Monday, November 3, 2014

Assigned reads & viewings.

Klein, N. (2014). This changes everything: Capitalism vs. the climate. (69 minutes)

This Changes Everything: Naomi Klein on #GRITtv  (29 minutes)

“The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.

In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.

In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.

Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.

Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.”

Davos 2015 – What’s Next? A Climate for Action (28 minutes) Through a powerful visual narrative, Nobel Laureate Al Gore reveals what’s next for climate in 2015.

The Age of Stupid (2 minutes).

Crises of Capitalism (11 minutes)

The Contradictions of Capitalism (19 minutes)

Science Of Persuasion

A3 homework

Step 5. Reflect on what you learned about the future.

Prepare a 5 minute presentation of your letter, video, or storyboard from the normative future you developed (future we want). Items you should cover include:

  • Explain the benchmark goals in the world you are exploring.
  • Highlight the future signals you observed in the present.
  • Articulate the pathways of change that link future signals with benchmark goals.
  • What are the intermediate goals and barriers decade by decade?
  • Explain an everyday experience of the normative future (future we want)

11 thoughts on “Monday, November 3, 2014

  1. It’s impressive how Naomi Klein comes up with new ideas about how the mass social movement should spark against capitalism and corporations.
    Klein’s links the not all but most weather disaster as an attribute to climate change, but of course is well inclined to do so because of her tragic stories from hurricanes, typhoons, and droughts. There are many distinct solutions that do align with my own theories. She says she would like to end tracking, nuclear power, genetically modified crops, geoengineering, carbon sequestration, and carbon markets.

    Unfortunately, her solutions never seem to offer a suggestion of a price tag to the improve of the climate crisis. These theories may end up putting a $6.6 trillion per year payment for each program.

    Looking at the RSA Lecture, David Harvey talks of the human frailty which looks into the human nature where events occur with a lack of control. Let nature run it’s course, as the saying goes marks this crisis. The second genre is defined as institutional failures which is best exemplified as mistakes that cause as factors towards a world crisis. For example, if the college building systems lack a lighting system to gauge the amount electricity we use, the college is implementing an institutional failure.

    I’m actually appalled yet not quite so, because we do live in a world where the rich get richer. Unfortunately, i do not have an answer like David Harvey and would like to change the way I think and manifest a better to change our society for the better. It seems it’s easier said than done. To this corporations are gaining more and more power as they redefine their rights and authority over their manifestation of the world.


  2. This is more about the future of IoT, so not directly related to today’s readings but relevant to the class. They also quote Jeremy Rifkin alot in this article.

    Klein’s This Changes Everything video was very thought-provoking. It’s sad that truly innovative ideas for dealing with climate change and leading sustainable lives are still being stymied by big corporations. The story about the Canadian automakers legislation and Japan and the EU’s moves to block this legislation towards renewable energy is so infuriating. How can we make progress when it’s always an us versus them argument? Why have we made agreements with foreign entities that prevent us from making changes at a local level? I think foreign trade is an important part of the economy and could play an important role in our future hopes to manage natural resources more efficiently, but it shouldn’t prevent us from trying experiments at the local level. I’m not sure I buy Klein’s argument that rise of fossil fuel dependence leads to concentration of wealth and that renewable energy leads to dispersion of wealth. I think our views on capital are also a sign of the times in which we live, which includes our use of natural resources but not to the exclusion of other forces.

    Harvey’s Crisis of Capitalism was also intriguing. The idea that every financial crisis is the result of a concentration of or excess of power was very interesting. The excess of labor power led to the energy crisis of the 1970s and the excessive power of capital, specifically finance capital, is what caused the financial crisis of 2008. Does this mean that we’re constantly going from one extreme from the other? How do we maintain a sweet spot somewhere in the middle were all the parties involved can create a system of checks and balances?


  3. I’m sympathetic to Klein’s view that the climate crisis is a chance to rebuild our economic system that’s careening toward catastrophe. Seems like something that comes up in the other videos too; there are inherent cracks in our capitalist economy that focuses on growth and capital. But how can we possibly change any of it? Two friends and I were just lamenting yesterday the problem of elections being only one choice between two people every two years. And even that seems so stagnant. As another example, we can’t even get our population to agree that climate change is happening. How are we going to turn things around fast enough if half our country doesn’t even think it’s a problem?


  4. Regarding the “RSA Animate – Crises of Capitalism” video, I really liked the point raised about homeownership being a big value in the United States, but not so much in other countries, like Switzerland. I wonder how long this value will continue in future generations. Anecdotally, I can already see that many members of my generation and younger generations are becoming more mobile for career reasons, and the increase in mobility and job switching makes owning a house become impractical until one reaches career stability and family building.


  5. Naomi Klein made a lot of good points in her talk; I think the comparison between climate change and slavery policies were interesting. The things she are suggesting make sense, but I think implementation would be very difficult, because it sounds like she is suggesting a complete change of the economic system, and that is difficult to accept for most people. Even if she pointed out that this type of system really only benefits the wealthy, it still feels like too big of a change to undertake. This reminds me of the World Business Council pathway about the shifting human values. I think people’s values haven’t changed or evolved to being climate/environmentally focused; most people might know about climate change and global warming but they might not understand what their part can be or how it’s related to other factors, like the economy. I think the two other videos about capitalism work well with this reading and together they point out various issues that need to be addressed. I liked the crises of capitalism video and how it kind of showed capitalism as this cyclical system whose problems arise out of the way they solve previous problems. Again, I think there’s a lot of emotions and American values associated with capitalism that makes it hard for people to let go of it completely, but I also have to admit I don’t know of an alternative economic/social system that’s worked well. To that end, I think Naomi Klein’s environmental approach is interesting, and changing values will definitely be an important factor.


  6. The science of Persuasion video was comical to watch because it definitely described the way I make a lot of my choices and how I have been told to influence other people’s choices. Authority is one of those. In writing, it is essential to convey your knowledge and that you are an expert in an area in order to get the reader to trust you and act in the way you want them to. Most of these concepts were discussed in psychology classes I have taken. I feel that most of them are applied to ways that you present your ideas rather than in design itself.


  7. This week’s viewing were very much anti-capitalism and failed to offer a system to replace it. David Harvey specifically sounded like the typical Marxist who lives in an intellectual world devoid of real-life practicality. The truth is that there are many people who exist on this earth that are not interested in benefiting others and ensuring that they are equal. How would a society that strives to make everyone equal deal with these people. Education is usually seen as the silver bullet but what about those people who actively seek to destroy the world. I can’t help but think of Batman and the jewel thief who killed people just to throw their precious jewels into the sea. While capitalism is not perfect and the problems demonstrated in the RSA animate clip are very real, I don’t think a marxist society is the answer. Instead, addressing the issue of inherited wealth seems like the most important issue.

    The animation concerning the science of persuasion was amazing. I will definitely remember those six keys points when I start my own venture in the future. It’s amazing to see how small changes in operating procedures can have such a huge impact on persuasion.


  8. I think David Harvey hits the nail on the head early on in his lecture by saying (in more words): would you rather have a society where everyone is taken care of equally, or a society where you must earn your keep, inevitably a society where some benefit vastly more than others. I’m not quite sure what he means by difficulty of keeping compound growth going. However, I did find the stat about 70% of people finding their jobs lame or irrelevant particularly interesting. I’d imagine in a society where everyone is taken care of equally, you’d be more unhappy with your jobs. But somehow, capitalism (in America) makes the distribution of wealth so unbalanced that most people end up at the bottom, and still unhappy. I would agree with his final conclusion that we need to create some sort of major change, but I’m not sure it requires an entirely new system. That sort of conclusion, I feel, neglects to think of the individual. Yes, big picture, the system fails, but I don’t think that’s the fault of the system, rather than how we’ve executed it on a person-to-person basis.


  9. I really found Klein’s ideas to be interesting in that she mentions what is bound to happen in the future in the context of climate change and she talks about what changes she wants to happen, her thoughts opposing capitalism. This is insightful because it provokes me to think about what I would like to change when it comes to the future. She presents an overview but does not get caught on details because she want to spark thought in her audience on what she believes is wrong and just give a general idea of what is going to happen.


  10. The age of stupid was a really interesting video. I’ve always categorized possible futures into trans-formative, linear and inverse exponential but always looked at trans-formative as a positive future that we’d want to get to. This video however sheds light into the opposite. It’s also a very jarring visualization to get a video from the future – it speaks way more than speeches about the future


  11. I found the RSA video on capitalism interesting. While I do agree that capitalism isn’t a perfect system, I think it does provides people incentives to continue excelling. I also don’t agree with the notion that consumers and spenders are what drives the economy. What truly drives growth is wealth. Rich people, or people with savings, don’t just have their money sitting in bank accounts, it’s all in stocks being invested in the companies that provide people jobs. What we need to teach people is to live on less of their income, because it certainly is possible, instead of worrying about whether or not our wages have increased with inflation. Though I do think that wage inequality is a problem in the United States which needs to be addressed.


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