Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth

Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller
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One of Fuller’s most popular works, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, is a brilliant synthesis of his world view. In this very accessible volume, Fuller investigates the great challenges facing humanity. How will humanity survive? How does automation influence individualization? How can we utilize our resources more effectively to realize our potential to end poverty in this generation? He questions the concept of specialization, calls for a design revolution of innovation, and offers advice on how to guide “spaceship earth” toward a sustainable future. 

Description by Lars Muller Publishers, courtesy of The Estate of Buckminster Fuller

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About the author

Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983) was an architect, engineer, geometrician, cartographer, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome, and one of the most brilliant thinkers of his time. Fuller was renowned for his comprehensive perspective on the world's problems. For more than five decades, he developed pioneering solutions reflecting his commitment to the potential of innovative design to create technology that does "more with less" and thereby improve human lives. The author of nearly 30 books, he spent much of his life traveling the world lecturing and discussing his ideas with thousands of audiences. In 1983, shortly before his death, he received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, with a citation acknowledging that his "contributions as a geometrician, educator, and architect-designer are benchmarks of accomplishment in their fields." After Fuller's death, a team of chemists won the Nobel Prize for discovering a new carbon molecule with a structure similar to that of a geodesic dome, they named the molecule "buckminsterfullerene"—now commonly referred to in the scientific community as the buckyball.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller
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Published on
Jul 15, 2008
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Pages
152
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / Sustainability & Green Design
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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With the appearance of Grunch of Giants, R. Buckminster Fuller consummates his literary canon, his panoramic lifetime survey of all aspects of the responsibility of human beings for their own destiny. This book is a modern allegory - his long-gestated myth-of the villainy of capitalism and the fecklessness of classic economics. For Fuller, the academic discipline of economics is irrelevant since it derives from an invalid assumption of scarcity. In fact, he has long argued that future historians of our era may subsume our business practices as a branch of mythology; thus it is not surprising that the word economic appears nowhere in his text.

Fuller’s myth is no idle fairy tale, since he faces his question - the question of a technological imperative which only he could raise with the deadly seriousness of satire. That question is: Can our system of national political sovereignties and corporate profits survive the inevitable technology revolution require to obviate wars by effecting a worldwide rise in the standard of living.


One of the functions of myth is to resolve contradictions in our culture. Grunch of Giants portrays the rising of multinational corporations in the paradoxical role of function both as the epitome of capitalistic selfishness and as the inadvertent vehicle for the dissolution of national political boundaries - the last deterrent to a one-world economy.


The result is more subversive of the property and profit values of the capitalist system than anything dreamed of since Karl Marx.


—E.J. Applewhite, collaborator with RBF on Synergetics and Synergetics 2, author of Cosmic Fishing: A Memoir of Working With R. Buckminster Fuller
FEW TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENTS are as impressive as the ability to see our own planet from outer space. The beautiful sphere suspended against the black void of space makes plain the bond that the billions of us on Earth have in common.

This global consciousness inspires space travellers who then provide emotional and spiritual observations. Their views from outer space awaken them to a grand realization that all who share our planet make up a single community. They think this viewpoint will help unite the nations of the world in order to build a peaceful future for the present generation and the ones that follow.

Many poets, philosophers, and writers have criticized the artificial borders that separate people preoccupied with the notion of nationhood. Despite the visions and hopes of astronauts, poets, writers, and visionaries, the reality is that nations are continuously at war with one another, and poverty and hunger prevail in many places throughout the world, including the United States.

So far, no astronaut arriving back on Earth with this new social consciousness has pro- posed to transcend the world's limitations with a world where no national boundaries exist. Each remains loyal to his/her particular nation-state, and doesn’t venture beyond patriotism - "my country, right or wrong" – because doing so may risk their positions.

Most problems we face in the world today are of our own making. We must accept that the future depends upon us. Interventions by mythical or divine characters in white robes descending from the clouds, or by visitors from other worlds, are illusions that cannot solve the problems of our modern world. The future of the world is our responsibility and depends upon decisions we make today. We are our own salvation or damnation. The shape and solutions of the future depend totally on the collective effort of all people working together.


For over half a century, policymakers committed to population control have perpetrated a gigantic, costly, and inhumane fraud upon the human race. They have robbed people of the developing countries of their progeny and the people of the developed world of their pocketbooks. Determined to stop population growth at all costs, those Mosher calls "population controllers" have abused women, targeted racial and religious minorities, undermined primary health care programs, and encouraged dictatorial actions if not dictatorship. They have skewed the foreign aid programs of the United States and other developed countries in an anti-natal direction, corrupted dozens of well-intentioned nongovernmental organizations, and impoverished authentic development programs. Blinded by zealotry, they have even embraced the most brutal birth control campaign in history: China's infamous one-child policy, with all its attendant horrors. There is no workable demographic definition of "overpopulation." Those who argue for its premises conjure up images of poverty--low incomes, poor health, unemployment, malnutrition, overcrowded housing to justify anti-natal programs. The irony is that such policies have in many ways caused what they predicted--a world which is poorer materially, less diverse culturally, less advanced economically, and plagued by disease. The population controllers have not only studiously ignored mounting evidence of their multiple failures; they have avoided the biggest story of them all. Fertility rates are in free fall around the globe. Movements with billions of dollars at their disposal, not to mention thousands of paid advocates, do not go quietly to their graves. Moreover, many in the movement are not content to merely achieve zero population growth, they want to see negative population numbers. In their view, our current population should be reduced to one or two billion or so. Such a goal would keep these interest groups fully employed. It would also have dangerous consequences for a global environment.
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