Now a writer, consultant and public speaker who focuses on politics and government, he was formerly a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a senior staffer for the U.S. Congress (Office of Technology Assessment), head of an environmental consulting company, and Director of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources at the National Governors Association. His latest book is Delusional Democracy – Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, an original analysis of the decline of American democracy coupled with a set of practical solutions for fixing it. His previous book wasSprawl Kills – How Blandburbs Steal Your Time, Health and Money, a holistic evaluation of suburban sprawl, sprawl politics, and the housing and community alternatives to sprawl. He is a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention, its National Press Secretary, and writes regularly for many websites, often advocating the nation’s first Article V convention as the more practical route to restoring American democracy than regular elections controlled by the two-party plutocracy. He can be reached through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.
Paul Fernhout has been helping his wife (Cynthia Kurtz) develop Rakontu, a free and open source software communications and sensemaking tool for small purpose-driven communities that focuses on exchanging stories. He has hopes to expand Rakontu eventually into a broader Public Intelligence platform including a semantic desktop, simulations, narrative methods, visualization tools, and structured arguments. He has done some earlier work towards a FOSS social semantic desktop based on a triple store called “The Pointrel System“.
Building on something Albert Einstein said long ago about nuclear energy, he likes to remind people that in his opinion “The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies of abundance in the hands of those thinking in terms of scarcity”.
Paul participated in Doug Engelbart’s 2000 Unfinished Revolution II Colloquium hosted by Stanford University which discussed themes on public collaboration about solving pressing global issues in networked improvement communities, and he made several related email contributions. He believes Public Intelligence could be a way to build on Doug Engelbart’s early innovations to collectively figure out how to use advanced technologies of abundance for the betterment of global society. He calls for the public funding of such tools in an essay entitled “The need for FOSS intelligence tools for sensemaking etc.” and also in an OpenPCAST suggestion to the US government on the same theme. He has written several essays on post-scarcity abundance themes, including speculations on reforming Princeton University and reforming the CIA into post-scarcity institutions. In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, he wrote a parable about collective efforts by individually-weak abundance-minded actors in the presence of strong centralized scarcity-minded organizations, which he feels unfortunately has been all too prescient about the course of that war.
He is currently exploring the idea that there have always been at least five types of interwoven economies (subsistence, gift, exchange, planned, and theft) with the balance between the five economies shifting due to cultural changes and technological changes.
Paul is a graduate of Princeton University (A.B. Psychology ’85, same year as Michelle Obama), studied Ecology and Evolution at SUNY Stony Brook (M.A. Biology ’93), and received a Navy Science Award for a robot he created for a high school science fair back before that was a common thing.
Over the last few years I’ve become interested in physics through a circuitous route. First, like John Baez who started the Azimuth Project, I realized four or five years back that we’re headed to an ugly place on the climate and energy front if we don’t make some changes.
So I wanted to do something. It seemed obvious to me that energy was the real problem. Electric cars are nice but only go so far if we still rely on coal to generate the electricity. I am interested in alternative types of fusion power (like I.E.C. fusion) and the associated problems in theoretical physics, especially nuclear binding energy theory. I am also interested in quantum gravity theory. I hope to contribute in some concrete way in the future. As I continue to learn enough to eventually become expert in physics, I want to work on some more tangible tasks that can help make the world a better place.
Richard Falk is the Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and the Bette and Wylie Aitken Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Chapman University School of Law.
His book, The Great Terror War (2003), considers the American response to September 11, including its relationship to the patriotic duties of American citizens. He published Costs of War in 2008. He is also the author or coauthor of numerous additional books, including Religion and Humane Global Governance; Human Rights Horizons; On Humane Governance: Toward a New Global Politics; Explorations at the Edge of Time; Revolutionaries and Functionaries; The Promise of World Order; Indefensible Weapons; Human Rights and State Sovereignty; A Study of Future Worlds; and, This Endangered Planet. He is coeditor of Crimes of War.
He received his B.S. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; L.L.B. from Yale Law School; and J.S.D. from Harvard University.
My views are influenced by Ron Hubbard of “Scientology” fame, by Silvio Gesell’s “Natural Economic Order”, by Viktor Schauberger, the “Water Wizard” of early 20th century Austria and by “Spaceship Earth” Buckminster Fuller, the gentle giant and prolific discoverer of synergy and tensegrity. I acknowledge a deep debt of gratitude to all of these great thinkers.
It is my belief that mankind must get ready for its transit into a new space age. We are not alone in this universe, but before we can become part of what I call ‘the galactic community of sentient beings’, we must put barbarism behind us and show that we can take care of ourselves and our planet. To start agitating for change, I have identified certain areas that need change. They are described in an article on Health Supreme: “Genova, the Azores and our Common Future”.
The best way to achieve change is of course communication. So, in order to figure out where we should be directing our energies for that coming transition, I have joined a group of Communication Agents working through a number of websites supported by my friend Robin Good.