Introduction and Welcome
I would like to welcome you and tell you something about what hopes David Fromkin, Cutler Cleveland, and I have for this conference. Essentially, we want whatever you want. That is, we would like a group of interested people to continue a conversation that has been going on for some time now concerning how the great transformations that have improved the human condition happen. By the end of this conference, we hope to compile a collection of essays that reflect the ideas in our conversations and dialogues.
Let me also make a few short remarks on the way we have organized this conference. First, we want to focus on issues of global change and large-scale transformations of the human condition, emphasizing ways to design them to have an optimal benefit. Second, we are particularly interested in the kind of systemic changes that affect the very trajectory of human events. Third, we would like to focus on events that trigger large, transformative processes, even if they sometimes appear to be insignificant in themselves. Lastly, we will be paying attention to the large idea of change in the human condition.
To accomplish these goals, we have in mind a kind of visioning exercise that attempts to understand the nature of the great transformations in the past and the future. From vision, we would like to move on to insight and to focus on the question of how major changes, especially in the energy sector, occur. Then we will consider the issue of triggers to such transformations.
We will be looking at transformations that were planned as well as those of a more spontaneous nature. The Green Revolution, which was a planned exercise, is particularly interesting in the way it involved a very high level of international cooperation and coordination. It would be extremely important to look at the history of this revolution and understand the kinds of things that worked and those that failed. Finally, we will turn our attention to contemporary transformations.
Whatever conclusions and generalizations we reach, we hope that we will find ourselves in a place that is more interesting than where we began.
This is a chapter from Making the Great Transformation (Conference).
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