WorldView 2002: The final afternoon

The event seemed to tail off for me on Monday afternoon, with few sessions that grabbed me. I started in "21st Century Master Capacity Builders" but after 20 minutes of eloquent presentation I still had little idea what the session was actually about. So I headed down to "How is the State of the Future Changing?" which was packed. Jerome C. Glenn and Theodore J. Gordon from the American Council for the United Nations University talked us through their 2002 State of the Future publication which sounded kind of interesting but the presentation was a speedy sequence of bullet-pointed PowerPoint slides that all began to blur.

Finally it was the Closing Plenary: "Creating a New Vision for the World." Lordy, this was dull. OK, Hazel Henderson was interesting, although it wasn't exactly new material. She spoke about how economics is a 19th century, male discipline built around the principle of scarcity, which leads to greed. While disciplines such as sociology, psychology or game theory look at cooperation and sharing as valid behaviour, in economics it is irrational. Economics looks only at the private and public sectors, ignoring the voluntary/sharing sector and nature as a whole. These latter "sectors" introduce costs into the private and public sectors unbalancing the system. She mentioned a couple of companies that are like eBay but based on bartering. These sounded interesting, but I can't find them, apart from a mention here.

The final two speakers had nothing that grabbed me however. Part way through the penultimate speaker the fierce air conditioning (even more chilling than the rest of the hotel) and hunger got the better of me, so I escaped -- eating a cookie while standing in the sun has never been better. I popped back for the last twenty minutes of an overrunning Senator John Vasconcellos who did, as someone said, use every cliché in the book. Painful stuff. A duff, but almost inevitable, end to the conference which thankfully had more good moments than I was expecting. I'll post some more reflections in the next couple of days.

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