Guns and cars and commonsense (guest post)

Posted in politics by thenextwavefutures on 21 December, 2012

I don’t often do guest posts here, but there are times when watching America from Europe one realises just how strange it is. I had that sensation during the US health care debate when proposals that European Christian Democrats would have considered timid were denounced as ‘socialist’. And I had it again this week when I discovered that this cartoon – drawn in the wake of the Newtown shootings by my colleague Jeff Yang and his son Hudson – was regarded in the US as divisive. I’m not sure if Jeff intended the nod to Tom Paine in the title, but Paine would have known in a heartbeat that the private “right to bear arms” had a meaning only as part of a public responsibility. Jeff explains the history below the fold: click on it to enlarge.



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The New North

Posted in books, climate change, economics, global by thenextwavefutures on 2 December, 2012

The New NorthI’ve just had a review of The New North published in the APF’s quarterly newsletter, Compass. I’m sharing it here.

As the Arctic ice cover shrinks ever smaller, it seems a good time to review Laurence Smith‘s book The New North, which was well-received when it was published in hardback and has just been published in paperback. It tells four stories about the way in which climate change will re-shape the north of the planet (generously defined as the world north of 45*N) in the decades to 2050.

Smith, a geographer at UCLA, describes the book as “a 2050 thought experiment”, and any futurist would have been pleased to have written it. His building blocks are four long-term global trends – demographics, natural resource demand, globalisation, and climate change. Along the way a fifth intrudes, of “enduring legal frameworks”, that he sees as an outcome but I would regard as a further long-term trend driven by value shifts towards increasingly rights-based political frameworks.