunity, not equality of outcome. We want to make sure that there’s upward mobility again, in our society and in our economy.”
This week, Reich joins Moyers & Company to discuss a new documentary film, Inequality for All, opening next week in theaters across the country. Directed by Jacob Kornbluth, the film aims to be a game-changer in our national discussion of income inequality. Reich, who Time magazine called one of the best cabinet secretaries of the 20th century, stars in this dynamic, witty and entertaining documentary.
A professor at the University of California Berkeley, Reich is the author of thirteen books, including The Work of Nations, which is available in 22 languages; Aftershock and Supercapitalism, which were best sellers; and his latest, Beyond Outrage: What Has Gone Wrong with Our Economy and our Democracy, and How to Fix It. He appears regularly on television and radio – you can hear him on public radio’s Marketplace – and blogs about politics and economics at

American Winter

The idea that certain historic events are cyclical in a central theme in future studies. Nicolai Kondratiev and Strauss & Howe likened this dynamic to the seasons. What generational theorists Strauss & Howe call the Fourth Turning or ‘Crisis’ era is also known as a Kondratiev winter. In other words, a season characterized by decline rather than growth. 

The depression of the 1930s was the last time the country was at this turning. Childhood poverty, one of the most pressing generational problems now in our Crisis/ Kondratiev winter is explored in a recent documentary timely called American Winter.

When in the wealthiest country in the world, between 1/4 and 1/5 of the total child population lives in poverty, it affects a whole generation, even most of the 3/4 who are not poor. Because in this one-strike-and-you’re-out reality everyone but a few financially secure people are just one paycheck, one mortgage payment or one recession away from personal disaster. And if you don’t live in a permanent zen bubble, that knowledge will eat at your nerve endings.

Please watch the trailer below. It will tug at your heartstrings and wet your eyes, but this is more than exaggerated cinematography. It’s actually true for very many families who are falling out of the middle class and into an uncertain future. If you don’t have time to watch the full clip, the dire message here comes about 1:23 minutes in.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Summary of The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change By Al Gore

This a brief summary of the book that was the basis of the talk given by Al Gore on C-Span. You can view the video here. I hope to continue our discussion that began after the group watched the video.

Ours is a time of revolutionary change that has no precedent in recent history. With the same passion he brought to the challenge of climate change, and with his decades of experience on the front lines of global policy, Al Gore surveys our planet’s beclouded horizon and offers a sober, learned, and ultimately hopeful forecast in the visionary tradition of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock and John Naisbitt’s Megatrends. In The Future, Gore identifies six emerging forces that are reshaping our world:

  • Earth Inc.: Ever-increasing economic globalization has led to the emergence of an integrated holistic entity with a new and different relationship to capital, labor, consumer markets, and national governments than in the past.
  • The Global Mind: The worldwide digital communications, Internet, and computer revolutions have led to the emergence of “the Global Mind,” which links the thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines, robots, ubiquitous sensors, and databases.
  • Power in the Balance: The balance of global political, economic, and military power is shifting more profoundly than at any time in the last five hundred years—from a U.S.-centered system to one with multiple emerging centers of power, from nation-states to private actors, and from political systems to markets.
  • Outgrowth: A deeply flawed economic compass is leading us to unsustainable growth in consumption, pollution flows, and depletion of the planet’s strategic resources of topsoil, freshwater, and living species.
  • The Reinvention of Life and Death: Genomic, biotechnology, neuroscience, and life sciences revolutions are radically transforming the fields of medicine, agriculture, and molecular science—and are putting control of evolution in human hands.
  • The Edge: There has been a radical disruption of the relationship between human beings and the earth’s ecosystems, along with the beginning of a revolutionary transformation of energy systems, agriculture, transportation, and construction worldwide.

From his earliest days in public life, Al Gore has been warning us of the promise and peril of emergent truths—no matter how “inconvenient” they may seem to be. As absorbing as it is visionary, The Future is a map of the world to come, from a man who has looked ahead before and been proven all too right.

The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, Al Gore, Random House, 2013, 558pp
Web Site:

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Poet's View of Complexity

A poet's view of complexity:
"Nature gives us shapeless shapes
Clouds and waves and flame
But human expectation
Is that love remains the same
And when it doesn't
We point our fingers
And blame blame blame"
Paul Simon, You're the One

And it's not just love where we look for blame. Almost all human systems are complex systems, and looking for a cause in them is fruitless.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Map of America's Future: Where Growth Will Be Over the Next Decade

The world's biggest and most dynamic economy derives its strength and resilience from its geographic diversity. Economically, at least, America is not a single country. It is a collection of seven nations and three quasi-independent city-states, each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems. These nations compete with one another--the Great Lakes loses factories to the Southeast, and talent flees the brutal winters and high taxes of the city-state New York for gentler climes--but, more important, they develop synergies, albeit unintentionally. Wealth generated in the humid South or icy northern plains benefits the rest of the country; energy flows from the Dakotas and the Third Coast of Texas and Louisiana; and even as people leave the Northeast, the brightest American children continue to migrate to this great education mecca, as well as those of other nations.
The idea isn't a new one--the author Joel Garreau first proposed a North America of "nine nations" 32 years ago--but it's never been more relevant than it is today, as America's semi-autonomous economic states continue to compete, cooperate ... and thrive. Click on the thumbnail of our map to see our predictions for the job, population and GDP growth of these 10 regional blocks over the next decade, and read on below for more context.
Click here for article.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Conscious Capitalism Austin Chapter

Conscious Capitalism Austin Chapter - Soft Launch Event

On Monday, September 9th we will be having our Austin Chapter Soft Launch Event & Happy Hour at an Austin Conscious Business - Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden.

To learn more and sign up for the event you can visit our Facebook Page.

Date: September 9, 2013
Place: Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden, 79 Rainy Street, Austin, TX 78701
Time: 5-7 pm – with Happy hour specials and BYOD (Bring Your Own Dog). Enjoy half-off all pints

The Austin Chapter of Conscious Capitalism exists to cultivate happiness and to inspire Austin's best business leaders to fulfill Conscious Capitalism. Come have a beer and learn about this movement that shapes purpose-based business and creates value for all. Help us generate our chapter's vision and get involved!

For more information on Conscious Capitalism go to You may have also heard about this movement in the book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.

I hope you can join us and please feel free to forward to all those friends and contacts in your professional network that you think would like to learn more about Conscious Business and the Conscious Capitalism Movement in Austin.

Doing the Innovation Mash

Austin Chapter American Creativity Association
What: SALON evening and gourmet meal experience with Gregg Fraley, Creativity Consultant in England and US, and Cordon Bleu Chef Roger Chan 

Topic: “Doing the Innovation Mash”

When: 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday, September 9, 2013

RSVP: by Sunday, September 8th, 2013 to

Where: 1510 Falcon Ledge Drive, Austin, TX 78746

Bring: $10 to throw in the pot for the main course. Additional potluck item optional, and a drink to share. Everyone helps Chef Roger cook shared gourmet meal.

Fraley is a writer, speaker, and consultant in the areas of trends, innovation, and commercial creativity. In 2010, while resident in the UK, he co-founded KILN, a London based firm offering innovation services, and, the trend-based “IdeaKeg” subscription system. IdeaKeg uses trend mash-ups with business challenges to incite breakthrough ideas. KILN sells products and services to clients in Europe and North America. His business novel on creative process, Jack’s Notebook, features on reading lists from the University of California at Berkeley to Cambridge’s Judge Business School. He’s also a noted blogger in the innovation space.

An early career in broadcasting saw him winning an Emmy-award at Warner Cable’s QUBE, where he also earned a cable ACE Award for innovation. After broadcasting Gregg had an entrepreneurial career in the software industry. He was a founder of Advanced Health/Med-E-Systems, and helped design the first wireless prescription system for physicians. Advanced Health went public in 1996. He currently resides in Three Oaks, Michigan, USA.

The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change - An Overview and Group Discussion.

Date: 17 Sep 2013 6:00 PM 
Location: Marie Callendar's Restaurant 9503 Research Blvd. Austin, TX 78759
Welcome back from vacation to the first meeting of the Central Texas Chapter of the World Future Society for the fall season.  
Al Gore recently published a book titled "The Future: Six Drivers of Global Chang".  It is NOT focused on climate change, but on a larger set of future trends and issues that we are facing.  To quote from a review: 
"Ours is a time of revolutionary change that has no precedent in history. With the same passion he brought to the challenge of climate change, and with his decades of experience on the front lines of global policy, Al Gore surveys our planet’s beclouded horizon and offers a sober, learned, and ultimately hopeful forecast"
We originally wanted to do a book review and discussion, but who better to give the book overview than Al Gore himself?  We weren't able to obtain Al Gore for the next meeting, but we did obtain a video of him giving an insightful and entertaining overview of his book.  We will watch the video during dinner, followed by a lively group discussion afterwards.  This should be a fun and relaxing way to start of the new year for our chapter. 
Best regards, 

Central Texas Chapter of the World Future Society

Please be sure to go online to register for The Future: Six Drivers of Global Chang - An Overview and Group Discussion