From DSC:
Some potential scenarios of our future.  Are there implications for how we educate today’s students? For our curriculum?




From DSC:
I’m not a political science expert and I won’t pretend to be one…but I did study economics and I don’t see what happened leading up to — and including — Tuesday night as any sort of victory or solid deal for America.  Delaying the tough decisions is not helping us — the time will come when we have to pay the piper.  Eventually, there will be pain. But will that pain start in 2013? I hope so. Because the longer the debt builds, the harder it will be to conquer it and the more pain we’ll need to get through (eventually).  In fact, eventually 100% of our taxes will go towards just paying the interest on the debt if we follow the current trajectories.  Printing more money won’t help the  situation either, as inflation is likely to escalate at that point.

Backing up a bit…here are some resources on what happened on Tuesday night with the Fiscal Cliff in the United States:

  • Obama signs bill warding off fiscal cliff — from CNN by Matt Smith
    Cliff deal hollow victory for American people — from CNN by David Rothkopf (CEO and editor-at-large of the FP Group, publishers of Foreign Policy magazine and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
    (CNN) — The last political drama of 2012 and the first one of 2013 suggest that if you love America, you might want to consider making your New Year’s resolution quitting whatever political party you belong to. The “fiscal cliff” debate and the last-minute deal it produced have so far resolved nothing except to show that our system is profoundly broken and that radical changes are needed to fix it.
  • Fiscal cliff was bound to collapse — from CNN by Gloria Borger
  • After the fiscal cliff: What comes next? — from and the AP
    By delaying painful decisions on spending cuts, the deal assures more confrontation and uncertainty, especially because Congress must reach agreement later this winter to raise the government’s debt limit. Many businesses are likely to remain wary of expanding or hiring in the meantime.

    Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist for the Economic Outlook Group, thinks the lack of finality in the budget fight is slowing an otherwise fundamentally sound economy. “What a shame,” Baumohl said in a research note Wednesday. “Companies are eager to ramp up capital investments and boost hiring. Households are prepared to unleash five years of pent-up demand.”
  • 3 more fiscal cliffs loom — from CNN by Rich Barbieri


From DSC:
The media loves to divide. They hate to unite. Evidently, unity doesn’t pay the bills .

(BTW, to the remaining journalism majors out there — strive to build up and help our country, and try not to feed the flames of division just so that your organizations’ ratings go up.  Watch whose agendas are truly being served and the verbiage you use.  Unfortunately, as a Christian,  I can’t say much for the church, as there are fractions throughout the church as well.)

Getting back to what’s on my mind…delaying the pain is just making the future pain all the worse.  Let’s bite the bullet, compromise, work together, and go through the pain now rather than later.  If we wait too long, our children will be paying the price for our ways.

As educators, it looks like we need to beef up those parts of the curriculum that deal with collaboration and creative compromise!




Calvin College: The January Series
Presentations begin 12:30 p.m. EST (11:30 a.m. CST, 10:30 a.m. MST, 9:30 a.m. PST)
NOTE: Due to contractual restrictions, a few of these presentations will not be recorded or archived.

More details here, but a listing of the speakers/topics include:

Thursday, January 3
Jeremy Courtney – “Restoring Hearts in Iraq”

Friday, January 4
Sheryl WuDunn – “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide”

Monday, January 7
Roberta Green Ahmanson – “Dreams Become Reality: Inspiration through the Arts”

Tuesday, January 8
Jenny Yang – “Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate”

Wednesday, January 9
Richard J. Mouw & Robert Millet – “Evangelicals and Mormons: A Conversation and Dialogue”

Thursday, January 10
Peter Diamandis – “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think”

Friday, January 11
Captain Scotty Smiley – “Hope Unseen”

Monday, January 14
Jeff Van Duzer – “Why Business Matters to God”

Tuesday, January 15
Rebecca Skloot – “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

Wednesday, January 16
Cokie Roberts – “An Insider’s View of Washington DC”

Thursday, January 17
W. Dwight Armstrong – “Feeding the World and the Future of Farming”

Friday, January 18
Garth Pauley – “Rituals of Democracy: Inaugural Addresses in American History”

Monday, January 21
Robert Robinson – “Celebration through Gospel Music” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Tuesday, January 22
Mike Kim – “North Korea-China: A Modern Day Underground Railroad”

Wednesday, January 23
Chap Clark – “Sticky Faith”in partnership with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

To students studying Business, Economics, Religion, Political Science, and Philosophy:


Please consider — and research/define where necessary — the following items occurring in the United States today. 

The fiscal cliff.
The U.S. debt limit.
Federal spending vs. revenue.
Printing money and it’s potential impact on inflation.
Recent election results.
A global economy; global competition.
The place/role of money.
Race against the machine; also see this posting.
Matthew 6:19-34.


Then, please discuss/answer the following questions:

  1. What makes our debt risky? On a national level? On the money and banking level? On a personal level?
  2. What are your thoughts about the following items:
  3. What implications do you see in these items? Will they be impacting you and/or your future?
    • Are there political ramifications for this?
    • Are there spiritual ramifications for this?
  4. Could the U.S. be heading for trouble? If you say yes, what support do you have for this assertion? If you say no, what do you support your argument with?
  5. Do you think we are a divided nation? What support do you have for this perspective?
  6. What characteristics of leadership would you most like to see at this point in time?
  7. After reading Matthew 6:19-34:
    • If you, personally, lost everything you had, what would that do to you emotionally? Physically? Spiritually? That is, if our savings completely dried up, what would life be like for us as a society? What would that do to our hearts?  To our perspectives/worldviews/priorities? How we choose to spend our time? What would it do to our view of God?  To our view of ourselves?


Some other resources to consider:



fiscal cliff



Key findings from Executive Excess 2012: The CEO Hands in Uncle Sam’s Pocket — from the Institute for Policy Studies by Sarah Anderson, Chuck Collins, Scott Klinger, Sam Pizzigati


Executive Excess 2012

Key findings:

  • Of last year’s 100 highest-paid U.S. corporate chief executives, 26 took home more in CEO pay than their companies paid in federal income taxes, up from the 25 we noted in last year’s analysis. Seven firms made the list in both 2011 and 2010.
  • The CEOs of these 26 firms received $20.4 million in average total compensation last year. That’s a 23 percent increase over the average for last year’s list of 2010’s tax dodging executives
  • The four most direct tax subsidies for excessive executive pay cost taxpayers an estimated $14.4 billion per year—$46 for every American man, woman, and child. That amount could also cover the annual cost of hiring 211,732 elementary-school teachers or creating 241,593 clean-energy jobs.


From DSC:
Considering our corporations are sitting on $1.X trillion, where is our nation’s heart? Priorities? Care for fellow mankind? It seems the “every man for himself” philosophy and manner of living is alive and well here in America. My alma mater would be proud — it’s their philosophy exactly.



LinkedIn inDay Speaker Series with Thomas Friedman - October 20, 2011.


That Used To Be Us


From DSC:
I originally saw this at Gerd Leonhard’s where he entitles a blog posting:


Some of my notes on this video — Friedman’s main talk finishes around 35:45 w/ a Q&A beginning at 36:00
(From DSC: I’ve added my own thoughts in red)

  • Non-routine work — is the kind of work that you want to be able to do (there’s also the non-routine, local work — butcher, grocier — but that wasn’t the focus here)
  • Routine work — has been crushed via algorithms, outsourcing, (robotics), etc.

The bar has risen in non-routine work as we’ve moved from connected to hyper-connected world.

We are in the middle of an IT revolution/transformation — cloud, mobile, social, other — where Information Technology changes and globalization are creating global supply changes.  Tom’s key point is that the United States needs to be involved in these changes or we’ll get left in the dust.

In their Help Wanted chapter, the following skills are wanted:

  • Critical reasonsing
  • Problem solving
  • Non-routine work oriented
  • But most of all, you must be able to invent and reinvent your job WHILE you are doing the job
  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • (Pulse-checker and responder; which is why universities and colleges must begin offering classes on futurism/developing scenarios)
  • Unique value creation
  • Be able to bring your EXTRA

Average is over.  Now that we are hyper-connected, “average” is over.  If average is over — you must bring your “extra”.

From DSC:
If “average” is over, are we developing and raising up a generation of students who are learning how to bring their “extra”?  Does standardized testing help us or hurt us in this regard?

3 key attitudes you need if you want to “lean into this world”:

  1. Think like a new immigrant
    No legacy place waiting for me; I better figure out what world I’m living in, and then I better work hard to uncover and pursue the opportunities that current world presents; nothing is owed to me
  2. Think like an artisan
    Unique, hand-made; one-off’s, work in ways that you would be proud to carve your initials into your work
  3. Think like the waitress at Perkins Pancake House in MN
    Where she gave Thomas’ friend extra fruit and she mentioned that to them both; she brought her extra in areas where she had the control to do so

United States may be in relative decline — as we experience the “rise of the rest”; but what the US has to worry about it absolute decline

American exceptionalism — hogwash; no one owes us anything; have to earn our way; formula for success was a great private public partnership going back to Alexander Hamilton and built upon by Lincoln, Eisenhower, other (person asking question used the word ecosystem).  5 main pillars of this formulate for success/ecosystem:

  1. Education
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Open immigration policy
  4. Best rules for capital formation and risk taking
  5. Solid gov’t funded research

We’ve moved away from these 5 puillars of success and we’ve treated our nation like it’s a football that can be dropped w/ no resulting issues; the reality is we’re more like an egg; in another analogy, we can cut and hit arteries quickly…doing actual damage.

We misread environment — at end of cold war we put our feet up, thinking victory was won; the U.S. chased Al Queda instead of China, Brazil, other


  • Q: Influence — how changed and how stay the same
    A: To have influence, must get substance  right — content is key; diamond-hard realities are key; not the spins; still need to do grunt, basic work; can never be a Thor throwing down lightning bolts from on high
  • Q: Labor arbitrage
    A: Rebalancing happening, but may take time; what was outsourced may not stay where originally went to
  • Q & A about Occupy Wall Street — was/is about injustice; taking $ and treating it like they were in a casino; people doing that got away with it; what will leadership look like in a hyperconnected world?

Final thoughts:

  • Idea of OODA loop from the world of Air Force pilots — observe, ___ decide, act  — speed of OODA loops are key; our political leaders are talking about A when X,Y, and Z are really happening (and the two circles rarely intersect)
  • How long can we be a great country when our political systems cannot deliver optimal results?
  • Our political system needs shock therapy — Friedman argues that we need a 3rd party — see

From DSC:
Each of us must be able to continually do pulse checks on a variety of forces that may be affecting our domains/places of work. We must be able to develop future scenarios and our responses to those scenarios. The ability to do that will become even more important as we move forward at ever-increasing speeds. 

We can’t be looking 5-10 feet ahead when we’re driving at 180 miles per hour in this new, hyper-connected world!

The pace has changed significantly and quickly



Big Brother is watching: Document reveals surveillance of social media, blogs, image-sharing sites — from byGraeme McMillan

Click here to find out more!
Jim Urquhart / Reuters

Jim Urquhart / Reuters

From DSC:
As a side comment:

  • What occurs in the legislatures and courtrooms across the world lags — sometimes a great deal — behind what technology can do.  With facial recognition, cyberwarfare, trojans, keyloggers, and other items out there these days, privacy is under attack and I don’t think the courts — and the citizens of the world — are keeping up.  Minority Report comes to mind…which is unsettling to me.


Recording everything: Digital storage as an enabler of authoritarian governments — by John Villasenor, a nonresident senior fellow in Governance Studies and in the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings. He is also professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Within the next few years an important threshold will be crossed: For the first time ever, it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders – every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner. Governments with a history of using all of the tools at their disposal to track and monitor their citizens will undoubtedly make full use of this capability once it becomes available.

The Arab Spring of 2011, which saw regimes toppled by protesters organized via Twitter and Facebook, was heralded in much of the world as signifying a new era in which information technology alters the balance of power in favor of the repressed. However, within the world’s many remaining authoritarian regimes it was undoubtedly viewed very differently. For those governments, the Arab Spring likely underscored the perils of failing to exercise sufficient control of digital communications and highlighted the need to redouble their efforts to increase the monitoring of their citizenry.

Declining storage costs will soon make it practical for authoritarian governments to create permanent digital archives of the data gathered from pervasive surveillance systems. In countries where there is no meaningful public debate on privacy, there is no reason to expect governments not to fully exploit the ability to build databases containing every phone conversation, location data for almost every person and vehicle, and video from every public space in an entire country.

This will greatly expand the ability of repressive regimes to perform surveillance of opponents and to anticipate and react to unrest. In addition, the awareness among the populace of pervasive surveillance will reduce the willingness of people to engage in dissent.

As of 11/20/11 (~2:00pm EST)


As of 8/24/11:


From DSC:
With the increase in globalization — and from what I’ve seen happening in the financial systems (i.e. how what happens in Europe affects the financial systems in the U.S./Asia/other and vice versa) — it seems clear that we are all in this boat together.  If that’s true, what does that mean for:

  • Businesses and economies around the world?
  • The ability of families and individuals to afford the increasing cost of getting a degree?
  • Higher educational systems — and business models — around the world?
  • How do we resolve such massive problems?
  • What does all of this mean for how we should be educating our students?


Addendum on 11/21/11:

  • Debt committee: Why $1.2 trillion isn’t enough — from by Jeanne Sahadi
    That’s because under the most likely scenario, reducing deficits by $1.2 trillion won’t stop the accumulated debt from growing faster than the economy.

    Thus, to stabilize the debt, Congress would need to pass a debt-reduction plan worth $4 trillion to $6 trillion, budget experts say.

A visualization of the United States Debt — from

From DSC:
Though this is the U.S. debt, the ramifications of this affect the entire globe. I believe my cousin, Mr. Stephen Gibson, is correct when he says that we may well be heading towards a “Global Reset.”


Also see:

— as of 8/24/11 around noon


Addendums later on 8/24/11 from Academic Impressions:


First day of sessionMPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Just what are states pledging for higher ed these days?

  • Fidelity® study finds significant shifts over 5-yr period in how families tackle rising college costs
    Fifth Annual College Savings Indicator Study finds parents projected to meet only 16% of college costs, despite improved savings habits
    BOSTON – Fidelity Investments®, a leader in helping families save for college, today announced the results of its fifth annual College Savings Indicator study, which found significant shifts in savings behavior from 2007 to 2011, with more families: 1) starting to save in the preschool years despite financial pressures, 2) seeking guidance and saving for college using a dedicated account, such as a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan, and 3) making shared sacrifices to achieve their college savings goals.

    The study features the College Savings Indicator, a calculation of the percentage of projected college costs the typical American family is on track to cover, based on its current and expected savings. After four consecutive years of decline, the Indicator held steady to the prior year at 16 percent, down from 24 percent in 2007, when Fidelity first launched the study. While overall preparedness has declined, a larger percentage of parents — more than two-thirds (67 percent) — have begun saving for college costs, compared with 58 percent five years ago.

Analysis: In debt row, hints of emerging-economy crises — from Reuters by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa
WASHINGTON | Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:59pm EDT
Debt default. A ratings downgrade. Political deadlock. Such terms, once associated primarily with the developing world, now abound in the mighty United States.


From DSC:
First, a word of caution. Due to the content of some of the stations available herein, I would recommend that only those people who are 18 or older visit this site.

John Hunter on the World Peace Game — TED March 2011 — my thanks to Mr. Joseph and Mrs. Kate Byerwalter for this great presentation


TED Talks -- John Hunter presents the World Peace Game -- March 2011

About this talk
John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4’x5′ plywood board — and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches — spontaneous, and always surprising — go further than classroom lectures can.

About John Hunter
Teacher and musician John Hunter is the inventor of the World Peace Game (and the star of the new doc “World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements”).



From DSC:
Here is an idea for a project-based learning assignment for Business, Economics, & Political Science Students/Faculty:

Your mission, if you decide to accept it, is to investigate and answer the following questions:

  • Can people on Wall Street affect the price of a gallon of gasoline?
  • If so:
    • How? How could they do that?
    • How much could they increase the price of a gallon of gasoline?
    • When do they make their move?
    • Are their any limits to what the folks on Wall Street can do?
    • How much are we paying — not to the companies actually producing and selling the gas — but possibly to those who work on Wall Street? (Who is making the $$?)

Find out. That’s your assignment. Then…

  • Once you determine those things and IF there should be a change in our systems…what are your recommendations for change?
  • Who would be involved in making this change? i.e. How could the average citizen get involved to help make positive changes?


This tape will self-destruct in 30 seconds…

From DSC:
On February 24th, I saw this piece at — > USA Inc.: Mary Meeker’s Deep Dive Into The Federal Budget


“By the standards of any public corporation, USA Inc.’s financials are discouraging,” she writes in an introduction to the report. “True, USA Inc. has many fundamental strengths. On an operating basis (excluding Medicare and Medicaid spending and one-time charges, the federal government’s profit and loss statement is solid, with a 4% median net margin over the last 15 years. But cash flow is deep in the red (by almost $1.3 trillion last year, or ~$11,000 per household) and USA Inc.’s net worth is negative and deteriorating. That net worth figure includes the present value of unfunded entitlement liabilities but not hard-to-value assets such as natural resources, the power to tax or mint currency, or what Treasury calls ‘heritage’ or ’stewardship assets’ like National Parks. Nevertheless, the trends are clear, and critical warning signs are evident in nearly every data point we examine.

She points out that Congressional Budget Office data suggests that by 2025 all of the government’s income will go to entitlement spending and interest payments, leaving nothing for any other expenditures.

From DSC:
The day before, I had seen a video mentioned on TV.  From the mentioned URL, I checked the majority of it out. It made me ask, “Is this for real!!!???”

Most likely it is just a sales pitch. But the underlying concept of the growing national U.S. debt is not a joke — and, if not reversed, could have a serious affect on global economies.

As I don’t know, I’m seeking input/feedback from any and all economists out there! If what he is saying is even remotely true, the financial aftershocks will be felt throughout the world. Below are my reflections/questions on that potentially-very-important topic/perspective.


I’m not sure what I think about a video that I ran across the other day. I’m referring to a video done by Porter Stansbury, founder of Stansberry & Associates Investment Research. I saw the URL posted on a cable TV station, referencing a URL/video at:


End of America 2011 Video

While I’m not big on the latter part of the video/piece where he pitches some potential investing solutions and reports, (and, NOTE: I do not mean to endorse any strategy he may be talking about nor is this posting meant to get into investment strategies or advice!)

I studied Economics at Northwestern years ago and several things this gentleman says in this video seemed within reason/feasible. Also, I have heard a variety of economists (here in the United States) through the years voicing their concerns about the enormity of the growing level of federal debt and the amount of our debt being owned by other countries.

(As an aside, people don’t like to hear bad news and we don’t vote the rare politicians into office who actually stand up and tell us what we really need to do to fix whatever mess we were/are in. I’ve noticed that in the world of higher education, many don’t like to hear news of the disruptions already underway either.)

Spiritually speaking, America has pushed the LORD out of the public square for so long, that it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see our nation continue its steep and rapid decline. Throughout history, nations have come and gone…risen and fallen…why should we be any different?  (Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…Psalm 33:12 — and conversely…)

By way of a quick piece of research I did — this page on their website claims that the total outstanding debt of the U.S. Federal government is $14.131 trillion — which appears to be true:

Watch out!


  • Is this presentation for real? Are the facts and figures accurate?
  • Could these things occur? Are there grounds to his assertions/predictions? 
  • Have these things happened to nations in the past? If so, under what conditions?
  • Would some macroeconomics professor or an international business class review this video and get to the bottom of his arguments and assertions?!?

It’s very real world and students could work to try and pick apart the various arguments/assertions/implications mentioned therein. Prove if this is a scam or not.

Your thoughts on this anyone?

New, network-based currencies -- from futurist Gerd Leonhard --2011
3/11/11 addendum:
Also see Is America a Nation in Decline? — from
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