Making Change Happen (1 of 2)

Posted by: eric on July 30, 2009 at 3:37 am

When we look back at great turning points in history, we see that each was driven by a unique confluence of events: a society ripe for change; a new generation ready to drive that change; the emergence of one or a few leaders to articulate the need and set the agenda; and in many cases, technological or economic shifts that made innovative action possible. In various ways, these great changes provide models for the coming Millennial revolution.

The European Enlightenment: The Power of Technology

After centuries in which church authorities dominated government and daily life, Europe was ravaged by religious wars in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Finally, Europeans said, “Enough!” Turning away from superstition and authoritarianism, they launched new modes of thinking that included the birth of modern science, the political ferment that led to the French and American revolutions and eventually the freedom of the world’s colonial peoples, and the rise of democracy.

Although many factors played a role in stimulating the birth of the Enlightenment, scholars agree that it was made possible largely by the invention and spread of the printing press, which made scholarship and information accessible to millions of people for the first time. In the same way, the coming Millennial revolution will be shaped in large part by today’s new technologies—the Internet, instant messaging, text messaging, streaming video, the cell phone, and Wi-Fi— which are bringing new knowledge and power to millions of people who were once voiceless and able to access only the information and ideas provided by corporate media masters.

The Industrial Revolution: Economic Creativity

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Industrial Revolution created a surge of economic productivity, freed millions from back-breaking labor, and ultimately fueled an incredible increase in individual and societal wealth that is still driving unprecedented improvements in living standards around the world. This change in the basic conditions of human life was driven not only by scientific and technological advances (such as the steam engine and iron founding) but also by new economic structures (including mass production, the assembly line, and the emergence of the corporation).

In the same way, new forms of creative capitalism are already being unleashed by Generation We, including the application of modern management techniques to nonprofit socially oriented businesses(social entrepreneurship); the use of social networks to spread, consolidate, and mobilize ideas and information; the organization of work through electronic networks that connect people from many geographic locations; and the growth in self-employment, entrepreneurship, and independent initiative among young workers.

The American Revolution: The Spark of a Powerful Issue

The American colonies had existed for almost two centuries before the movement toward political and economic independence came to fruition. The revolution occurred when the growing American colonies were psychologically and socially ready to embrace an independence movement, and when a particular issue-”taxation without representation”-provided the spark that ignited national outrage and patriotism, and convinced a majority of Americans that political freedom was both necessary and achievable.

In a similar way, the rising discontent felt by millions of Americans today will eventually spark a reaction, in which the vast numbers of Generation We will surely play an important role. The specific cause the Millennials will rally around may be global warming, poverty in the developing world, economic fairness in the United States, peace in the Middle East, censorship and authoritarianism-or some emerging issue we can’t even imagine today. But when the revolution begins, it is likely to have far-ranging consequences that extend well beyond the initial stimulus.

2 Responses to “Making Change Happen (1 of 2)”

  1. Andrew Regnery Says:

    Eric… Great blog. We are living in a historical period in world history where there is an opportunity to make transformational change. As you stated Generation WE can bring about a new hope and unity to the world with (1) the advent of new communication technologies, (2) the new forms of creative capitalism being unleashed by Generation We, and (3) the focus of stewardship-based causes by the Millennials to rally around.

    Another turning point in history was the event of man landing on the moon. Remember the state of our world in July 1969. It was one of civil discord and wars across the world. We lost OUR visionary leaders (i.e., JFK, RFK, and MLK) due to assassination in the 1960’s. The Baby Boomers became divisive and greedy in the American Culture without the leadership of these great men of social justice and inspiration. But there was one day in 1969 that brought mankind together unlike any moment in world history. Here is my story of that historic moment.

    Man Landing on the Moon, July 20, 1969: Uniting and Healing a Divided World

    As a 12 year-old the event of man landing on the moon gave me inspiration and hope that we can achieve unimaginable dreams. I became an aerospace engineer because of that one achievement. Apollo 11 united our precious planet EARTH and gave all mankind hope for a better world.

    In July 1969, I was a 12-year-old living in Huntsville, Alabama. I heard the roar of the Saturn rockets from nearby Marshall Space Center. This was where the Saturn V rockets were ground tested and it was home to Dr. Werner Von Braun and his team

    I watched Walter Cronkite along with a captivated America as astronaut Neil Armstrong took that famous step onto the moon. The experience was inspirational and it motivated me to become an Aerospace Engineer. Eleven years later I began my career working for Rockwell International. My mentors were the men and women who designed and built the Saturn V. It was great to hear their stories of that special era in human space exploration. I pay tribute to the astronauts in the video:

    I believe that we should go back to the moon, but instead of only a United States project it could become a global project where it is a collaboration of multiple countries around the world committing their own money, people, and resources.

    With Generation WE there is an opportunity for making change happen. Let us “Heal the World” and make this planet a better place.

  2. links for 2009-07-30 - Kevin Bondelli’s Youth Vote Blog Says:

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