Sunday Open Thread – August 26, 2007

cat map by hilary price
Cartoon (via StrangeMaps) from Rhymes With Orange

What I’m thinking about, and planning on writing (and podcasting) about soon:

The Paradoxes of Growth and the Causes of Corporate Pathology: There is a series of paradoxes and constraints that leads corporations to act in ways that are pathological and unsustainable. I’ve put together an outline of a major article on these paradoxes and constraints, analyzing why ‘good companies go bad’, how their resultant excesses make our economy fragile and ever-extended, and how responsible, sustainable Natural Enterprises can avoid the pathological missteps and provide the foundation for a healthy replacement — a Natural Economy.

We Are 26%: I read recently (and am trying to find it again) that 26% of North Americans say they would buy products that are socially and environmentally responsible, and locally made, or would do without, rather than buy cheap imported junk, even if this involved considerable extra expense, or some self-sacrifice on their part. More interestingly, the economic demographic of this 26% is apparently U-shaped — it is the poor and the rich who would do so, while the lower-middle to upper-middle classes remain mostly addicted to consumption.

Book Reviews: Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yards, by Sara Stein, and The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman.

Vignettes: Coming up soon, vignette #5.

Blog-Hosted Conversations: Starting September 3rd, once a week, this blog will feature 30-minute conversations, initially on the subject of “What is your model of a better way to live, and what capacities do we need to develop or re-learn to live that way?”

Open Thread Question:

How can we effectively “de-school” the world — replace the dysfunctional education system (and its bums-on-chairs lectures, classrooms, teachers and textbooks) with a voluntary, self-managed learning process based on discovery, apprenticeship, coaching and facilitation out in the realworld?

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4 Responses to Sunday Open Thread – August 26, 2007

  1. Richard Bell says:

    There are a couple of writers who come to mind on how to change the learning process. I was very impressed with Paul Goodman’s writings about education (Growing Up Absurd). He was most visible during the 1960s, but if anything things have gotten worse since then with the learn-to-test pressures of the No Child Left Behind law. Another venerable source was A.S.Neill, who ran the famous alternative school Summerhill ( Learning through living was a theme throughout Ivan Illich’s work (Deschooling Society, etc.). More recently, I have found Alfie Kohn writings to be thought-provoking (No Contest: The case Against Competition, etc.) And then there is Jonathan Kozol, who came blazing into view in 1968 with his harrowing book, Death at An Early Age, and who has written ever since about how to fix the problems with American education. I still remember reading Death at An Early Age for the first time shortly after it came out; what a different country (and different world) we would be living in if our leaders had paid even the slightest attention to what Kozol had to say then, and has continued to write about ever since. (Home schooling is another way that an increasing number of parents have attacked the school problem. If homeschooling were an economically viable choice for every family, I would feel less uneasy about the unavoidable anti-egalitarian bias of homeschooling under today’s political and economic conditions.)

  2. David Allen says:

    You might also ask; how do we replace our dysfunctional healthcare system or how do we replace our dysfunctional political system or how do we replace our dysfunctional (choose word) system? Our dismal education system is merely a symptom of a much larger problem and any attempts to replace it while the larger problem persists is simply a band aid approach. The crux of the larger problem is greed. Greed, of course, is a natural human trait that is a function of survival, in its purest sense. When survival is no longer a factor it becomes a debilitating vice upon the community and is that which entices men to want to live at the expense of their fellow men.What facilitates greed in our present day is money, or more precisely, what we perceive to be money. It has been transformed from a finite unit of value into an infinite unit of everchanging price. Those who issue the money will reap its rewards, while those who must use the money will pay the price.Our founding fathers knew all too well the effects of fiat money and expressly forbade it in the Constitution, but history always repeats. If the world is to be saved, honest money will need to be the first step.

  3. Jon Husband says:

    Looks like cats don’t have sex, at least in or on beds. I guess they do it outdoors ? Lucky cats !!

  4. Pearl says:

    Love the cat comic. 26% sounds interesting. That’s a goodly percent. Or one could de-deadwood the schools? continue the path and present of diversity so people who need structure get it and people who need to learn more holistically can access the more Montessori approach.

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