October 22, 2014

Fukuyama, F., (2011). The origins of political order: From prehuman times to the French Revolution. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Francis Fukuyama examines the paths that different societies have taken to reach their current forms of political order.

Fukuyama, F., (2014). Political order and political decay: From the industrial revolution to the globalization of democracy.
“The second volume of the bestselling landmark work on the history of the modern state Writing in The Wall Street Journal, David Gress called Francis Fukuyama’s Origins of Political Order “magisterial in its learning and admirably immodest in its ambition.” In The New York Times Book Review, Michael Lind described the book as “a major achievement by one of the leading public intellectuals of our time.” And in The Washington Post, Gerard DeGrott exclaimed “this is a book that will be remembered. Bring on volume two.” Volume two is finally here, completing the most important work of political thought in at least a generation. Taking up the essential question of how societies develop strong, impersonal, and accountable political institutions, Fukuyama follows the story from the French Revolution to the so-called Arab Spring and the deep dysfunctions of contemporary American politics. He examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West. A sweeping, masterful account of the struggle to create a well-functioning modern state, Political Order and Political Decay is destined to be a classic”

(52 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhAzH2kuRKE

RSA  Are you past oriented or future oriented?

RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
RSA Shorts – The ABCs of Persuasion

Step 2
a)[Where] Identify “early signs” of the future that is relevant to your pathway of change.
b)What pathways of change in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development relate to the early signs you identified?

11 thoughts on “October 22, 2014

  1. Watching the video, I realized that I am so future oriented. I feel as thought I work so hard to make a better life for us. I feel as thought I would hate to be past oriented. I”m glad we’re all born present hedonists. I would hate for the children of the USA to drop out because they are more present oriented. It’s actually amazing how RSA focuses on the future oriented aspect while the present oriented kids lack the potential of changing.

    I agree that I am busier than I’ve ever been. I feel as though I am one of the Americans who just constantly work way to much. We need to really need to focus family values by having family meals as opposed to working all those shifts.

    The ABCs of Persuasion really provides an incite of how much a person can show what is will happen when you move others. I really believe that we’re all in it together and that when we help each other we’re helping ourselves. Of course, Attunement is important to listen to their point of view will begin to expand our perspective. Buoyancy is important as well because nothing ever in our life is easy and positivity will help us make it through as solutions are never ending. Of course failure is one key to growth and new successes. Clarity, lastly will help us take in information that will help us and search for profitable information. All in all, these qualities are important and will help as RSA points out.


  2. The past/future oriented video: Citation needed. This guy sounds really past-positive oriented. Anytime someone says “rewiring their brains”, grab your BS detector. Everything is rewiring our brains all the time. What exactly is he saying about video games and TV and education? How can it be tested? If it can’t be, quit telling us about how terrible it is.

    Okay, knee-jerk reactions aside, it’s an interesting concept. I’d love to know a more detailed view of how time-oriented different places are. A neat way to think about people too: I’m sure we could align our persona-families on an axis of past to future orientation.
    (I’ll come back to comment on the other videos.)


  3. Fukuyama brings up some good points; feels like “you’ve got to know how to govern”. I mean, if you’re Egypt or Ukraine, you’ve got to get political parties moving, you’ve got to get some actual governing going on, taking out the trash, etc. If you’re the US now, you’ve got to avoid this “vetocracy” that we’ve got where nobody can make any decisions because someone else can veto them. These feel like really complex systems. To draw a parallel to complex computer systems (more or less all I know…) you’ve just got to have really experienced and smart people working on them. No magic shortcuts. But how can we have experts, and also have elected people? I mean, it’s like the Andrew Jackson problem he was saying: you get elected as a populist, but then you don’t know what you’re doing.


  4. I really liked watching the video “RSA Are you Past Oriented or Future Oriented?” Some things that video discusses are how kids are socialized in their schools to become future oriented and how Protestants tend to be future oriented. I thought about this short video in the context of the TED talk by designer Stephan Sagmeister posted by another member of the class (in the Oct 20th section of the course website http://www.ted.com/talks/stefan_sagmeister_the_power_of_time_off?language=en). In that TED video, Sagmeister talks about working for 6 years and the taking a “sabbatical” during a 7th year and how this process improves future work. I wondered what was the role of being past, present, and future oriented when he was working for 6 years and then when he was on sabbatical for 1 year. In what proportions are these perspectives present when he works traditionally and when he works on sabbatical? It was interesting to me that even his sabbatical was heavily planned, suggesting a future oriented approach.


  5. The RSA Are You Past Oriented or Future Oriented was very interesting. Especially considering Tatiana’s point, it is interesting to think about the type of person you are and how this mentality changes as you age. Personally, I find myself trying to be a better future oriented individual as I near graduating from college. However, I do not think I am too happy about this change. It makes one consider what the purpose of living is. Is our role as an individual human being to better humanity as a whole or just focus on our individual happiness.


  6. Since I am interested in what creates effective stable governments, I enjoyed learning about the book The Origins of Political Order. I found the three key pillars interesting, those being Strong and Modern, follows the Rule of Law and Accountability. The question being though, how does a country transition into a place that uses these three key pillars as the foundation of their government? In Paraguay, I saw a failed government, at all levels, due to a lack of accountability. But to reform something of this sort would mean changing habits, mindsets, and a system that people are used to. It would also mean enacting change that affects from the President to the secretary that works for the Youth Office at a small town. Seeing how you can use this key information and apply to it a developing country is challenging, but exciting at the same time.


  7. I really appreciate the first video pointing out how present hedonistic individuals are aware of future consequences; they simply ignore them or feel that it isn’t worth it. I think a lot of the issue in trying to reach present oriented individuals is because we have FO (future oriented) individuals doing the talking. Most of the motivation for an FO individual is focusing on the consequences. So naturally, their advice is to simply parrot those consequences. But a PO individual understands that. It’s not that they don’t know the consequences, they have other priorities. They aren’t scared. And in that way, it connects to the second video about persuasion and needing to understand someone else’s perspective: “What gives you comparative advantage is being able to curate the information you’re given.”


  8. I thought that the Fukuyama book was interesting. On the one hand he’s saying that all successful governments eventually evolve into democracies in order to have accountability, follow the rule of law, and to be a strong, modern society. On the other hand, he says in the US the parties have become more polarized and we have increased the ability to veto and the power of the PACs have increased and that this will eventually lead to a collapse government because of the inability of any branch to accomplish anything (he gives the example of the budget). Does this mean that any government who has recently switched to a democracy is in danger of following a similar fate?

    Zimbardo’s Secret Powers of Time RSA video was very interesting. I eventually watched the full video here: http://www.thersa.org/events/video/archive/philip-zimbardo-the-secret-powers-of-time because I wanted to know more about his theory of time orientation. The RSA video implies you’re all one while the full lecture implies that different aspects of your personality can have different time-orientations. His work on time therapy for PTSD patients was very interesting and I wonder if there are broader implications for less serious mental illnesses or for addiction treatments. He mentions that most addictions stem from hedonistic personalities. But many people with addictions have past trauma cause them to use substances to find an escape. It would be interesting to see if they are more past-oriented or more hedonistic.

    I also wonder how expats feel when they move to a country with a mindset different from their own. Do they simply adjust to the mindset of their newfound home, or are they unhappy until they return to their country or a country/city that more closely matches their time-orientation?

    Zimbardo implies that school should be made more interesting for teenage boys who have re-wired their brains for higher stimulation. This discussion reminded me of the documentary Web Junkie, which focuses on rehabilitation camps for web-addicted youth in China. Although there are some camps for girls, most of the camps are for boys. This makes me wonder if there’s something in our gender socializations that are making boys more susceptible to present-oriented thinking or if there is a physical predisposition.


  9. I really enjoyed RSA’s Are you Past Oriented or Future Oriented. They bring up the point about how propaganda doesn’t work on those who are present oriented, which is a connection I had never really made before. How do we fix this? Does this mean that we should invest in finding other, healthier sources of pleasure for these kids to be interested? And how would we get them invested in it? It seems that most forms of pleasure we can find are associated with negative consequences. Video games is a great example of this. I also agree with how video games are rewiring our brains and unfortunately schools can’t compete with it. However I don’t think it is because of an unwillingness to try. I think it goes back to money. Not all school have the money to invest in technology that would enable them to compete against video games. And when they do, it is incredibly difficult to implement the technology because there is such a strong tradition in teaching without it. For education to catch up to video games there has to be a drastic increase in the amount of technology and the kind in the classroom and because the classroom is so far behind, it has to happen quickly. These technologies would have to be something new and never seen before to really catch a student’s eye.


  10. I really enjoyed watching the third video on the ABCs of persuasion. It’s interesting though that the speaker talks about all of us being in sales whether we like it or not, and initially I was confused and hesitant about it. But the more I thought about it, I realized that in some level – we are all doing this, whether in the classroom, or in projects etc, we are trying to sell our ideas to people. It’s interesting to note though how much of the art of persuasion depends on understanding other’s needs and ways of thinking in order to be successful and it really reminded me of how close sales and design are.


  11. After watching the RSA animation video on whether I am past, present, or future oriented. I have made have made several realizations about myself as an individual. I have come to the realization that I am neither but all. I realize that I dwell on the past temporarily but this is temporary enough to not overall affect my ultimate motivations and goals as these are simply motivated by changes in my attitude or minor mood swings. I find that the present situation can be very confining and limited because of the setting that I am in. Being situated in Oakland I am too comfortable to expose myself to the world around me or too cold to go outside. I find this obsession with how I feel about a current state to be the reason why I am stuck in a frame of mind that does not allow me to move forward or I am overwhelmed by it and cannot change my attitude. However there are days when I think otherwise. There are days when I am taken on a class trip, spend endless hours in the library searching for new truths and meanings and times that I reflect on the future, in class. I have different phases that I shuffle between so this makes me think that I cannot be attribute to one specific time zone or perspective. I am bipolar. I need the past to cope with the present and the future to cope with the present. I need all three time zones to justify any state of mind that I am in. This is perhaps due to the society I live in. I have been exposed to so many different time zones that I have to adapt to each to really understand what is going on with others. This is how I can understand the pain of an afflicted individuals, I make connections to how the past has affected the individual, how present situations are affecting the individual and how they are perhaps crippled from a successful future. I feel that in order to be stuck in a time zone, one must be deprived of the other two time zones. A kid in Darfur, may find memories of the past to be too disturbing that they must erase the memory of it. And the current situation is so limiting and oppressive that they have lost hope for a future and must accept the current state that they live in. But as a free individual I do not feel this extreme and cannot limit myself to any one state. As a designer different time zones are crucial for me to understand others and communicate better.


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