September 9, 2001
The world is growing together in some respects, but coming apart and others. Worldwide economic globalization, one of many signs that a macroshift is taking place, all too often benefits the few rather than the many. Hundreds of millions live at a higher material standard of living, but thousands of millions are pressed into abject poverty. The richest 20% earned ninety times the income of the poorest 20%, consume eleven times as much energy and eat eleven times as much meat.
There have been other macroshifts in human history, but they spanned centuries, allowing cultural values, beliefs, and change to occur gradually. Today, technology has reduced our time to adapt; the entire critical period of change is compressed into the lifetime of a generation.
Laszlo explores the great promise and grave dangers presented by the current macroshift. He outlines two possible scenarios: “The Breakdown,” where we choose to drift without a change in our current direction toward chaos, anarchy, and destruction, or “The Breakthrough,” where we collectively transform our thinking and behavior to produce creative, sustainable solutions to dangerous global problems. He shows what each of us can do – politically, professionally, and privately – to create a sustainable global future.
While technology is what drives the unprecedented speed of this macroshift, it is our vision, values, and actions now that will ultimately determine the outcome. The choice is up to us – the power is in our hands.
Ervin Laszlo is one of the world’s foremost experts on systems theory and general evolution theory. He is Founder and President of the Club of Budapest, Founder and Director of the General Evolution Research Group, Science Director of the International Peace University of Berlin, Administrator of the Interdisciplinary University of Paris, Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, Member of the International Academy of Philosophy of Science, Senator of the International Medici Academy, and Editor of World Futures. He is also the author or co-author of thirty-six books, including The Consciousness Revolution, Third Millennium, The Whispering Pond, and The Systems View of the World.
Founded in 1993, The Club of Budapest is an international association dedicated to developing a new way of thinking and a new ethics that will help tackle the social, political, economic, and ecological challenges of the 21st century.