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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Today's Big Idea: Beyond Capitalism?

The Big Idea for Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Since the 2008 economic crisis, everyone's got an opinion about what's wrong with Western capitalism. Proposed solutions range from heavy regulation of Wall Street to returning to a barter economy, but as the 2012 presidential race heats up, no single, systemic solution seems to have gained real political traction. 

Meanwhile, the economic outlook is ambivalent at best, bipolar at worst. Cautious optimism about an upswing has been tempered by a grim, May 2012 jobs report and fears of the collapse of the Euro. 

As some Western eyes turn with envy toward China's booming economy Big Think's chief economist Daniel Altman cautions that while democracies can be politically nearsighted, state-managed capitalism runs the far graver risk of revolution by the people it empowers, yet to whom it isn't accountable. 


  1. 1 State Capitalists Can't Have It Both Ways
    Daniel Altman Econ201
  2. 2 State Capitalism: A Viable Alternative to Free Markets?
    Orion Jones IdeaFeed
  3. 3 Paul Krugman on Capitalism and Waste
    Paul Krugman
  4. 4 The Upward Spiral of Capitalism and the End of Poverty
    John Mackey

Today's Big Idea: Beyond Ca...

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