1. One Chance in a hundred? – 2. The Power of Utopia – 3. A Challenge for the Imagination – 4. Mutiny on Starship Earth –5. “I will raise the Earth!” – 6. The Modern Archimedes Hypothesis –7. The Lever of Planetary Solidarity – 8. The World Wide Web: a Planetary Platform – 9. Democracy and Networks – 10. Connectivity, Chaos, Complexity and Emergence – 11. The Fulcrum of Planetary Consciousness – 12. Conclusion

1. One Chance in a hundred?

Let’s be optimistic! Let’s bet there’s still one chance in a hundred that the Earth will be habitable at the end of the 21st Century. Think I’m putting you on? Try answering the following questions honestly:

Do you personally believe you will live to see an end to weapons of mass destruction proliferating?
wars dragging on?
armed conflicts erupting?
refugees multiplying?
religions fanaticizing?
nationalists killing?
women being degraded?
famines and epidemics spreading?

Do you sincerely expect an end to poverty increasing?
global unemployment rising?
real wages declining,
poverty increasing?
cities deteriorating?
nuclear power plants melting down?
useless wealth piling up?
corporate crime flourishing?
rich people withdrawing into gated communities?
youth despairing?
drugs spreading?
AIDS spreading?
prisons populations rising?
security-driven governments becoming totalitarian?

Can you honestly predict an end to glaciers melting?
ozone layers shrinking?
the atmosphere heating?
oceans rising?
coastlands flooding?
forests shrinking?
the tundra thawing?
droughts getting longer?
violent storms increasing?
desertification extending?
world hunger expanding?
the struggle for water intensifying?
the air becoming un-breathable?
the ocean going sterile?
the trees, animals and fish disappearing?

I could go on with this litany, but you know as well as I do that under capitalism each of these trends will continue, leading to foreseeable disasters. Now I dare you to imagine all of these catastrophic trends interacting in horrid synergy.

‘One chance in a hundred?’ Call me an optimist!

Now for the sake of argument, let’s assume that there actually is one chance in a hundred for a livable world in 2100. If that one chance exists, shouldn’t we be able at least to imagine it, visualize it like a realistic Sci-Fi movie? Shouldn’t we be able to invent one or more future scenarios -- historically and technically possible scenarios -- in which Spaceship Earth is saved from self-destruction? Let’s put our imaginations to work. Can we imagine a realistic salvation scenario for a planet in the thralls of a powerful social and economic system (capitalism) which seems inexorably to be leading us to predictable catastrophes? If we exclude divine or extra-terrestrial intervention, then we need to imagine the emergence of some kind of positive revolution in human relations, that is to say in global society.

‘But that’s not practical,” you object. “It’s purely Utopian.” So be it. When reality becomes practically impossible, the impossible may become they only practical way out.

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