West Wing Wednesday Night #40 – 26 October

Written by  //  October 26, 2011  //  Alexandra T. Greenhill, West Wing (WWWN)  //  No comments

According to the enthusiastic number of you who have this date firmly in your calendar, this month’s session should be stellar, provided of course the Gods of Work, Travel or Malady do not intervene…

Every year the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda survey asks the “world’s smartest people” what they see as important trends coming up. Thanks to a link sent by Diana Nicholson, here is a more streamlined perspective on our future woes. Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, a professor at University of Montreal, has done a neat analysis of current events to define “The Five Macro Crises of Our Times” – “intractable worldwide crises that we are facing simultaneously and that it will take years to solve or to outlive: “financial crisis that it will take at least twenty years to jugulate, an energy crisis that’s looming on the not too far horizon and which threatens the very foundation of the economic prosperity of the last half century, a double-barrelled demographic crisis of a magnitude never encountered during the entire history of humankind, a political crisis that is related to the ingrained inability of governments most everywhere to solve society’s problems, and, as a general background, a moral crisis that corrupts most institutions and makes them ineffective in promoting the common good.”

All of this being so overwhelming, we have collectively tuned out and selected to go about our daily business… A recent study of kids opinions as expressed in the art that they produce shows kids are now pessimistic as early as eight years old! But reading some of these master-pieces, one is struck by the realisation that we don’t hear much about five macro opportunities for the 21st century. Doing some research on what they may be, revealed that Steve Jobs might have had an answer and many are busy deciphering his speeches for nuggets of insight, but otherwise we are stuck focusing on being alarmist (see above) or advocating on preserving the status quo (see Jim Flaherty’s recent advice on the economy ) which historically has proven to be a short-term strategy at best. Meanwhile Google search for “future optimistic trends” yields four times as many search results than “future pessimistic trends” – showing that positive perspectives abound, just where are they in our public discourse?

So here is a question for you, Vancouver’s smartest people: what major world re-defining opportunities do you see? A few places to get your creative juices started:

Computer gamers solve problem in AIDS research that puzzled scientists for years

Beyond Einstein http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/tag/einstein/

Will robots steal our jobs? and a funny despair slide www.despair.com/motivation.html

And of course we’ll save some time for current events, including municipal elections, the rise of the NPD, a cabinet full of rookie ministers in Alberta, does Gorbatchev’s endorsement of Obama help or hinder… never a dull moment in the world!

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