1. Ruben Nelson

    I am puzzled by your reflections.
    Of course, no one should “fall back on crisis-driven models.”
    But to even suggest that the folks you reference — NASA, Guilding, etc — are doing so is to read them superficially and accuse them of doing something they are not doing. Further, you offer no evidence that they are doing what you accuse them of. Why should we take you seriously?
    You may be interested to know that there is a long (roughly 150 years now) tradition of serious folks wrestling with the dynamics of civilizational crises and transformation. While such reflections have intensified in this century, they were not recently invented.

  2. Stephen McGrail

    Hi Ruben,

    Thanks for your comment – if you’re puzzled that hopefully means the post was somewhat provocative (hopefully, and not simply perplexing) which was the intention.

    I know that the lines of thought and inquiry I discuss in this post have a long history; I certainly didn’t claim (nor do I think) that they were recently invented. But I do think it is fair to say that over the past decade there is more of it e.g. the recent development of a “global megacrisis” discourse.

    I’ve followed Paul Gilding’s work closely for a number of years. He is of the view that no substantive change will happen (to address major sustainability issues) until economic growth ceases and major societal crises ensue. This is a clear example of a crisis-driven change model… if that’s how you think change happens, then it is reasonable to suggest that people holding such views may (perhaps subconsciously) hope for crises that help to ‘prepare the ground’ for the changes they seek. Although this suggestion is not empirical (after all it’s just a blog post sharing an idea which hasn’t been rigorously tested) I find it to be an intriguing possibility.


    P.S. One of the links is to a NASA-funded study – NASA didn’t conduct the study… so, just to clarify, I wasn’t referencing NASA.

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