GTI Perspectives on Critical Issues (2009-2013)
GTI Perspectives assess pressing near-term policy questions with the long-term goal of a Great Transition as our frame of reference.
In a world at risk, those attuned to the dangers can feel a powerful temptation to sound apocalyptic alarms to awaken the somnolent. Arousing fear, though, without offering a compelling vision of a better path, awakens only dispiriting anguish and despair. This pessimism is not so much wrong as disempowering. The basis for hope rests on two kinds of arguments, one scientific, the other historical. Quantitative simulation of alternative scenarios shows that sufficient environmental capacity and adequate technical means remain to reach a flourishing planetary civilization. Moreover, the precondition for this Great Transition is found in the shared risks and opportunities an interdependent global system now confronts. In our historical moment, the world has become a single community of fate, the foundation for cultural and institutional transformation. Although catastrophic premonitions cannot be logically refuted, they can be defied in spirit and negated in practice: pragmatic hope is the antidote to dystopian despair.
A growing array of alternative ownership designs point to a fundamentally different kind of economy, where basic social architectures—the architectures of ownership—are designed to be life-supporting. This kind of economy may be more likely to create fair and just outcomes, to benefit the many rather than the few, and to enable an enduring human presence on a flourishing earth. Emerging ownership models represent the potential foundation for such an economy. They embody an emerging archetype that has yet to be recognized as a single phenomenon with a single name. This archetype provides an alternative to the dominant ownership archetype of today, which can be called “extractive,” for it aims at extracting maximum amounts of financial wealth. The emerging family of ownership designs can be called “generative,” for their aim is to generate the conditions for our common life to flourish.