Review (Guest): Dynamics Among Nations – The Evolution of Legitimacy and Development in Modern States

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Hilton Root

5.0 out of 5.0 Stars Complexity thinking that shifts the paradigms of international relations

By J. P. Massing on December 5, 2013

In ‘Dynamics Among Nations’, Professor Hilton Root convincingly challenges the propositions of the liberal international consensus and re-frames the prevailing conceptualisation of development by introducing complexity thinking to the fields of political economy and international relations.

I highly recommend this intellectually stimulating and excellently written book to decision makers, researchers and students – as well as to anyone who is interested in gaining an advanced and well-informed understanding of the complex realities of development and global policy.

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Apr 14

Review: Still Ours to Lead – America, Rising Powers, and the Tension Between Rivalry and Restraint

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Bruce Jones

4.0 out of 5 stars One Third Provocative, One Third Delusional, One Third Ignorant, March 22, 2014

I was given this book as a gift, by someone who knew I can recite from memory the ten high level threats to humanity (as identified and prioritized by the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change, and reported out in A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which is also available free online as a PDF.

My first impressions were negative. On a second pass I found more to appreciate, but the most compelling impression I was left with is that Obama is Bush and the Brookings Institution has lost its moral and intellectual compass.

One Third Provocative

To the extent that good is to be found in the two-terms of the ObamaBiden Administration, this book serves as a fine guide. I wondered more than once which foreign policy position the author was applying for appointment to. Sadly, what the author offers in the way of positive must be construed by any realist grounded in international reality as a second application of lipstick on the pig, the first being when the neo-conswervatives and Wall Street successfully trotted Obama out as the savior of the two-party tyranny. [I credit the term to Theresa Amato’s Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny — it is not possible to be a serious observer of American idiocy without first understanding that there is no real difference between the extremists of the right and the extremists of the left — they are both toxic.

One Third Delusional

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Mar 22

Review (DVD): THRIVE

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Foster and Kimberly Gamble

5.0 out of 5 stars Free Online and Worth Buying to Support the Endeavor, March 14, 2014

This is a riveting movie with phenomenal visuals. I’d rather it had been an hour long instead of two, but in the spirit of slow food and slow Internet, certainly worth two hours of your time as an inspiration to change how you live for the rest of your life.

The movie is a personal contribution of Foster Gamble of the Proctor & Gamble family, but he grew a soul starting in elementary school and by the time he finished at Princeton, he was on his way to being a full-blown radical thinker with libertarian tendencies.

The first third of the movie is focused on free energy and all the pioneers from Telsa to Trombly to Bedeini to Hutchinson to Mallove who created proven sources of free energy only to suffer raids from the FBI (we do not make this stuff up) and other abuses including in some cases the torching of their labs and murder. I am hugely impressed by this portion of the movie, which includes short interviews, and I strongly recommend the movie for this part alone if you lack patience for what follows.

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Mar 14

Review (Guest): How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World? A Scorecard From 1900 to 2050

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Bjorn Lomberg et al

2.0 out of 5 stars It just gets better and better!, November 15, 2013

By David Wineberg “David Wineberg” (New York, NY USA) – See all my reviews  (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

Milton Berle once appeared for an interview on a morning TV show in New York. After, his interviewer threw to the weather woman. Berle left his seat and took over doing the weather. His analysis? A line of tornados ripped through New Jersey last night, causing $100 million in IMPROVEMENTS. That is the feeling I got with How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World?

Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus got a bunch of academics to look at issues from a common denominator. Everything has to be evaluated as a percentage of GDP. Everything has to be monetized to make the models work. Lives, disease, biodiversity – everything gets a dollar value in these studies. Lack of historical data is not a problem either; the models “backcast” to 1900. The conclusion is that our worrisome problems are an ever shrinking cost to us, relative to GDP.

But of course, prices have never reflected the ecological cost of production or use, so we’ve been freeloading, with GDP expanding while costs have been controlled. The bill will go to our grandchildren. These models don’t reflect that. Instead, the ballooning GDPs of the last century simply leave the cost centers in their wake, taking an ever smaller share.

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Mar 11

Review (Guest): Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving Into Liquid War

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Pepe Escobar

5 out of 5 stars Tour de Force!

By Donald L. Conover

Tour de Force! That’s the only way to describe Pepe Escobar’s remarkable achievement with Globalistan: How the Globalized World Is Dissolving into Liquid War. In page after page, Mr. Escobar demonstrates his remarkable erudition gained in a peripatetic career, spanning the caves of Tora Bora to the slums of Sao Paolo and Mumbai; from the halls of venality to the palaces of the gluttonously wealthy; from conversations with forgotten Pentagon warlords to raps with Brazilian gang lords.

Our Neocon leaders seem to think the rest of the World is frozen in situ, waiting for them to hatch their nefarious schemes. Globalistan shows us the consequences of such a blindered [or should I say "blundered"] attitude.

Producers for the talking heads of “mainstream” media will have to have this book. It is the one volume necessary to make sense of our churning humanity in the 21st Century. A quick scan can provide the background on every crisis from Iran to “Chindia”; from Shiiteistan to the Gazprom Nation; from PetroEurostan to the Bush White House.

Escobar demonstrates why it is true that if we don’t find ways to spread our prosperity around the World, the have-nots will come and take it away from us with guns and bombs and box cutters. All of the walls and fences cannot protect the United States, Europe, and Saudi Arabia from overwhelming illegal immigration. Weapons and fences doom us, like the Texans at the Alamo. Eventually they will be overrun by 3 billion human beings living in abject poverty, but with access to the latest episodes of “24″ and “Sleeper Cell,” unless we help the Mexicans achieve their dreams of Texas in Mexico.

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Feb 9

Review: The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate

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Robert Kaplan

2.0 out of 5 stars Neither new nor original nor reliable, September 1, 2013

I am getting pretty sick of Stratfor and the pimps of empire. There is nothing new in this book other than self-promotion. For better more original reads consider, among many, many others:

Zones of conflict: An atlas of future wars

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Geography and natural resources are a starting point. How the population develops — including the degree to which it is educated, liberated, and empowered to innovate, matter. Deeper books along these lines include:

Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition

Politics Among Nations

In the end it boils down to clarity, diversity, integrity, and sustainability. I am quite tired of pundits recycling old knowledge, a practice made poissible by an ignorant public (including ignorant policy makers and deeply unethical politicians as well as a captive media that is both ignorant and complicit).

Best wishes to all,
Robert Steele
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

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Sep 2

Review (Guest): Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Survival Plan for the Human Species

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Paul Hellyer

5.0 out of 5 stars Beams of Light from a Well-Respected Statesman September 18, 2010

By Gerald MacLennon

Unlike our Asian counterparts, the West often fails to accord our wise elders the honor they deserve – the status they have earned by devoting their lives to love of, and service to humankind. Paul Hellyer of Canada is one such man. Born in 1923, he is very much a hero of the 20th century; yet he continues his vigorous momentum into the new century, preparing youth for the hopes and challenges that lie ahead.

As former Minister of Defense for Canada and cabinet member during both the Pearson and Trudeau administrations, Hellyer is certain that technology currently exists to replace the ecologically-destructive world oil economy. He argues that, while difficult and financially threatening to “big oil,” a gradual transition can, and must be implemented post haste, warning that ten years is just about all the time we have left before the ecological damage to our planet becomes irreversible.

“Failure to disclose a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels,” he writes, “is worse than a crime against humanity. It’s a crime against creation and the Creator.”

His book speaks volumes about crimes against planet Earth. He investigates them from many perspectives, laying out charges against perpetrators, and in his wisdom, offers rehabilitation plans to assure today’s youth that they will inherit a world redeemed from near destruction.

Minister Hellyer reminds his American readers of the long-standing economic dirty tricks, the incessant meddling in the internal affairs of other nations and myriads of injustices carried out by the United States government under the banner of democracy, freedom and, ironically, peace – also that, because of U.S. news media collusion, such outrages rarely reach the eyes and ears of the average Yankee.

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May 4

Review: What Has Nature Ever Done for Us?

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Tony Juniper

5.0 out of 5 stars MUST READ, gift and share — a roadmap for true cost valuation at citizen level, January 12, 2013

I have long been a fan of Herman Daly’s ecological economics and E.O. Wilson’s concept of consilience, a form of holistic analytics, and of course Buckminster Fuller and Russell Ackoff, among other systems thinkers. This book, just published, is quite extraordinary, and in the absence of a Look Inside the Book offering, one of Amazon’s best features, I want to list the chapters here and point to an online resource that provides compelling information supportive of buying this book and then sharing it or gifting it to others.

Chapter 1: The Indispensable Dirt
Chapter 2: Life from Light
Chapter 3: Eco-innovation
Chapter 4: The Pollinators
Chapter 5: Ground Control
Chapter 6: Liquid Assets
Chapter 7: Sunken Billions
Chapter 8: Ocean Planet
Chapter 9: Insurance
Chapter 10: Natural Health Service
Chapter 11: False Economy?

To get right to the web page that does NOT offer the book for free, only provides the supporting references and comments on each reference, search for:

what-has-nature-ever-done-us-sources-and-references

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Jan 12

Review: Designing a World that Works For All: Solutions & Strategies for Meeting the World’s Needs

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Medard Gabel

5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary Sequel, Second Book in Series,October 30, 2012

This is the second book in the series, the first was Designing a World That Works for All: How the Youth of the World are Creating Real-World Solutions for the UN Millenium Development Goals and Beyond. They are different books, not the same book. This book brings in new perspectives and new initiatives from the design labs that occurred after the first book was published.

I have known Medard Gabel for close to a decade, and while disclosing that he is one of the contributors to the non-profit Earth Intelligence Network that I funded when I had money, I consider him, as the co-creator with Buckminster Fuller of the analog World Game, and as the designer of both the digital Earth Dashboard for the UN and the digital EarthGame for all of us, to be in a class of his own. He is unique.

Medard Gabel is modest–the blurbs do not do justice to him or his work or the incredibly talented and imaginative individuals (not just youth, but mid-career professionals) that he attracts to this calling.

I have participated in two of his design labs and recommend them to one an all. Everyone enters with their own issue area (urban planning, energy, whatever) and halfway through they experience the “aha” moment (epiphany for Republicans)–everything is connected and NOTHING can be planned, programmed, budgeted, or executed without integrating everything.

As Russell Ackoff likes to say, what is good for one part of the system might be very bad for all the other parts. Comprehensive architecture and prime design–all threats, all policies, all demographics–are the future.

Other high-level books that I recommend with this one are:

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Oct 30

Review (Guest): State of the World 2012 – Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity

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Lester Brown, Erik Assadourian, Michael Renner et al

4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for both policy makers, negotiators and me as “normal” civilian  August 3, 2012

By H.J. van der Klis

In the 2012 edition of its flagship report, Worldwatch.org celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Rio de Janeiro 1992 Earth Summit with a far-reaching analysis of progress toward building sustainable economies. Written in clear language with easy-to-read charts, State of the World 2012 offers a new perspective on what changes and policies will be necessary to make sustainability a permanent feature of the world’s economies. The Worldwatch Institute has been named one of the top three environmental think tanks in the world by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program.

The first part consists of 15-20 page articles reviewing recent sustainability developments, such as:

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Oct 14